What is Veganism?
Veganism is the practice of eliminating the use of non-human animal products. Ethical vegans reject the commodity status of animals and the use of animal products for any purpose, while dietary vegans or strict vegetarians eliminate them from their diet only. Another form, environmental veganism, rejects the use of animal products on the premise that the industrial practice is environmentally damaging and unsustainable.
The term “vegan” was coined in England in 1944 by Donald Watson, co-founder of the British Vegan Society, to mean “non-dairy vegetarian”; the society also opposed the use of eggs as food. It extended its definition in 1951 to mean “the doctrine that man should live without exploiting animals,” and in 1960 H. Jay Dinshah started the American Vegan Society, linking veganism to the Jainist concept of ahimsa, the avoidance of violence against living things.
It is a small but growing movement. In 1997 three percent in the United States claimed that they had not used animals for any purpose in the previous two years, and in 2007 two percent in the United Kingdom described themselves as vegans. The number of vegan restaurants is increasing, and according to the Oxford Companion to American Food and Drink (2007) the top athletes in certain endurance sports—for instance, the Ironman triathlon and the Ultramarathon—practise raw veganism.
Well-planned vegan diets have been found to offer protection against many degenerative conditions, including heart disease. The American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada regard a vegetarian diet as appropriate for all stages of the life-cycle, though they caution that poorly planned vegan diets can be deficient in vitamin B12, iron, vitamin D, calcium, iodine, and omega-3 fatty acids. Source: Wikipedia