Vegans exclude all animal products from their diet - meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy products, honey and any derivatives. People adopt veganism for a variety of reasons but most choose it for ethical reasons. Ethical vegans also avoid fur, leather and wool.

We are vegans because we abhor the exploitation of animals in our agricultural systems. The truth is we need neither meat nor animal products to maintain health and vitality and with a little care it is easy to avoid them. For this reason we feel we are not morally justified in giving our support to the harming and killing of billions of animals each year for no good reason.

We know some people feel uncomfortable about eating meat and adopt a vegetarian diet as a result. Some progess to veganism when they understand that in continuing to eat eggs and dairy products they support the meat industry they abhor. In fact dairy and egg production is inextricably linked to meat production and vegetarians help it to continue just as surely as meat eaters do. For this reason it is difficult to see how vegetarianism is a valid ethical choice for people who say they care about animals. The only way to extricate ourselves from the killing industries is to become vegan. The good news is that, contrary to popular myth, it is easy to do and brings health benefits for humans and for our planet. There is increasing awareness and discussion about the environmental benefits of a plant-based diet. Meat production is massively wastful of the earth's resources because animal protein demands tremendous expenditures of fossil-fuel energy—about eight times as much for a comparable amount of plant protein. Dairy cattle and laying hens also consume land, water and resources in an equally damaging way. They produce polluting slurry, are fed chemicals and drugs produced at environmental cost and generate greenhouse gases. A UN report reporting on these issues in 2010 says:
'Impacts from agriculture are expected to increase substantially due to population growth increasing consumption of animal products. Unlike fossil fuels, it is difficult to look for alternatives: people have to eat. A substantial reduction of impacts would only be possible with a substantial worldwide diet change away from animal products.'

At this point we used to recommend readers to the Vegan Society website for further information. We do not do so now because of the Society's continuing practice of accepting advertisments from vegetarian businesses in its magazine. The Society seems to accept these because they offer services for vegans alongside the vegetarian but since these products would not exist without the meat industry and in fact are simply part of it we hold that this is not something The Vegan Society can do without compromising its stated aims.

Recommended reading: Plant Based Nutition and Health by Stephen Walsh Phd published by the Vegan Society

Vegan Warrington is sponsored by The Vegan Photographer
All images are copyright © Alan Wrigley and may not be copied or used elsewhere without permission