Veganism is the active refusal of participating in the enslavement and mass murder of billion of innocent beings each year for unnecessary reasons - pleasure, convenience, habit, amusement or fashion are never a reason to take a life.
Vegans dont eat, wear, or use animals in any way. They don't eat meat, dairy products, eggs, honey. They don't wear leather, wool, silk or fur. They oppose zoos, circuses, or any form of exploitation of animals.
For instance, in the dairy industry, in order for humans to have her milk, a cow has to be forcefully impregnated yearly. She is either pregnant or lactating 9 months out of a year only to have the cycle repeat once she gives birth.
All calves are taken away from their mothers within a few days. Some female calves become dairy cows and the rest, along with male calves, are sold and slaughtered for veal.
Many “organic” or “free-range” dairies advertise with pictures of happy cows. In reality, “organic” means that the cows are fed organic food and are not given antibiotics and growth hormones; they are still tortured and killed. And all of these mother cows – whether on a conventional or “organic” farm - end up in the same hideous slaughterhouse.
Non-human animals are one of the most oppressed groups that has ever walked the face of the earth.
Veganism embodies the active opposition to the systematic oppression of animals. Regarding other species as inferior is a discrimination called speciesism. It's one of the primary roots of other forms of oppression.
The very idea that "some lives matter" less than others allows us to discriminate against other groups like women, people of color, homosexuals, etc.
Refusing to take part in that isn't extreme, it's rational.
Veganism is an effective social and political tool, as it is an embodiment of morality, a weapon against all forms of injustice, and a personal empowerment that allows each of us to live in alignment with high moral values.
Being vegan is a matter of nonviolence and unconditional justice. Being vegan is a statement that you reject violence inflicted upon other sentient beings, to yourself, and to the environment, upon which all sentient beings depend.
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Animal agriculture, in addition to being unethical from an animal rights perspective, is an environmental disaster.
Animal agriculture is responsible for 51% of all green house gas emissions. In comparison, all form of transport (road, air, marine, rail) only cause 13%. In this regard, a plant-based diet cuts your carbon footprint by 50%.
Animal agriculture uses 1/3 of earth's fresh water and produces enormous amounts of waste.
Animal agriculture covers 45% of the earth’s total land and is the leading cause of species extinction, ocean dead zones, water pollution, and habitat destruction.
As a clear example, the land needed for one non-vegan for one year is 18x what's needed for one vegan (674m2).
More information and sources here.
Plant-based diets have now proved to be the healthiest diets for human beings by nutrition specialists at the World Health Organisation and the Food & Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, among others.
Dairy products in particular have been linked to a wide range of diseases such as cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, different types of cancers, diabetes, etc.
More information on nutritionfacts.org.