The cat is out of the bag or the horse has already bolted or as Donald Watson the founding father of veganism put it, “the genie is out of the bottle” What exactly is it that I am talking about? DW was talking about the birth of veganism & I’m going to be talking a little bit about it’s evolution.
The term vegan was formed as a contraction of the term vegetarian., by making the change DW was able to distinguish his ethic from that of vegetarianism. DW didn’t have to get permission or a seal of approval from a governing body of etymologists in order to proclaim ‘vegan’ as a new word. However what he did have to wait for is ‘pop culture’ to take it up and transform it into what it is today.
Today ‘vegan’ is synonymous with people that practice a lifestyle of either not eating animal products or people that not only abstain from eating animals but also abstain from using the skin, feathers, or any of the the other countless byproducts from animals.
Having trawled around gazillions of forums, blogs, weblogs, and magazine articles I have encountered many a time when you’ll hear a vegan say ‘there are all kinds of vegetarians but only one kind of vegan’ they go on to describe a situation whereby if you call yourself a ‘dietary’ vegan then you’re not really a vegan but that you eat a vegan diet. I could call that a case of semantics but to be fair I think a better more fitting term for what’s actually going on is ‘suppression’ The idea is to conserve the ‘purity’ of the term vegan as though if it became sullied by becoming synonymous with just a diet, that veganism might become a watered down version of just another fad and not something more meaningful like respecting the lives of all non human animals.
Unfortunately for vegans, even if they stood on all the mountain tops and yelled at the top of their collective voices or the technologically more advanced way of blogging by the boatload to get the message out that there is only one kind of vegan, well frankly it’s just not going to ‘cut the mustard’
There are vegetarians, ovo vegetarians, ovo/lacto vegetarians, semi vegetarians, and the list just endlesly goes on. However just by using the term vegetarian most people would assume that you have made and adhere to some form of dietary choice and that if necessary you’ll bring them up to speed if called for. The same has become true of ‘vegan’, people refer to themselves as vegan, dietary vegan, ethical vegan, eco vegan all in an effort to depict themselves as someone that goes beyond dietary preference i.e. vegetarian, and includes animal and/or the environmental welfare of the planet and it’s inhabitants including non human animals.
I’m going to add a new term to the mix and that is ‘ecoethicalvegan’. DW excluded honey eggs cheese and milk as food products, and leather, fur, etc as byproducts from animals all in an attempt to alleviate the exploitation of animals by humans. Exploitaion with a view to not harming non human animals is a worthy and noble choice for us to make, however for me there is more to the story, there is more that needs to be addressed, namely that of the preservation and cultivation of our planet and the human species Homo Sapien.
Unlike the teachings of nihilism by Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche I believe we, all humans and non humans alike have existential worth and also include in that belief that the preservation of ‘mother nature’ the environment, and also at some level the spirituality of Gaia all worthy of protection. Unfortunately it is extremely complex and difficult to do so while at the same time being ‘just’ to all entities without harming anyone or anything at every step of the way. No we are not perfect, we will screw up, but giving a hoot isn’t a choice, it’s an imperative, one that if not exercised will one day see the demise of every living thing on this planet we call home.
This philosophy or ethic was my segue to coin the term ecoethicalvegan and just as DW chose and didn’t need to have permission to exclude animal products from his life and call his life choices vegan, I am not asking for approval of my choice to include ethically obtained animal products into my life and to include the welfare of the environment which is key to the survival of all life on earth.
You can read the tenets of my ethical choices placing humans at the forefront of my belief system instead of the traditional vegan view that all non humans and humans are equal in my “Because the revolutions here and you know that it’s right’ blog because after all we hominids will be the only architects of either the destruction or the preservation of everything that we hold dear on this planet.