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Veganism is both the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet, and an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of animals.[b] A follower of either the diet or the philosophy is known as a vegan (pronounced /ˈvɡən/ VEE-gən). Distinctions are sometimes made between several categories of veganism. Dietary vegans (or strict vegetarians) refrain from consuming animal products, not only meat but also eggs, dairy products and other animal-derived substances.[c] The term ethical vegan is often applied to those who not only follow a vegan diet but extend the philosophy into other areas of their lives, and oppose the use of animals for any purpose.[d] Another term is environmental veganism, which refers to the avoidance of animal products on the premise that the harvesting or industrial farming of animals is environmentally damaging and unsustainable.[18]

Clockwise from top left:
Seitan pizza; roasted sprouts, tofu and pasta;
cocoa–avocado brownies; leeks and beans with dumplings.
Pronunciation /ˈvɡənɪzəm/ VEE-gə-niz-əm
Vegan /ˈvɡən/ VEE-gən
Description Elimination of the use of animal products, particularly in diet
Earliest proponents
Term coined by Donald Watson, November 1944[8]
Notable vegans List of vegans

Well-planned vegan diets can reduce the risk of some types of chronic disease, including heart disease.[19] They are regarded as appropriate for all stages of life including during infancy and pregnancy by the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics,[e] Dietitians of Canada,[21] and the British Dietetic Association.[22] The German Society for Nutrition does not recommend vegan diets for children, adolescents nor during pregnancy and breastfeeding.[f] Vegan diets tend to be higher in dietary fiber, magnesium, folic acid, vitamin C, vitamin E, iron and phytochemicals; and lower in dietary energy, saturated fat, cholesterol, long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, calcium, zinc and vitamin B12.[g] Unbalanced vegan diets may lead to nutritional deficiencies that nullify any beneficial effects and may cause serious health issues.[23][24][25] Some of these deficiencies can only be prevented through the choice of fortified foods or the regular intake of dietary supplements.[23][26] Vitamin B12 supplementation is especially important because its deficiency causes blood disorders and potentially irreversible neurological damage.[25][27][28]

Donald Watson coined the term vegan in 1944 when he co-founded the Vegan Society in England. At first he used it to mean "non-dairy vegetarian", but from 1951 the Society defined it as "the doctrine that man should live without exploiting animals".[29] Interest in veganism increased in the 2010s. More vegan stores opened and vegan options became increasingly available in supermarkets and restaurants in many countries.[30]



Strict vegetariansEdit

Bust of Al-Maʿarri

The origin of the English term vegetarian is unknown.[31] The earliest-known use is attributed to the actress Fanny Kemble, writing around 1839 in Georgia in the United States.[h] The practice can be traced to Indus valley civilization in 3300–1300 BCE Ancient India.[34][35][36][37] Early vegetarians included Indian philosophers such as Mahavira and Acharya Kundakunda, the Indian poet Valluvar, the Indian emperors Chandragupta Maurya and Ashoka; Greek philosophers such as Empedocles, Theophrastus, Plutarch, Plotinus, and Porphyry; and the Roman poet Ovid, the playwright Seneca the Younger.[38][39] The Greek sage Pythagoras may have advocated an early form of strict vegetarianism,[40][41] but his life is so obscure that it is disputed whether he ever advocated any form of vegetarianism at all.[42] He almost certainly prohibited his followers from eating beans[42] and from wearing woolen garments[42] and Eudoxus of Cnidus, a student of Archytas, writes that "Pythagoras was distinguished by such purity and so avoided killing and killers that he not only abstained from animal foods, but even kept his distance from cooks and hunters."[42] The earliest known vegan was the Arab poet Al-Maʿarri (c. 973 – c. 1057).[a][43] Their arguments were based on health, the transmigration of souls, animal welfare, and the view—espoused by Porphyry in De Abstinentia ab Esu Animalium ("On Abstinence from Animal Food", c. 268 – c. 270)—that if humans deserve justice, so do animals.[38]

