The Vegan Society defines veganism as "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."
It is very difficult to avoid animal products completely. Some foods may contain insect or animal parts - have a look at The Food Defect Action Levels for more detail on this.
So this lead me to think of practical issues that vegans may face in their daily lives.
So here are some questions for you to ponder over:
- Do you check that all your alcohol is suitable for vegans? (non-vegan alcohol may be processed using eggs or fish bladders)
- Would you sit on leather chair?
- Do you eat oranges or lemons that have been waxed? (The wax is most likely shellac)
- Do you use matches? (Gelatin is used as a binder)
- Do you buy products that contain palm oil? (With potential rainforerst destruction and killing off of orangutans)
- Would you eat in a non-vegan restaurants where the same pans are used to cook meat?
- When you move house do you remove all the woolen carpets?
- Would you buy synthetic shoes from a high street store without checking if the shoes have been made using animal glue?
- Would you buy chips from a fish and chip shop?
Sitting on someone's leather chair isn't going to cause additional animal suffering, although I'm aware some vegans would feel very uncomfortable sitting on leather. However we can do our best to avoid purchasing products made from animals or that contain animal derived ingredients.
For those who aren't yet vegan, change will come from knowledge, education, understanding and compassion.
None of us is perfect. We do our best to avoid animal cruelty and educate others to do the same.