November 08, 2021
Last Monday was World Vegan Day, the 1st of November. And the whole of November is World Vegan Month.
So what does Vegan actually mean, you might wonder. Maybe you have a rough idea of a vegan as someone who doesn't eat meat, or even milk and eggs. Perhaps you’re picturing someone pale and skinny, someone who is not up for any of the fun that life has to offer. It must be tough, right?
A philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude – as far as is possible and practicable – all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment. In dietary terms, it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals.
This statement is how The Vegan Society defines Veganism, and they coined the term back in 1944. The founder, Donald Watson, took the first and last letters of the word vegetarian and combined them to make a word that represented someone who did not use or consume animals at all.
So what does "as far as is possible and practicable mean"?
Being vegan is not about being perfect. Which is a good thing, as that's simply not possible. Being vegan is about living in a way that causes the least harm. It is about intention, not perfection. And the intention of being vegan is the most effective tool we have as individuals to help change the world for the better for us all.
But don’t we already have such strong regulations?
We are told that in Switzerland, we have one of the world's strongest sets of regulations regarding animal welfare.
But what good are regulations if they are not followed?
Besides, systematic or economy-motivated violence is both legal and funded. Big industries that promote the consumption and use of animal products (meat, dairy, egg, fish, pharma, etc) have so much influence on politics. Lobbyists for these companies don’t consider the well-being of animals or the environment, or even of humans.
They weigh the benefits to themselves in comparison to the suffering of animals. And as you can imagine, the bottom line is what wins.
The power of these industries to influence regulations is seen all over the world, even in Switzerland.
Yes, we might have stronger standards than other countries, but instead of comparing ourselves to the world, we should compare ourselves to the better world that could be. We don’t want to just be better than the worst, we want to intend a world that has the most benefit for all animals, including humans.
It’s up to you and me
So it's in our hands to change things and make them better. And all of us are important, and what we do makes a difference. Don't think that what you do doesn't matter. It does. Isn't that encouraging?
You vote with your wallet, and one of the best things we can do is to avoid animal-derived products as much as we can. Where there is demand, there is supply.
It is not difficult! One just needs to learn new habits and change a few old ones, like always when we do something new.
Look upon it like one door is closing, but ten new doors are opening.
Most vegans like to dine deliciously, dress well, wear make-up and all the other goodies that we humans enjoy spoiling ourselves with.
And I can assure you, the feeling that comes with this journey, if you will choose to take it, is unbeatable!
To get you started as a beginner vegan (or even if you have been vegan for a while!), here are two challenges, one in German and one in English. Over 30 days, you will get an email with a tip or a trick on how to go about it. Nothing overwhelming.
German: Vegan Start
English: Challenge 22
Enjoy the ride and have fun!
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