Vegetarianism established itself as a significant movement in 19th-century England and the United States.[44] A minority of vegetarians avoided animal food entirely.[45] In 1813 the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley published A Vindication of Natural Diet, advocating "abstinence from animal food and spirituous liquors", and in 1815 William Lambe, a London physician, claimed that his "water and vegetable diet" could cure anything from tuberculosis to acne.[46] Lambe called animal food an "habitual irritation", and argued that "milk eating and flesh eating are but branches of a common system, and they must stand or fall together".[47] Sylvester Graham's meatless Graham diet—mostly fruit, vegetables, water and bread made at home with stoneground flour—became popular as a health remedy in the 1830s in the United States.[48] Several vegan communities were established around this time. In Massachusetts Amos Bronson Alcott, father of the novelist Louisa May Alcott, opened the Temple School in 1834 and Fruitlands in 1844,[49][i] and in England James Pierrepont Greaves founded the Concordium, a vegan community at Alcott House on Ham Common, in 1838.[4][51]

Vegetarian SocietyEdit

Fruitlands, a short-lived vegan community established in 1844 by Amos Bronson Alcott in Harvard, Massachusetts.
Mahatma Gandhi, Vegetarian Society, London, 20 November 1931, with Henry Salt on his right[j]

In 1843 members of Alcott House created the British and Foreign Society for the Promotion of Humanity and Abstinence from Animal Food, led by Sophia Chichester, a wealthy benefactor of Alcott House.[53][54] Alcott House also helped to establish the UK Vegetarian Society, which held its first meeting in 1847 in Ramsgate, Kent.[55] The Medical Times and Gazette in London reported in 1884:

There are two kinds of Vegetarians—one an extreme form, the members of which eat no animal food whatever; and a less extreme sect, who do not object to eggs, milk, or fish. The Vegetarian Society ... belongs to the latter more moderate division.[45]

An article in the Society's magazine, the Vegetarian Messenger, in 1851 discussed alternatives to shoe leather, which suggests the presence of vegans within the membership who rejected animal use entirely, not only in diet.[56] By the 1886 publication of Henry S. Salt's A Plea for Vegetarianism and Other Essays, he asserts that, "It is quite true that most—not all—Food Reformers admit into their diet such animal food as milk, butter, cheese, and eggs..."[57] The first known vegan cookbook, Rupert H. Wheldon's No Animal Food: Two Essays and 100 Recipes, was published in London in 1910.[58] The consumption of milk and eggs became a battleground over the following decades. There were regular discussions about it in the Vegetarian Messenger; it appears from the correspondence pages that many opponents of veganism came from vegetarians.[8][59]

During a visit to London in 1931, Mahatma Gandhi—who had joined the Vegetarian Society's executive committee when he lived in London from 1888 to 1891—gave a speech to the Society arguing that it ought to promote a meat-free diet as a matter of morality, not health.[52][60] Lacto-vegetarians acknowledged the ethical consistency of the vegan position but regarded a vegan diet as impracticable and were concerned that it might be an impediment to spreading vegetarianism if vegans found themselves unable to participate in social circles where no non-animal food was available. This became the predominant view of the Vegetarian Society, which in 1935 stated: "The lacto-vegetarians, on the whole, do not defend the practice of consuming the dairy products except on the ground of expediency."[61]

Coining the term vegan (1944)Edit

External images
The Vegan News
first edition, 1944
Donald Watson
front row, fourth left, 1947[62]

In August 1944 several members of the Vegetarian Society asked that a section of its newsletter be devoted to non-dairy vegetarianism. When the request was turned down, Donald Watson, secretary of the Leicester branch, set up a new quarterly newsletter in November 1944, priced tuppence.[7] He called it The Vegan News. He chose the word vegan himself, based on "the first three and last two letters of 'vegetarian'" [..] because it marked, in Mr Watson's words, "the beginning and end of vegetarian"[63], but asked his readers if they could think of anything better than vegan to stand for "non-dairy vegetarian". They suggested allvega, neo-vegetarian, dairyban, vitan, benevore, sanivores and beaumangeur.[64]

