Veganism (also strict or pure vegetarianism) is a philosophy and lifestyle that seeks to exclude the use of animals for food, clothing, or any other purpose. Vegans do not use or consume animal products of any kind. The most popular reasons for becoming a vegan are ethical commitment or moral convictions concerning animal rights, the environment, or human health, and spiritual or religious concerns. Of particular concern are the practices involved in factory farming and animal testing, and the intensive use of land and other resources required for animal farming.
Here is the definition of vegan on Wikipedia. It pretty much supports any other definition I have seen. I feel like I am, in a way, trying to be one of the "cool kids", if I can fit into the definition of a vegan, and that is confusing, and annoying, as well. I am trying to figure out if I can ever become a true vegan. Elli and I have leather furniture. It makes me sad that we bought it, but it has yet to even be paid off. I own leather shoes. I own wool sweaters. Other things of that nature. A few silk scarves. Yadda. Yadda. Yadda. And I smoke. I saw one site that stated that you can not be a vegan and smoke, as you can not eat and/or use anything that is tested on animals. Well, someday I would like to quit smoking, but giving up all that I am, and readjusting to it all seems like enough to me at this juncture. Can I just smoke Natural American Spirit cigarettes? I am positive that they do not test on animals. I think that might be adhere to the definition anyway. If a vegan can not use anything that was tested on animals, we might have a problem with much of anything.
And now I get to the bones of all of this......Do I really need to worry about if I can define myself as a Vegan or not? Or if someone else can? If I was so worried about keeping up with the Joneses (?) would I even be doing this? I am doing this because I am so repulsed by factory farming. And animal testing. Pretty much anything wherein animals are treated as something less than a creature that feels pain, joy, loss, fear, happiness, etc. Anyone that has ever had a pet knows that animals feel all of these things, and more. And anyone that really looks at what is going on with factory farming would be a liar if they were to tell me that they would not have a problem with their pet being treated in this way, that they are "just animals". So, I do not care if I am one of the "cool kids", I will still smoke, but I will also not eat anything with any animal product in it, to include certain beers, which I now understand to be filtered through BONE CHAR! Holy moly. I will not purchase anything with any animal product in it. I will keep what I have. I will use it til it is gone. Or until it is shabby, in the case of the furniture. I will no longer support the industry that is riding on the backs of animals. But to reiterate ad nauseum, I am keeping what I have. I have not come far enough yet, or am not ready to, or do not have the extra resources to do away with what I have. So be it. I am doing this for animals. Not for others to call me out on not acting or doing as a true vegan. I will have to just label myself as an animal lover.
Also, I have gone to different grocery stores and assorted other places to scope out what food options are open. I have never before spent so much time reading so many labels. And have never realized how much of everything contains animal products. Good Gawd. I will find an item that I love to eat, and I will scroll down the ingredients and I think that I am safe, I can eat this.....YES! And then, at the bottom of the list is something like "whey". Something I would not even have noticed before.....And did I mention the vegetarian cheese made of soy that I thought was safe until I read the ingredients? It is non-dairy cheese but has one little ingredient in it made from milk. Sonofabitchthatmadememad! So, out of the 10 varieties of cheese not made mainly from milk, there are two or three that are actually vegan.
Okay. Here ends the diatribe.