“Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.”
Although the biggest part of veganism is a dietary change there is also the lifestyle changes for example not using products that have been tested on animals or clothing that is derived from animals. Veganism also extends beyond this, a lot of vegans will also avoid attending any industry whose purpose is animal exploitation such as zoos and circuses but sometimes it is unavoidable.
In the agriculture industry wildlife is displaced. Commercial farms are known to kill crop-eating animals which are labelled as pests with insecticides, traps or shooting. Even on an organic farm deer’s are shot, rabbits are killed and natural pesticides are used. Common commercial fertilizers also contain bone meal, fish meal, manure and other animal products which supports animal agriculture.
It is nearly impossible to harvest and process food without contaminating with some sort of animal contaminant e.g. mouse faeces or insect hair. Have you ever had a bag of flour which suddenly contains insects? Spontaneous generation is debunked science – those insect eggs were always there.
Shellac is harvested from a type of beetle. The beetle does not have to be killed to harvest it sometimes it will be killed or injured. This shellac can be used to coat fruit and vegetables and to give a pleasant glaze to boiled sweets. Beeswax can be used to preserve fruit and vegetables to delay rot. Casein which is a milk product can also be used to coat fruit or vegetables but this may also be vegetable based.
Although some medications may be labelled as not tested on animals it must be considered that the induvial chemicals in the medication may have been tested on animals. The flu shot is created in fertilized chicken eggs and contains protein from the eggs themselves. Other medicines such as blood pressure meds may contain animal parts, in particular, those that are contained within gelcaps made from gelatine.
When products are not a food we tend to not know or not be entitled to know what ingredients they are composed of. Products such as tires, rubber, glue, plastics and paint often contain chemicals or additives of animal origins. If you are buying products made of wood, metal, plastic, rubber or even plants habitat will be taken away from animals. The energy which is used to manufacture these products and the disposed packaging pollutes our environment harming both humans and animals alike. When we drive we inevitably hit insects not only on our windshields but if you look closely the entire car is hitting and killing numerous insects.
This is not to say that being vegan is pointless. This is to show that there are so many ways in which our day to day life results in hurting animals and that eliminating this harm is impossible. The purpose of veganism (apart from the health benefits) is to cause minimal harm. By knowing these little-known sources of animal products we can continue to do minimal harm by seeking tires made from recycled materials or to consume meds without the gelatine cover. Who knows one day it may be possible to cause no harm, but great to know that for now we are doing the absolute best we can and the more we know about how animals are still being harmed the closer we can get to this common goal.