The first edition attracted more than 100 letters, including from George Bernard Shaw, who resolved to give up eggs and dairy.[8] The new Vegan Society held its first meeting in early November at the Attic Club, 144 High Holborn, London. Those in attendance were Donald Watson, Elsie B. Shrigley, Fay K. Henderson, Alfred Hy Haffenden, Paul Spencer and Bernard Drake, with Mme Pataleewa (Barbara Moore, a Russian-British engineer) observing.[65] World Vegan Day is held every 1 November to mark the founding of the Society.[66]

Barbara Moore attended the first meeting of the Vegan Society as an observer.[65]

The Vegan News changed its name to The Vegan in November 1945, by which time it had 500 subscribers.[67] It published recipes and a "vegan trade list" of animal-free products, such as Colgate toothpaste, Kiwi shoe polish, Dawson & Owen stationery and Gloy glue.[68] Vegan books appeared, including Vegan Recipes by Fay K. Henderson and Aids to a Vegan Diet for Children by Kathleen V. Mayo.[69]

The Vegan Society soon made clear that it rejected the use of animals for any purpose, not only in diet. In 1947 Watson wrote: "The vegan renounces it as superstitious that human life depends upon the exploitation of these creatures whose feelings are much the same as our own ...".[70] From 1948 The Vegan's front page read: "Advocating living without exploitation", and in 1951 the Society published its definition of veganism as "the doctrine that man should live without exploiting animals."[70][71] In 1956 its vice-president, Leslie Cross, founded the Plantmilk Society, and in 1965, as Plantmilk Ltd and later Plamil Foods, it began production of one of the first widely distributed soy milks in the Western world.[72]

The first vegan society in the United States was founded in 1948 by Catherine Nimmo and Rubin Abramowitz in California, who distributed Watson's newsletter.[73] In 1960 H. Jay Dinshah founded the American Vegan Society (AVS), linking veganism to the concept of ahimsa, "non-harming" in Sanskrit.[74] According to Joanne Stepaniak, the word vegan was first published independently in 1962 by the Oxford Illustrated Dictionary, defined as "a vegetarian who eats no butter, eggs, cheese or milk".[75]

Increasing interestEdit

Alternative food movementsEdit

In the 1960s and 1970s a vegetarian food movement emerged as part of the counterculture in the United States that focused on concerns about diet, the environment and a distrust of food producers, leading to increasing interest in organic gardening.[76][77] One of the most influential vegetarian books of that time was Frances Moore Lappé's 1971 text, Diet for a Small Planet.[78] It sold more than three million copies and suggested "getting off the top of the food chain".[79]

The following decades saw research by a group of scientists and doctors in the United States, including physicians Dean Ornish, Caldwell Esselstyn, Neal D. Barnard, John A. McDougall, Michael Greger and biochemist T. Colin Campbell, who argued that diets based on animal fat and animal protein, such as the Western pattern diet, were detrimental to health.[80] They produced a series of books that recommend vegan or vegetarian diets, including McDougall's The McDougall Plan (1983), John Robbins's Diet for a New America (1987), which associated meat eating with environmental damage, and Dr. Dean Ornish's Program for Reversing Heart Disease (1990).[81] In 2003 two major North American dietitians' associations indicated that well-planned vegan diets were suitable for all life stages.[82] This was followed by the film Earthlings (2005), Campbell's The China Study (2005), Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin's Skinny Bitch (2005), Jonathan Safran Foer's Eating Animals (2009), and the film Forks over Knives (2011).[83]

In the 1980s veganism became associated with punk subculture and ideologies, particularly straight edge hardcore punk in the United States[84] and anarcho-punk in the United Kingdom.[85] This association continues on into the 21st century, as evidenced by the prominence of vegan punk events such as Fluff Fest in Europe.[86][87]

