Veganism is an ethical stance. It affects and infuses our view of the world. Veganism focuses on respect for the beings who share this planet with us, promoting justice for humanity’s victims, for the uncounted billions of sentient individuals whose lives matter to them, who are not objects to be owned and destroyed as we see fit. They are not ours to use and enslave. To become vegan is to understand and accept this.
This acceptance has profound and far-reaching consequences: vegans stop wearing or using all substances derived from the bodies of others including their skin, feathers or fibres, we stop funding and promoting their suffering and misery through all our everyday consumer choices of toiletries, cleaning materials, entertainment and of course we stop consumption of all substances derived from nonhuman bodies – their flesh, their milk, their eggs, everything. In short, our every choice attempts to examine whether we are causing harm to others and if we are, we take the path that causes the least possible amount.
The vegan believes that if we are to be true emancipators of animals we must renounce absolutely our traditional and conceited attitude that we have the right to use them to serve our needs. We must supply these needs by other means. If the vegan ideal of non-exploitation were generally adopted, it would be the greatest peaceful revolution ever known, abolishing vast industries and establishing new ones in the better interests of men and animals alike.
~ Donald Watson (2 September 1910 – 16 November 2005), who coined the word vegan