The Whole Picture -- Veganism and Animal Rights
by John Mooter
Many of you reading this article have supported and worked towards an
end to the barbaric experiments on primates and other sentient beings
through the years. I want to encourage you to carry your beliefs and
ethics more completely by practicing non-violence and compassion to all
life on earth. Moving towards a plant-based (vegan) diet is the most
effective single act we can all do, three times a day, to end the
enslavement and horrible treatment of animals used for food, clothing,
experimentation, and entertainment.
The term vegan was coined by Donald Watson in 1944 and was defined as
follows: “Veganism is a way of living which excludes all forms of
exploitation of, and cruelty to, the animal kingdom, and includes a
reverence for life. It applies to the practice of living on the products
of the plant kingdom to the exclusion of flesh, fish, fowl, eggs, honey,
animal milk, and its derivatives, and encourages the use of alternatives
for all commodities derived wholly or in part from animals.”
Veganism is a practice, and nobody is perfect. Donald Watson stated that
the goal is to eliminate animal products “as much as possible”. Becoming
a vegan is like learning chess. It is a lifetime process. There are
beginner chess players and there are masters, but even the masters are
not finished learning. It is a process. The goal is to reduce the amount
of suffering to all beings and life-forms on this planet.
The production of meat, eggs, dairy products, leather, fur, and wool
involve an immense amount of cruelty and suffering to animals. Since a
well-planned vegan diet has been proven to be the healthiest diet on the
planet (The China Study by T. Colin Campbell), the only thing holding us
back is our culture, that is our family and friends who do not
understand or want to know the truth about animal exploitation. Animal
foods can be addicting, and often it takes will-power to quit totally.
Many plant-based alternatives to meat and cheese are readily available
today, and many taste great and are much healthier.
A plant-based diet is also more environmentally friendly. The production
of vegan food uses only a small fraction of the energy necessary to
produce meat and dairy foods.
Veganism, therefore, helps us, the animals, and our world become
healthier. It is a win-win situation. It is not about giving up foods,
but about freedom, one meal at a time, contributing to a better world,
or as Gandhi said, to “be the change we want to see in the world” three
times a day.
Every year I attend the North American Vegetarian Conference along with
hundreds of like-minded people who are vegan or trying to be. It is
wonderful to see so many people adopting a plant-based diet and
lifestyle. I highly recommend those practicing veganism to find support
groups, conferences, and to read books on the subject. For those of you
who like to cook, and even those not so inclined, many great vegan
cookbooks exist today, with tasty recipes, both cooked and raw.
I wish you success on your spiritual journey to create peace and
happiness on this planet. May all beings be happy and free from
The World Peace Diet by Dr. Will Tuttle
The China Study by T. Colin Campbell
Diet for a New America by John Robbins
The Food Revolution by John Robbins
Being Vegan by Joanne Stepaniak
Becoming Vegan by Brenda Davis, R. D. and Vesanto Melinda,M.S.,
Mad Cowboy by Howard Lyman
The Case for Animal Rights by Tom Regan
Food for Life by Neal Barnard, M.D.
Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease by Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr.,
The Uncheese Cookbook by Joanne Stepaniak
John Mooter is a musician, music teacher, and presently chairman of
“EarthSave Cincinnati”, part of “EarthSave International”, founded by
John Robbins in 1988, an organization that educates people on moving
towards a plant-based diet for the animals, human health, and the