Into the mainstream (2010s)Edit

Interest in veganism in the 2010s was reflected in Wikipedia, where vegan pages received more views than vegetarian ones.[88]

The vegan diet became increasingly mainstream in the 2010s.[30][89] The European Parliament defined the meaning of vegan for food labels in 2010, in force as of 2015.[90] Chain restaurants began marking vegan items on their menus and supermarkets improved their selection of vegan processed food.[91] The English Wikipedia article on veganism was viewed 73,000 times in August 2009 but 145,000 times in August 2013. Articles on veganism were viewed more during this period than articles on vegetarianism in the English, French, German, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish Wikipedias.[88]

The global mock-meats market increased by eighteen percent between 2005 and 2010,[92] and in the United States by eight percent between 2012 and 2015, to $553 million a year.[93] De Vegetarische Slager, the first known vegetarian butcher shop, selling mock meats, opened in the Netherlands in 2010,[92][94] while America's first vegan butcher, the Herbivorous Butcher, opened in Minneapolis in 2016.[93][95] By 2016, forty-nine percent of Americans were drinking plant milk, although 91 percent still drank dairy milk.[96] In the United Kingdom the plant milk market increased by 155 percent in two years, from 36 million litres in 2011 to 92 million in 2013.[97] In 2011 Europe's first vegan supermarkets appeared in Germany: Vegilicious in Dortmund and Veganz in Berlin.[98][99]

Veganz in Berlin, Europe's first vegan supermarket

Countering the image of self-deprivation projected by vegan straight edges and animal rights activists, veganism was promoted as glamorous; in 2015 the editor of Yahoo! Food declared that it had become "a thing".[100] Celebrities, athletes and politicians adopted vegan diets, some seriously, some part-time.[101] The idea of the "flexi-vegan" gained currency: New York Times food columnist Mark Bittman, in VB6 (2013), recommended eating vegan food until 6 pm.[99] In 2013, the Oktoberfest in Munich, traditionally a meat-heavy affair, offered vegan dishes for the first time in its 200-year history.[102]

Critics of veganism questioned the evolutionary legitimacy and health effects of a vegan diet, and pointed to longstanding philosophical traditions which held that humans are superior to other animals.[103] Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain wrote in 2000 that "Vegetarians, and their Hezbollah-like splinter-faction, the vegans, are a persistent irritant to any chef worth a damn."[104] Several vegetarian writers argued that the restrictions of a vegan lifestyle are impractical, and that vegetarianism is a better goal.[105][106][107][108]

Veganism by countryEdit

  •   Australia: Australians topped Google’s worldwide searches for the word “vegan” between mid-2015 and mid-2016.[109] A Euromonitor International study concluded the market for packaged vegan food in Australia would rise 9.6% per year between 2015 and 2020, making Australia the third-fastest growing vegan market behind China and the United Arab Emirates.[110]
  •   Austria: In 2013 Kurier estimated that 0.5 percent of Austrians practised veganism, and in the capital, Vienna, 0.7 percent.[111]
  •   Belgium: A 2016 iVOX online study found that out of 1000 Dutch-speaking residents of Flanders and Brussels of 18 years and over, 0.3 percent were vegan.[112]
  •   Germany: As of 2016 the data estimated of people following a vegan diet in Germany varied between 0.1% and 1% of the population (between 81,000 and 810,000 persons).[113]
  •   India: In the 2005-06 National Health Survey, 1.6% of the surveyed population reported never consuming animal products. Veganism was most common in the states of Gujarat (4.9%) and Maharashtra (4.0%).[114]
  •   Israel: Five percent (300,000) in Israel said they were vegan in 2014, making it the highest per capita vegan population in the world.[115] A 2015 survey by Globes and Israel's Channel 2 News similarly found 5% of Israelis were vegan[116] Veganism increased among Israeli Arabs.[117] The Israeli army made special provision for vegan soldiers in 2015, which included providing non-leather boots and wool-free berets.[118]
  •   Italy: Between 0.6 and three percent of Italians were reported to be vegan as of 2015.[119]
  •   Netherlands: In 2014 the Dutch Society for Veganism (Nederlandse Vereniging voor Veganisme) estimated there were 45,000 Dutch vegans (0.27 percent), based on their membership growth.[120]
  •   Sweden: Four percent said they were vegan in a 2014 Demoskop poll.[121]
  •    Switzerland: The Swiss Vegan Society (Vegane Gesellschaft Schweiz) estimated in 2016 that one percent of the population was vegan.[122]
  •   United Kingdom: In the UK, where the tofu and mock-meats market was worth £786.5 million in 2012, two percent said they were vegan in a 2007 government survey.[123] A 2016 Ipsos MORI study commissioned by the Vegan Society, surveying almost 10,000 people aged 15 or over across England, Scotland and Wales, found that 1.05 percent were vegan; the Vegan Society estimates that 542,000 in the UK follow a vegan diet.[124]
  •   United States: Estimates of vegans in the U.S. vary from 2% (Gallup, 2012)[125] to 0.5% (Faunalytics, 2014). According to the latter, 70% of those who adopted a vegan diet abandoned it.[126]

