Vegan Society

'''''': community project to create the biggest resource for and by vegans and vegetarians under a free license.

The Vegan Society is a registered charity and the oldest vegan society in the world, founded in the United Kingdom in November 1944 by Donald Watson and his wife, Dorothy, along with four friends - Elsie Shrigley, Mr G. A. Henderson and his wife Fay K. Henderson among them.

Watson coined the word "vegan" to stand for "non-dairy vegetarians" who also ate no eggs. The founding of The Vegan Society is celebrated annually on 1 November, World Vegan Day. The day was established in 1994 by Louise Wallis, the then President and Chair. However, the founding of The Vegan Society is thought to have been either 5 or 12 November 1944.

The Society now defines veganism as "A philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment. In dietary terms, it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals."


The word 'vegan' was coined by Donald Watson from the first three and last three letters of 'vegetarian' in 1944. Vegans separated from the Vegetarian Society because that group refused to support veganism, which they saw as extreme and antisocial.


  • Information – The Vegan Society provides information on all aspects of vegan living on their website, from their nutritional pages such as Vitamin B12: the key facts to the how and why of going vegan, to lifestyle articles and blogs. Their 30 Day Vegan Pledge has been running since 2008, each day providing a recipe, tips, and advice on going vegan. The Vegan Society also offers tools for activists such as free leaflets, as well as advice on effective outreach.
  • Campaigns – The Vegan Society campaigns on various issues. Current campaigns involve improving hospital catering and their 'Grow Green' campaign, whereby farmers are incentivized to move from animal farming towards plant protein crops.
  • Support – The Vegan Society provides support via its UK network of local contacts as well as a free email-in service.
  • Registers vegan products with its Vegan Trademark – ensures all products and its derivatives that are registered are free from animal ingredients and testing. The Vegan Society defines 'animal' as all vertebrates and invertebrates, meaning its animal testing policy does not exclude insects, water fleas or any other creature.
  • Publishes The Vegan – a quarterly magazine sent free to members.

Movement for Compassionate Living

A breakaway group from The Vegan Society, the Movement for Compassionate Living, was founded in 1984 by the former Vegan Society Secretary Kathleen Jannaway and her husband Jack.

See also

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