The greatest of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated."(Mahatma Gandhi Quotes) Gandhi said this in his book, The Moral Basis of Vegetarianism, this belief is still valid in today's modern society. .
At the present time in the United States, the concern for the health and well being of animals is drastically increasing. And one of the most substantial indications of this is the increasing number of vegans and vegetarians in our nation. Today there are over half a million vegans and countless millions of vegetarians in the United States alone. There are several different kinds of vegetarians following this practice. A vegan consumes no foods of any kind produced by animals. An ovo-vegetarian eats eggs, but no dairy foods or animal flesh. A lacto-vegetarian eats dairy foods, but no eggs or animal flesh. A lacto-ovo-vegetarian eats dairy foods and eggs, but no animal flesh. These people are most commonly referred to as just vegetarians. A semi-vegetarian eats dairy food and egg and occasionally includes fish or chicken but no other animal flesh.(Seameons,p2) .
Aside from dietary habits, a vegan also has several more rules to follow. A vegan cannot use any product made from the body parts of an animal such as leather, ivory, fur, and even pearls. They also cannot use products which have been tested on animals. Vegans are sometimes referred to as an animal's greatest ally. .
Veganism originally started in India in the first century A.D. Hindus did not become vegan because of deep religious reasons or for personal health reasons, "but because of environmental pressures. It became both uneconomical and unsanitary to raise .
animals in so crowded an environment". (Seamen p. 5). Through the centuries veganism never really caught on due to lack of modern medicine and improper understanding of the functions of the human body. Around the beginning of the twentieth century, it is thought that the discovery of vitamins and minerals gave birth to the idea of eating for optimum health and fitness, and thus, the rediscovery of veganism.