Donald Watson, who described himself as a non dairy vegetarian, coined the word vegan and founded The Vegan Society. The word itself was formed from the first three and last two letters of the word vegetarian, to describe, “…the beginning and end of ‘vegetarian”, who, by definition, “lives on a diet of grains, pulses, nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruits with, or without, the use of dairy products and eggs. A vegetarian does not eat any meat, poultry, game, fish, shellfish* or by-products of slaughter”.
We can see quite plainly that our present civilization is built on the exploitation of animals, just as past civilizations were built on the exploitation of slaves, and we believe the spiritual destiny of man is such that in time he will view with abhorrence the idea that men once fed on the products of animals’ bodies.
Leslie Cross defined veganism and the mission statement of the The Vegan society as the following:
The object of the Society shall be to end the exploitation of animals by man. The word veganism shall mean the doctrine that man should live without exploiting animals.”The Society pledges itself “in pursuance of its object” to “seek to end the use of animals by man for food, commodities, work, hunting, vivisection and all other uses involving exploitation of animal life by man.
The Vegan Society further clarified the word veganism in the following manner:
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.
The Vegan Society’s definition forms the basis of the abolitionist view of veganism. It is, in essence, a universal truth which guides me in my daily life. I also support the welfarist view of veganism which seeks to reduce, with governmental reform, education, sanctuaries, single cause advocacy and direct intervention in cruelty cases, the ongoing enslavement, torture and slaughter of nonhuman animals in all of our various death for profit industries. I do not agree that improving the daily lives of enslaved animals can ever justify exploiting them. I advocate completely for their liberation. I visit sanctuaries, attend marches and vigils, volunteer my time to animal rescue efforts, endeavor to educate myself and others through this website and other websites for which I write, and support single issue causes that I believe can contribute to nonhuman animal liberation. If it is within my power, I will help any animal, nonhuman and human alike, to escape from immediate emotional, physical and psychological abuse. It is the very least that I can do during my time on this earth.
May all beings be happy and free.