Animal productsEdit


Mock meats in Veganz, a vegan supermarket in Berlin

Vegans do not eat beef, pork, poultry, fowl, game, seafood, eggs, dairy, or any other animal products. Dietary vegans might use animal products in clothing (as leather, wool, and silk), toiletries and similar.[127] Ethical veganism extends not only to matters of food but also to the wearing or use of animal products. Vegans reject the commodification of animals.[128] The British Vegan Society will certify a product only if it is free of animal involvement as far as possible and practical, including animal testing,[129] but "recognises that it is not always possible to make a choice that avoids the use of animals".[130]

An important concern is the case of medications, which are routinely tested on animals to ensure they are effective and safe, and may also contain animal ingredients, such as lactose, gelatine, or stearates.[130][131] There may be no alternatives to prescribed medication or these alternatives may be unsuitable, less effective, or have more adverse side effects.[130] Experimentation with laboratory animals is also used for evaluating the safety of vaccines, food additives, cosmetics, household products, workplace chemicals, and many other substances.[132]

Philosopher Gary Steiner argues that it is not possible to be entirely vegan, because animal use and products are "deeply and imperceptibly woven into the fabric of human society".[133] Animal products in common use include albumen, allantoin, beeswax, blood, bone char, bone china, carmine, casein, castoreum, cochineal, elastin, emu oil, gelatin, honey, isinglass, keratin, lactic acid, lanolin, lard, rennet, retinol, shellac, squalene, tallow/sodium tallowate, whey and yellow grease. Some of these are chemical compounds that can be derived from animal products, plants, or petrochemicals. Allantoin, lactic acid, retinol and squalene, for example, can be vegan. These products and their origins are not always included in the list of ingredients.[134]

Some vegans will not buy woollen jumpers, silk scarves, leather shoes, bedding that contains goose down or duck feathers, pearl jewellery, seashells, ordinary soap (usually made of animal fat), or cosmetics that contain animal products. They avoid certain vaccines; the flu vaccine, for example, is usually grown in hens' eggs, although an effective alternative, Flublok, is widely available in the United States. Non-vegan items acquired before they became vegan might be donated to charity or used until worn out. Some vegan clothes, in particular leather alternatives, are made of petroleum-based products, which has triggered criticism because of the environmental damage involved in their production.[135][136]

Eggs, dairy products, honey, silkEdit

Modern methods of factory farming are considered highly unethical by most vegans.

