In past two years, completed REACH Intermediate (Harvard), Research Administration (Emmanuel College RAC/GCRA), NIH rDNA, and RTP (HSPH) Certificates. Completing Capstone research and thesis after two years of graduate courses for Master of Science in Management (MSM in Research Administration) in Boston's Emmanuel College. Have been working at Harvard for a VERY long time - there's SO much here!
I've been vegan over half my life. That's longer than most human earthlings (and most NONHUMAN earthlings) have been alive. All that time, I've been making connections for plant-based diets - and doing that through the Vegetarian Resource Center since 1993 (and before that through various strategies and structures.
My observation is that the vegan *movement* is constituted by fellow humans who have awakened to moral sensitivity in our individual observations of the populated world around us, a world that filled plentifully with persons - not only human, but also nonhuman, and that all persons are such that moral consideration is due to all of them. We cannot give that consideration individually; therefore, we must become persons of principle, who resolve our ethical duties towards other persons at a level of principle and self-regulation. I believe in 'ahimsa' or 'dynamic injury' as the proper regulatory principle for human behavior.
I also believe that many practicing vegans have attached nonessentials to being vegan, which often are their political aspirations and their willingness to 'entitle' certain kinds of activity 'over against' things that they wish to reduce with the same energy with which they are holding out their idea of what veganism is. I think that the idea of veganism is independent of that, tht it is defined BY (a) purely plant-based diets without the inclusion of honey or anything from animal or insect and (b) a principle of non-injury that is grounded in one's sense of the moral considerableness of personhood, regardless of how those persons act. One's ability to recognize those claims in any particular case are abetted or abated by the context in which those others are experienced and how they impact us. At the least, we have, I think as a vegan for ethical reasons, a duty to not cause needless harm to others, and those needless harms in mid-2014 would be harms for our clothing, food, shelter, medicinal ingredients, entertainment, etc.
Where there are challenges to living by those principles, we need, I believe as an ethical vegan, to agitate and organize for effective means to realize optimal ways to realize those values in the material world where we find ourselves.