The Writings of
Vasu Murti

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Politics and Passions - Winter 1995-96

Part 39
Vegan Action

What Is Veganism?

A vegan (pronounced VEE-gun) is someone who consumes only plant products. While vegetarians avoid flesh foods, vegans also reject the exploitation and abuse inherent in the making of dairy and egg products, as well as in clothing from animal sources. While leading a purely vegan life may be difficult for many, anyone who strives towards this goal can consider themselves to be practicing vegans.

Here are some of the items vegans avoid: meat, milk, cheese, eggs, fur, leather, wool, down, and cosmetics or chemical products tested on animals.

Vegan Action, P.O. Box 4353, Berkeley, CA 9470

Why Vegan?

Veganism, the natural extension of vegetarianism, is an integral component of a

cruelty-free lifestyle. Living vegan provides numerous benefits: to animals’ lives and to the ecological sustainability of our environment, as well as to ourselves, by protecting our bodies from the dietary problems associated with consumption of animal products.


The meat and dairy industry abuses billions of chickens, cows, and other animals in producing milk and egg products each year. The animals suffer unspeakable cruelties in order to maximize their output of milk and eggs. Most live their short lives caged, drugged, mutilated, and deprived. Today’s farms are not like the ones most of us learned about in school; they are mechanized factories where animal welfare is of less concern than profit. Veganism emerges as the lifestyle most consistent with the philosophy that animals are not ours to eat.


Animal agriculture takes a devastating toll on the earth. It is an inefficient way of producing food, squandering the vast majority of all grain grown in the U.S., as well as much of our water. This increased dependence on high yields exacerbates the problem of topsoil erosion on our farmlands, rendering land less and less productive for crop cultivation, and forcing the conversion of wilderness lands to grazing and farm lands. Animal waste is a disposal problem on today’s massive feedlots and factory farms, poisoning groundwater and rivers. Further, the disastrous effects of cattle ranching have degraded thousands of acres in every western state as well as being a major contributor to rainforest destruction.


Consumption of animal fats and proteins has been linked to heart disease, colon and breast cancer, osteoporosis, diabetes, and a whole host of other debilitating conditions. Vegan foods, such as whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and beans, are low in fat, especially saturated fat, contain no cholesterol, and are rich in fiber and nutrients. Plus, vegans get the perfect amount of protein. Cows’ milk contains ideal amounts of fat and protein for young calves, but far too much for humans! Eating eggs may be the surest way to get a heart attack, as they are higher in cholesterol than any other food.

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