The main difference between a vegan and vegetarian diet is that vegans exclude dairy products. Ethical vegans avoid them on the premise that their production causes animal suffering and premature death. In egg production, most male chicks are culled because they do not lay eggs.[137] To obtain milk from dairy cattle, cows are made pregnant to induce lactation; they are kept lactating for three to seven years, then slaughtered. Female calves are separated from their mothers within 24 hours of birth, and fed milk replacer to retain the cow's milk for human consumption. Male calves are slaughtered at birth, sent for veal production, or reared for beef.[138][139]

Vegan groups disagree about insect products.[140] Neither the Vegan Society nor the American Vegan Society considers honey, silk, and other insect products as suitable for vegans,[141][142] while Vegan Outreach view it as a matter of personal choice.[143] The Vegan Society recommend date syrup, maple syrup, molasses, butterscotch syrup, golden syrup and agave nectar as alternatives to honey.[141] Insect products can be defined much more widely, as commercial bees are used to pollinate about 100 different food crops, including almonds, avocado, broccoli, cucumbers, peaches, pears, sunflowers and tomatoes.[140]

Vegan dietEdit

  Vegan cuisine at Wikibook Cookbooks


Warm tofu (soybean curd) with garlic sauce. Soybeans are a source of complete protein.

Vegan diets are based on grains and other seeds, legumes (particularly beans), fruits, vegetables, edible mushrooms, and nuts.[144] Meatless products based on soybeans (tofu), or wheat-based seitan are sources of plant protein, commonly in the form of vegetarian sausage, mince, and veggie burgers.[145]

Dishes based on soybeans are a staple of vegan diets because soybeans are a complete protein; this means they contain all the essential amino acids for humans and can be relied upon entirely for protein intake.[k] They are consumed most often in the form of soy milk and tofu (bean curd), which is soy milk mixed with a coagulant. Tofu comes in a variety of textures, depending on water content, from firm, medium firm and extra firm for stews and stir-fries to soft or silken for salad dressings, desserts and shakes. Soy is also eaten in the form of tempeh and texturized vegetable protein (TVP); also known as textured soy protein (TSP), the latter is often used in pasta sauces.[147]

Plant milk, cheese, mayonnaiseEdit

Plant milks—such as soy milk, almond milk, grain milks (oat milk and rice milk), hemp milk and coconut milk—are used in place of cows' or goats' milk.[l] Soy milk provides around 7 g of protein per cup (240 mL or 8 fl oz), compared with 8 g of protein per cup of cow's milk. Almond milk is lower in dietary energy, carbohydrates and protein.[152] Soy milk should not be used as a replacement for breast milk for babies. Babies who are not breastfed may be fed commercial infant formula, normally based on cows' milk or soy. The latter is known as soy-based infant formula or SBIF.[153][154]

Butter can be replaced with a vegan alternative such as Earth Balance's.[155] Vegan (egg-free) mayonnaise brands include Vegenaise, Nayonaise, Mindful Mayo, and Plamil's Egg-Free Mayonnaise.[156] Vegan cheeses, such as Chreese and Daiya, are made from soy, nuts and tapioca, and can replace the meltability of dairy cheese.[157] Nutritional yeast is a common substitute for the taste of cheese in vegan recipes.[158] Cheese substitutes can be made at home.[159][160]

Egg replacementsEdit

Commercial egg substitutes, such as Bob's Red Mill egg replacer and Ener-G egg replacer, are available for cooking and baking.[161] The protein in eggs thickens when heated and binds other ingredients together.[162] Flaxseeds will do the same: replace each egg with one tablespoon of flaxseed meal mixed with three tablespoons of water.[161] For pancakes a tablespoon of baking powder can be used instead of eggs.[163] Other ingredients include (to replace one egg): one tablespoon of soy flour and one tablespoon of water; a quarter cup of mashed bananas, mashed prunes or apple sauce; or in batter two tablespoons of white flour, half a tablespoon of vegetable oil, two tablespoons of water, and half a tablespoon of baking powder.[162] Silken (soft) tofu and mashed potato can also be used.[164] Recently, aquafaba has come into use as a popular egg replacement, it can even be whipped up like egg whites.[165]

