what's with veganism?
I am so glad that that question is less relevant today than it was the last time I made a quick little vegan guide on an old personal site (about seven years ago).
Regardless, lots of people still don't know lots of things about the conditions of animals that end up contributing to most of our meals ('course, for all I know you might be one of the few who have a meal plan deviating from the SAD - "standard American diet").
I'll start with a frequently-considered topic: veal. Most of us are good-natured, and try to follow some version of the golden rule, so a lot of us draw the line at buying or eating veal (young cows). This comes as a result of whatever knowledge we have of the veal industry, which often comprises an image of a miserable and adorable baby cow tied up in the dark and not allowed to live any kind of normal life, so that its offering of meat proves tender and satisfying to its eventual consumer. Some might also think of the tragic moment where the baby is ripped away from its mother shortly after birth. All of these things aren't exactly exaggerated conceptions.
In fact, there's more. I've been somewhat surprised to find that a lot of the otherwise quite educated people I've discussed my reasons of being vegan with are not clued in on the direct link between the veal industry and the dairy industry. Back to the tearing away from the mother, this mother is not just any mother cow, but a producer of milk who will continue to be artifically inseminated so that she is kept producing for as long as possible (essentially until she is spent). Thanks to these "milk producers," the babies for the veal industry come in neverending supply.
Personally, it warms my heart when I hear that someone avoids any kind of animal product for ethical reasons, just because I like seeing others having a heart. But I'm also big on the idea of -- even more than being informed on extremely relevant issues -- plain old fairness. So even without the veal-dairy connection, veal may be said to be cruel to baby cows, but what about their mothers? I see nothing warranting a much higher degree of respect for one category than the other. All of them feel.
Don't get me started on fur, the egg industry, puppy mills, animal testing, foie gras, or... as this wasn't meant to turn into an essay, I will let these people speak on behalf of this complex topic, as they can do it better than I can:
The general philosophy behind it
A look inside the factory farming industry and impact on the planet
Logic behind veganism
For fun and yumminess: Post Punk Kitchen