107 Veganism is a Political Stance

Following the Inauguration Day of Doom, we wanted to remind everyone that labeling yourself as a vegan is an act of dissent and disruption. A brief history of veganism and a call to everyone to support vegans that are ready to fight.

In This Episode

While we stand by our opinion that no one can take your V-card, and that you should be able to label yourself anyway that you want; we also wanted to talk about the fact that the word veganism was created in order to give those that believe animal exploitation is wrong a way to voice their dissent. Health veganism has taken some of the bite out of the label, and because of the mainstreaming of veganism, which is a good thing!, a lot of vegans are now distancing themselves from the politics of, well, being vegan. Now more than ever we need to support each other in dismantling the systems of oppression around us. So we ask that if you wear the vegan label but are not comfortable being political about it, that you don’t put down others who are.

A Brief History on the Origin of the Word “Vegan”

500 BC+: “Shakahari” (plant eater) originates in ancient India, concept learned by Pythagoras in ancient Greece and spread as the idea of vegetarianism. 1944: Donald Watson, Elsie Shrigley and four other non-diary veetarians decide a shorter, easier word for non-dairy vegetarian is needed and come up with “vegan,” which is the beginning and the end of “vegetarian.” 1949: Leslie J Cross defined veganism as “[t]he principle of the emancipation of animals from exploitation by man”. This is later clarified as “to seek an end to the use of animals by man for food, commodities, work, hunting, vivisection, and by all other uses involving exploitation of animal life by man.” 1979: the Memorandum and Articles of Association updated the definition of veganism to what we commonly refer today, as: 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.

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