Raw veganismEdit

Raw veganism, combining veganism and raw foodism, excludes all animal products and food cooked above 48 °C (118 °F). A raw vegan diet includes vegetables, fruits, nuts, grain and legume sprouts, seeds and sea vegetables. There are many variations of the diet, including fruitarianism.[166]



Proteins are composed of amino acids. Vegans obtain all their protein from plants, omnivores usually a third, and ovo-lacto vegetarians half.[167] Sources of plant protein include legumes such as soy beans (consumed as tofu, tempeh, texturized vegetable protein, soy milk and edamame), peas, peanuts, black beans and chickpeas (the latter often eaten as hummus); grains such as quinoa (pronounced keenwa), brown rice, corn, barley, bulgur and wheat (the latter eaten as bread and seitan); and nuts and seeds. Combinations that contain high amounts of all the essential amino acids include rice and beans, corn and beans, and hummus and whole-wheat pita.[168]

Soy beans and quinoa are known as complete proteins because they each contain all the essential amino acids in amounts that meet or exceed human requirements.[169] Mangels et al. write that consuming the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of protein (0.8 g/kg body weight) in the form of soy will meet the biologic requirement for amino acids.[146] In 2012 the United States Department of Agriculture ruled that soy protein (tofu) may replace meat protein in the National School Lunch Program.[170]

The American Dietetic Association said in 2009 that a variety of plant foods consumed over the course of a day can provide all the essential amino acids for healthy adults, which means that protein combining in the same meal may not be necessary.[171] Mangels et al. write that there is little reason to advise vegans to increase their protein intake, but erring on the side of caution, they recommend a 25 percent increase over the RDA for adults, to 1.0 gram of protein per kilogram of body weight.[172]

Vitamin B12Edit

Tahini miso soup with brown rice, turnips, squash, radishes and nori (an edible seaweed). Nori has been cited as a plant source of B12,[173] but the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics established in 2016 that is not an adequate source of this vitamin. Vegans need to consume regularly fortified foods or supplements containing B12.[26]

Vitamin B12 is a bacterial product needed for cell division, the formation and maturation of red blood cells, the synthesis of DNA, and normal nerve function. A deficiency may cause megaloblastic anaemia and neurological damage, and, if untreated, may lead to death.[27][174][m] The high content of folacin in vegetarian diets may mask the hematological symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency, so it may go undetected until neurological signs in the late stages are evident, which can be irreversible, such as neuropsychiatric abnormalities, neuropathy, dementia and, occasionally, atrophy of optic nerves.[20][25][176] Vegans sometimes fail to obtain enough B12 from their diet because among non-fortified foods, only those of animal origin contain sufficient amounts.[25][176][n] The best source is ruminant food.[28] Vegetarians are also at risk, as are older people and those with certain medical conditions.[178][179] A 2013 study found that "vegetarians develop B12 depletion or deficiency regardless of demographic characteristics, place of residency, age, or type of vegetarian diet. Vegans should take preventive measures to ensure adequate intake of this vitamin, including regular consumption of supplements containing B12."[o]

B12 is produced in nature only by certain bacteria and archaea; it is not made by any animal, fungus, or plant.[28][181][182] It is synthesized by some gut bacteria in humans and other animals, but humans cannot absorb the B12 made in their guts, as it is made in the colon which is too far from the small intestine, where absorption of B12 occurs.[28] Ruminants, such as cows and sheep, absorb B12 produced by bacteria in their guts.[28]

Animals store vitamin B12 in liver and muscle and some pass the vitamin into their eggs and milk; meat, liver, eggs and milk are therefore sources of B12.[183][184]

It has been suggested that nori (an edible seaweed), tempeh (a fermented soybean food), and nutritional yeast may be sources of vitamin B12.[173][p][186][q] In 2016, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics established that nori, fermented foods (such as tempeh), spirulina, chlorella algae, and unfortified nutritional yeast are not adequate sources of vitamin B12 and that vegans need to consume regularly fortified foods or supplements containing B12. Otherwise, vitamin B12 deficiency may develop, as has been demonstrated in case studies of vegan infants, children, and adults.[26]

