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Why Vegan?

A Vegan is someone who, in addition to not eating animals, does not consume other animal products and by-products, such as eggs, dairy, honey, leather, fur, silk, wool, feathers, cosmetics and soaps derived from animals, and cosmetic or chemical products tested on animals. Veganism is more about what people choose than about what they avoid, because vegans choose to demonstrate respect for all life.  People may choose a vegan lifestyle for different reasons, but most importantly, veganism is about animal rights and taking the interests of animals seriously and not viewing them as property.

From the moment Donald Watson first coined the term ‘vegan’ in 1944, as a way to distinguish Vegetarian Society members who chose to consume absolutely no animal derived products, veganism has been about the rights of animals to be given equal consideration. To this day, veganism continues to be the only cogent answer that gets at the heart of animal exploitation. Being vegan is your everyday statement that things are not right as they are, that you are one more person who is standing up to be counted in opposition to the exploitation of animals. It is a refusal of a system that produces enormous profits at the expense of animals who are just as sentient as the family dog or cat.

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Animals Used in Entertainment

Animals are sentient beings who deserve to be treated with love and respect. Unfortunately, animals used for entertainment are seen only for their profitability, not their unique individuality. They don't consent to be locked in tiny cages, stared at in small tanks, isolated in transport trailers, taunted and enraged, or forced to perform unnatural acts such as riding bicycles or jumping through rings of fire.

Sadly, the abuse these animals face behind closed doors is shocking. Many animals used in traveling acts or exhibitions are wild-caught, ripped from their homes and families, and deprived of everything that is natural to them. Others, bred into captivity, are denied of the chance to ever live in a native environment. Remember, minutes of your entertainment means a lifetime of their misery.

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Animals Used in Fashion

Fur: The fur industry murders over 50 million animals every year in the United States alone. The majority of the animals are forced to spend their entire lives on fur farms, where every natural instinct is denied them. They often show telltale signs of insanity such as nervous pacing, self-mutilation and cannibalism.

Animals trapped in the wild also suffer horribly. They sometimes attempt to chew off their own limbs to escape. Some bleed or starve to death before the trapper arrives, and others succumb to predators. Trappers often catch cats, dogs and other “non-target” animals as well. Unwanted, these animals are thrown away or let free with fatal injuries. For the animals who do survive until the trapper arrives, death is inevitable. Whether farmed or trapped, the fur industry kills animals using painful methods such as gassing, anal or vaginal electrocution, neck breaking, stomping, clubbing and drowning.

To make one fur coat the following number of animals suffer and die:12-15 lynx, 10-15 wolves or coyotes, 15-20 foxes, 35 rabbit, 60-80 minks, 27-30 raccoons, 10-12 beavers, 60-100 squirrels, 200 chinchillas.

Leather: Many people believe that leather is just a byproduct of the meat industry, but this is not the case. Much of the leather in athletic shoes, for example, comes from kangaroos, who are killed solely for their skin. Skin accounts for more than 55 percent of the total byproduct value of cattle. Thus, buying leather products augments the economic demand for slaughter.

After pigs and cows have suffered from the crowding, confinement, mutilations, stressful transport, and frightening slaughter at the hands of the meat and dairy industries, their skins are made into shoes, boots, belts, gloves, and furniture covers. Horses, sheep, lambs, and goats are also slaughtered for their hides as well as for consumption.

Wool: Textile mills use nearly four times more imported than domestically produced wool. Much of it comes from Australia. With 118 million sheep, Australia is the world’s top wool producer and exporter. Within weeks of birth, lambs’ ears are hole-punched, and the males are castrated without anesthetic. Extremely high rates of mortality are considered normal on Australian wool farms: 20 to 40 percent of lambs die before the age of 8 weeks, and 8 million mature sheep die every year from disease, exposure, or neglect.

Silk: Silkworms make their cocoons from a shiny fiber that they produce, and this is used to make silk. It is common practice to boil the moth larvae alive in order to obtain the silk, which produces longer silk threads than if the moth were allowed to emerge. Silkworms can certainly feel pain, and they recoil and writhe when injured and burned.

Down: The process of live-plucking is widespread, as more feathers are produced per bird this way. The largest producers of down are China, Poland, and Hungary, where some 60 percent of down produced is live-plucked. “Rippers” lift the birds by their necks with their legs tied, and rip out all of their body feathers. The geese struggle to get away from this painful ordeal, sustaining injuries such as strained muscles and broken limbs. This torture, which has been described as “extremely cruel” by veterinary surgeons and even goose breeders, begins when the geese are only eight weeks old. It is then repeated at eight week intervals for two or three more sessions. The “lucky” birds are plucked dead, i.e. they are killed first and then plucked. The average lifespan of geese is 20 years, however geese used by the down industry live only 4-5 years.

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