French American Veganism is the practice of eliminating the use by human beings of non-human animal products. Ethical vegans reject the commodity status of animals and the use of animal products for any purpose, while dietary vegans or strict vegetarians eliminate them from the diet only.
The term was coined in England by Donald Watson, who founded the British Vegan Society in 1944, and in 1960 H. Jay Dinshah started the American Vegan Society, linking it to the Jainist and Buddhist concept of ahimsa, the avoidance of violence against living things. It is a small but growing movement. In 2009 one percent of Americans said they were vegan, and in 2007 two percent self-identified as vegan in the UK. The number of vegan restaurants is increasing, and in certain endurance sports—for instance, the Ironman triathlon and the Ultramarathon—the top athletes are vegans.
Well-planned vegan diets have been found to offer protection against obesity, heart and renal diseases, cancer, and rheumatoid arthritis. The American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada regard such a diet as appropriate for all stages of the life-cycle, though they caution that poorly planned vegan diets can be deficient in Vitamin B12, iron, vitamin D, calcium, iodine, and omega-3 fatty acids.