Being a vegan – a historical review

being vegan - veglibrary.comIf you want to understand what vegan really means, it is necessary to look back into the past and origins of the word itself.  This term is often related to a new and rebellious lifestyle. Anyway, the truth is a bit different.

The first person that used the term ”vegan” is Donald Watson in 1944 in Leicester, England. His idea was to gather vegetarians who don’t consume milk nor dairy products. The idea was rejected at first, but he succeeded in forming the organization and promoting his idea of veganism.

After considering various options, Watson and his followers have decided to use the word VEGAN which derived from the English word vegetarian, taking the first 3 and last 2 letters. Watson argued this statement with the fact that veganism starts with vegetarianism, and continues to its logical conclusion.

Vegan Society Association was established in 1994 to promote a completely plant-based diet. This means staying away from all kinds of animal products – meat, fish, eggs, milk and dairy products (cheese, butter) and honey. It promotes and encourages producers of food, clothing and footwear to use alternatives to animal products. The newly formed group agreed that this is definitely the only way to create a more sensible and humane society and from the very beginning, veganism was defined as a philosophy and a way of life. It was never just a diet. It is a lifestyle that has a respect for life.

Jay Dinshah is the founder of the American Vegan Society. This organization just accepted the principles of the British predecessor, advocating exclusively plant-based diet and a total rejection of animal products. In addition, the American Vegan Society accepts the philosophy of ahimsa (a word from Sanskrit  that means  „dynamic innocence“ or „dynamic harmlessness”) and commitment to the service of humanity, nature and „creation“ (creator). In other words,  it is not enough to avoid certain foods or products – it is also necessary to participate in useful and selfless actions and procedures.

The omission of animal products from life is a passive process that doesn’t require affirmation. It only involves avoiding something.
Vegan ethic is not only based on avoiding evil, but also doing more good. It is a philosophy of non-violence, freedom, animal rights and environment care.