Veganism is a Lifestyle, NOT a Diet

Vegan life style is grounded on compassion for animals. A Regognition and respect for all living beings is the bases of Ahimsa (non-injury) a core tenet of Jain way of life. Thus Vegan life style is consistant with Jain way of life. While, the term vegetarian generally refers only to what one eats and does not pertain to any other aspect of one's life. The impetus for becoming a vegetarian may be based on ethical, religious, health, environmental, or economic concerns, or any combination of these. The motivation for becoming vegan however, is fundamentally rooted in a compelling set of ethical values and beliefs.

Vegans make a conscious effort to avoid all forms of animal exploitation, harm, and cruelty to animals regardless of any perceived "value" to society. This includes abstinence from all animal based food products including, but not limited to: animal and fish flesh, all dairy products including milk, yogurt, cheese, butter & ghee, gelatin, and hundreds of others. This also includes abstinence from apparels containing animal-derived ingredients like leather, silk, and furs and/or consumer and household products which have been tested on animals like : soaps, shampoos, cosmetics.

Should Jains be Vegans?

One of the three fundamental principles of Jainism is Ahinsa (non-violence). Most Jains are vegetarians any way, some even micromanage their food habits to avoid root vegetables. Veganism is just a natural extension of their strong belief in Ahinsa taking it beyond just foods and make compassionate living, an integral part of their life-style.

What's wrong with dairy products?

Milk production is simply a cruel and unusual punishment. Female cows/buffalos are constantly kept impregnated (artificially inseminated) and forced to produce far more milk than normal through the administration of drugs and growth hormones. She will be milked for 10 months of the year, including seven months of each of her consecutive nine-month pregnancies. Two or three times a day, seven days a week, she may even be attached to an electric milking machine, then returned to her cramped, narrow, concrete stall to do nothing but await her next milking. The repetitive, intensive milking creates a number of udder ailments in a high percentage these animals.

If she produces a male offspring (a bull), he is taken away from her within three or four days and shoved into a veal crate where he will finish his pitiful, miserable sixteen-week existence. He will be denied all solid food and be "milk fed" an iron-deficient diet so he will maintain white, tender flesh. The calf will be deprived of drinking water, and in an attempt to quench his thirst, he will drink even more of his drug-laced liquid feed and even his own urine to fulfill his mineral deficiency. He will also be kept in near darkness, unable to turn around, stretch his legs, or lie down in a natural position in his prison-like crate. Subjected to total sensory deprivation and stripped of any measure of joy, 20% of veal calves will die before even reaching the typical slaughtering age of 16 weeks. Veal is not a fancy, exotic Italian dish. Veal is cruelty at its worst.

If the cow produces a female, she is bound for milk production as well. A dairy cow will survive a mere 5-6 years of this cruel, hollow life, whereas under natural conditions she might live 25 years. Guess what happens to her when her tired body cannot keep up with expected offspring or milk production? No, she doesn't get to go out to pasture to wear a bell and look pretty. She is sent to a slaughterhouse and turned into filet mignons and Big Macs. Let's have a burger! Or how about a nice cold glass of milk!

Bad for the environment

It takes a great deal of grain and other foodstuffs cycled through cows to produce a small amount of milk. And not only is milk a waste of energy and water, the production of milk is also a disastrous source of water pollution. A dairy cow produces 120 pounds of waste every day -- equal to that of two dozen people, but with no toilets, sewers, or treatment plants. A farm of 200 cows will produce as much nitrogen as in the sewage from a community of 5,000 to 10,000 people!