What Is Veganism?

"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." The Vegan Society


The Core Argument

  1. 1. It is unethical to cause unnecessary suffering to animals
  2. 2. The production of animal products inherently causes suffering to animals
  3. 3. Animal products are generally unnecessary (for health or survival)
  • It is unethical to produce (or support the production of) animal products unless absolutely necessary

Or, to put that another way: If we can avoid harming animals, why wouldn't we?

Problems Inherent In Dairy Production

The production of milk requires that the cow be in lactation, which is a result of the cow having given birth to a calf. This birth/lactation cycle must be repeated endlessly in order to sustain economic levels of milk production.



Conflict Of Interest

Every drop of milk that a calf suckles from their mother is a drop that is not able to be collected by humans, and vice versa. The longer a calf stays with their mother, the more stressful it is for both of them when they are separated.

Small & Commercial Farms

All calves are separated from their mother, usually within a day after birth.

1 calf
every 3
in the U.S.

Unwanted Males

Bull calves are useless to the dairy industry as they do not produce milk.

Small & Commercial Farms

Bull calves born to the dairy industry are sold to the meat industry to be raised and slaughtered for either beef or veal. The veal industry has been shrinking, but the dairy industry is still the primary source of new veal calves.

1 bull calf
every 6
in the U.S.
(1 in 8 of those will
be slaughtered for veal)

Spent Cows

Milk production declines as cows age, and eventually it costs more to feed them than is returned in milk value. This usually occurs at around 5 years of age (after 3 birth/lactation cycles), yet a cow’s natural lifespan is 20 years.

Small & Commercial Farms

Spent cows are slaughtered for beef once they are no longer economically viable.

1 dairy cow
every 11
in the U.S.

Problems Inherent In Egg Production

Spent Hens

Egg production declines as hens age, and eventually it costs more to feed them than is returned in egg value. This usually occurs at around 2 years of age, yet a chicken’s natural lifespan is 5-10 years.

Small & Commercial Farms

Spent hens are slaughtered at 2 years of age and the carcass is either exported, used for low-quality processed foods/pet foods, composted, or landfilled.

Backyard Hens

Some people may allow their hens to live out their lives while producing fewer eggs. Others may butcher spent hens for home use.

8 layer hens
every second
in the U.S.

Unwanted Males

Every egg that is hatched to create a replacement layer hen has a 50% chance of being male, whom are useless to the egg industry and unwanted by the meat industry (modern 'broilers' are a separate strain).

Commercial Farms

Once sexed (within days of hatching), males are 'culled' using one of the following methods: a high-speed grinder (maceration), asphyxiation, cervical dislocation (snapping the spine), electrocution, or suffocation.

Small Farms & Backyard Hens

Replacement hens are usually purchased from commercial suppliers (see above).

9 male chicks
every second
in the U.S.


The Healthfulness Of Veganism

All the major dietetics and health organizations in the world agree that vegan and vegetarian diets are just as healthy as omnivorous diets.

It is the position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that appropriately planned vegetarian, including vegan, diets are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits for the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. These diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, adolescence, older adulthood, and for athletes. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

A well planned vegan diet can meet all of these needs. It is safe and healthy for pregnant and breastfeeding women, babies, children, teens and seniors. Dietitians of Canada

With good planning and an understanding of what makes up a healthy, balanced vegan diet, you can get all the nutrients your body needs. The British National Health Service

A well-planned, balanced vegetarian or vegan diet can be nutritionally adequate ... Studies of UK vegetarian and vegan children have revealed that their growth and development are within the normal range. The British Nutrition Foundation

Vegan diets are a type of vegetarian diet, where only plant-based foods are eaten. They differ to other vegetarian diets in that no animal products are usually consumed or used. Despite these restrictions, with good planning it is still possible to obtain all the nutrients required for good health on a vegan diet. The Dietitians Association of Australia

Vegetarian diets can meet all the recommendations for nutrients. The key is to consume a variety of foods and the right amount of foods to meet your calorie needs. Follow the food group recommendations for your age, sex, and activity level to get the right amount of food and the variety of foods needed for nutrient adequacy. Nutrients that vegetarians may need to focus on include protein, iron, calcium, zinc, and vitamin B12. The United States Department of Agriculture

Alternatives to animal foods include nuts, seeds, legumes, beans and tofu. For all Australians, these foods increase dietary variety and can provide a valuable, affordable source of protein and other nutrients found in meats. These foods are also particularly important for those who follow vegetarian or vegan dietary patterns. Australians following a vegetarian diet can still meet nutrient requirements if energy needs are met and the appropriate number and variety of serves from the Five Food Groups are eaten throughout the day. For those eating a vegan diet, supplementation of B12 is recommended. The National Health and Medical Research Council

A well-planned vegetarian diet can meet the needs of people of all ages, including children, teenagers, and pregnant or breast-feeding women. The key is to be aware of your nutritional needs so that you plan a diet that meets them. The Mayo Clinic

Vegetarian diets can provide all the nutrients you need at any age, as well as some additional health benefits. The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada


Share This Website On...

More Resources

All resources »


Featured Blog Post

Which dietary changes have the most impact?

Posted September 7, 2015

When looking at the total number of animals killed by each animal-based-food industry in the United States, we arrive at a somewhat unintuitive result right away: the egg industry kills far more animals per year than might be expected. However, it doesn't stop there.

Read more »

All blog posts »



The goal of is to present arguments for veganism that are:


This website's source files are available on Github

Spot an error?

Submit an issue on the issue tracker

Want to contribute?

Submit a pull request