What is a Vegan?
I thought it would be good to define the word Vegan.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines Vegan as "a person who does not eat any food derived from animals and who typically does not use other animal products."
I don't eat meat, fish, eggs, honey, or drink mink. I don't buy any leather products and avoid products that have been experimented on animals. I also don't go to the Zoo.
I am a member of the Vegan Society in the United Kingdom. They give this definition:
Veganism is a philosophy and 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; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of animals, humans and the environment. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals.
Vegan for me is about keeping both the letter and the spirit of the first precept of Buddhism. The first precept is to refrain from killing. It includes causing others to kill.
But the spirit of the precept is nonviolence or non-harming (ahimsa). If I can avoid hurting, harming, or killing another sentient being, I ought to do so. Breaking the letter and spirit of this precept causes bad karma.