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Vegan FAQ

Originally Donald Watson formed the word vegan in 1944 to describe a diet that excluded the consumption of animals (meat, fish, insects) and animal products (dairy, eggs & honey). 

The Vegan Society has since evolved this definition as a philosophy and way of life that seeks where possible to avoid any form of animal cruelty or exploitation. This includes the use of animals for product testing and animal by-products such as fur, leather, silk etc.  

Read more about Donald and the Vegan Society

The first edition of The Vegan News

Vegetarianism is a diet that excludes the consumption of meat or by-products of animal slaughter such as gelatin or animal stocks and fats. A vegetarian diet can include products produced by animals such as eggs, milk, cheese and honey. 

Vegan vs Vegetarian

The history of vegetarianism dates way back into ancient times but it is likely that most people choose vegetarianism now for animal welfare reasons. However being vegetarian does not really prevent animal slaughter and in fact it is clear that the dairy and meat industries are heavily intertwined. 

A plant-based diet or flexitarian focuses on predominantly consuming fruits, vegetables, nuts, seed, beans and legumes. However it does not necessarily eliminate the consumption of all animal products  but significantly reduces the amount consumed. 

Vegan vs plant-based

The motivation behind being plant-based is more likely to be for health or environmental reasons. The primary motivation for a vegan is animal welfare but will likely have health and environmental reasons as well. Who doesn't want to be healthier and stop climate change?

Cruelty-free is a term predominantly used in the cosmetics industry to refer to a make-up and toiletry products or ingredients that that have not been tested on animals.

It can also be used to refer to the use of animal skins to produce fur and leather for clothing or fashion accessories such as mink eye lashes.

Cruelty-free resources:


Vegan vs Cruelty-Free

There is a very important distinction between cruelty-free and vegan.

Are vegan products cruelty-free?

Not necessarily. Vegan describes the ingredients and not the production process so a vegan product may have ingredients that have been tested on animals.

Are cruelty-free products vegan?

Not necessarily. Cruelty-free refers to the production process not the actual ingredient so a cruelty-free product may contain animal derived products.

Seems kind of counter intuitive right?! In the absence of someone inventing a new word and in light of The Vegan Society definition of vegan it is assumed that vegan encompasses cruelty-free.

3 main reasons to adopt veganism:

  1.  Animal welfare: it is not just the slaughter but the whole process leading up to it and the way we have industrialised livestock farming and turned animals in to a commodity.
  2. Your health: there is overwhelming evidence that eating fruits and vegetables is better than eating animal proteins and fats.
  3. The planet: we try to squeeze every penny we can out of the planet but at its expense and meat production has by far the largest environmental impact.

    • Eggs? No.
    • Fish? No. That's a pescatarian.
    • Honey? No.
    • Cheese? No - but vegan alternatives are available.
    • Butter? No - but vegan alternatives are available.
    • Bread? Yes - but avoid any containing dairy products.
    • Pasta? Yes - but avoid any containing egg.
    • Chocolate? Yes - some high content cacao chocolate does not contain milk.

      World Vegan Day is the 1st November. It was started in 1994 Louise Wallis to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Vegan Society. 

      In Australia the day is often celebrated on Sundays close to the 1st November and can vary by state.

        Veganuary is a non-profit organisation in the UK that promotes veganism by encouraging people to follow a vegan lifestyle for the month of January each year (and beyond).

        Founded by Jane Land and Matthew Glover in 2014 participation has more than doubled each year and there has  now been over 1,000,000 people sign up to Veganuary in 192 countries around the world.

        Veganuary | Home | The Go Vegan 31 Day Challenge


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