Glossary of Terms
From Animal Rights/Vegan Activist Strategies Articles Archive

Glossary of Terms
Terms, definitions, and lingo. (Updated 12/19/06)

  • Action Alerts
  • Animal Rights (AR)
  • Animal Welfare
  • CAFO (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation)
  • Cull
  • Demonstration
  • Foie Gras
  • Leaflet
  • Leafleting
  • Potluck
  • Tabling
  • Seitan
  • Speciesism
  • Tofu
  • Vegan
  • Vegetarian
  • Vivisection

Action Alerts
Action alerts are often found in the newsletters, emails, and web pages from various animal rights organizations. They are wonderful resources to keep subscribers and members posted on “time critical’ issues in need of immediate action.

Animal Rights (AR)
The movement to protect animals from being used, exploited, or regarded as property by humans. The term Animal Rights is sometimes abbreviated in text as “AR” among other animal rights activists.

Animal Welfare
Focuses on the “well being” of animals as opposed to total abolition of cruelty and exploitation.

CAFO (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation)
In agriculture, a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) is a farm that raises livestock and seeks to maximize production by making highly efficient use of space and other resources. Operating a CAFO is sometimes referred to as factory farming, though the term is now officially used to recognize most commercial animal growing operations, even those that are quite small. CAFOs hold large numbers (up to hundreds of thousands) of animals, often indoors. These animals are typically cows, hogs, or chickens. The distinctive characteristics of a CAFO is the confinement of livestock in a given space. Food is supplied in place, and artificial methods are often employed to maintain animal health and improve production, such as therapeutic use of antimicrobial agents, vitamin supplements and growth hormones. (From

A "cull" is a euphemism that is used in place of the word "kill".  This term is commonly used by hunters and others who support mass animal hunting when an organized killing takes place such as: deer culling, seal culling, goose culling.

A demonstration is a peaceful protest. Sometimes abbreviated as “demo”.

Foie Gras (pronounced fwa-grah)
French for "fatty liver". Foie Gras is made from the grotesquely enlarged livers of ducks and geese. The birds are kept in tiny wire cages or packed into sheds. Pipes are repeatedly shoved down the birds' throats, and up to 4 pounds of grain and fat are pumped into their stomachs two or three times every day. The pipes puncture many birds' throats, sometimes causing the animals to bleed to death. This cruel procedure causes the birds' livers to become diseased and swell to up to 10 times their normal size. Many birds become too sick to stand up. The birds who survive the force-feeding are killed, and their livers are sold for foie gras.

More information about foie gras

A “leaflet” is commonly referred to as any piece of printed information about animal rights issues and/or concerns. Leaflets include fact sheets, guides, small booklets, brochures, and distributed without charge.

”Leafleting” is when one or more individuals volunteer time to stand outdoors in a busy public area and “politely” offer animal rights literature (or leaflets) to others passing by.

In vegan terms, a potluck is a social gathering where each individual brings a vegan dish to share with the group.

Tabling (pronounced: table-ing)
”Tabling” is when one or more individuals volunteer their time to set up an information table filled with brochures, fact sheets, miscellaneous items, or any type of free literature available for the general public to review, take home, and hopefully share with others. Tabling events commonly take place at special events such as festivals, and conferences. 

Many non-profit organizations are happy to supply volunteers with ample materials for free; however donations are graciously accepted for the expense of producing and supplying endless quantities of professional materials.

Seitan (pronounced: say-tahn)
Seitan is a versatile food ingredient used in vegan recipes as a meat substitute. Also commonly referred to as “wheat gluten”.

Speciesism (pronounced: spee-sheez-is-hem)
Human intolerance or discrimination on the basis of species, especially as manifested by cruelty to or exploitation of animals. 

Tofu (pronounced: toe-foo)
Tofu is made from curdled soybeans. When tofu is used as an ingredient, it captures the flavors of other foods it is cooked with. Tofu comes in three types: soft, firm, and extra firm. Soft tofu is used for desserts, soups, and sauces, whereas firm and extra firm can be sliced, grilled or baked.

Vegan (pronounced: vee-gen)
In true definition, vegans are “true vegetarians”. Vegans abstain from consuming any dairy, meats, animal by-products, and clothing/ skins derived from animals.

Vegetarian – General term
Vegetarians abstain from all meat products. When a person says they are “vegetarian” as opposed to “vegan” this generally means the individual abstains from consuming meat but might, on the other hand, consume dairy and/or seafood.

Derived from the Latin term meaning, to cut life: “Vivis” (life) and “Sectus” (to cut). Vivisection refers to animal testing and experimentation that takes place in labs. A Vivisector is one who performs experiments and testing on live animals.

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