Vitamin B12 is mostly manufactured by industrial fermentation of various kinds of bacteria, which make forms of cyanocobalamin, which are further processed to generate the ingredient included in supplements and fortified foods.[188][189] The Pseudomonas denitrificans strain was most commonly used as of 2017.[190][191] It is grown in a medium containing sucrose, yeast extract, and several metallic salts. To increase vitamin production, it is supplemented with sugar beet molasses, or, less frequently, with choline.[190] Certain brands of B12 supplements are vegan.[174]


Vegan cheeses

Calcium is needed to maintain bone health and for several metabolic functions, including muscle function, vascular contraction and vasodilation, nerve transmission, intracellular signalling and hormonal secretion. Ninety-nine percent of the body's calcium is stored in the bones and teeth.[192][193][194]:35–74

High-calcium foods may include fortified plant milk or fortified tofu. Plant sources include broccoli, turnip, bok choy and kale; the bioavailability of calcium in spinach is poor.[192] Vegans should make sure they consume enough vitamin D, which is needed for calcium absorption.[195]

A 2007 report based on the Oxford cohort of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition, which began in 1993, suggested that vegans have an increased risk of bone fractures over meat eaters and vegetarians, likely because of lower dietary calcium intake. The study found that vegans consuming at least 525 mg of calcium daily have a risk of fractures similar to that of other groups.[r][198] A 2009 study found the bone mineral density (BMD) of vegans was 94 percent that of omnivores, but deemed the difference clinically insignificant.[199][s]

Vitamin DEdit

Most people can obtain enough vitamin D by exposure to sunlight in the spring, summer and fall.[201]

Vitamin D (calciferol) is needed for several functions, including calcium absorption, enabling mineralization of bone, and bone growth. Without it bones can become thin and brittle; together with calcium it offers protection against osteoporosis. Vitamin D is produced in the body when ultraviolet rays from the sun hit the skin; outdoor exposure is needed because UVB radiation does not penetrate glass. It is present in salmon, tuna, mackerel and cod liver oil, with small amounts in cheese, egg yolks and beef liver, and in some mushrooms.[201]

Most vegan diets contain little or no vitamin D without fortified food. People with little sun exposure may need supplements. The extent to which sun exposure is sufficient depends on the season, time of day, cloud and smog cover, skin melanin content, and whether sunscreen is worn. According to the National Institutes of Health, most people can obtain and store sufficient vitamin D from sunlight in the spring, summer and fall, even in the far north. They report that some researchers recommend 5–30 minutes of sun exposure without sunscreen between 10 am and 3 pm, at least twice a week. Tanning beds emitting 2–6% UVB radiation have a similar effect, though tanning is inadvisable.[201][202]

Vitamin D comes in two forms. Cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) is synthesized in the skin after exposure to the sun, or consumed in the form of animal products; when produced industrially it is taken from lanolin in sheep's wool. Ergocalciferol (vitamin D2) is derived from ergosterol from UV-exposed mushrooms or yeast and is suitable for vegans. Conflicting studies have suggested that the two forms may or may not be bioequivalent.[203] According to researchers from the Institute of Medicine, the differences between vitamins D2 and D3 do not affect metabolism, both function as prohormones, and when activated exhibit identical responses in the body.[204]


Oatmeal with blueberries, toasted almonds and almond milk; one packet of instant oatmeal contains 8.2 mg of iron.[205]

In some cases iron and the zinc status of vegans may also be of concern because of the limited bioavailability of these minerals.[23] There are concerns about the bioavailability of iron from plant foods, assumed by some researchers to be 5–15 percent compared to 18 percent from a nonvegetarian diet.[206] Iron deficiency anemia is found as often in nonvegetarians as in vegetarians, though studies have shown vegetarians' iron stores to be lower.[207]

Mangels et al. write that, because of the lower bioavailability of iron from plant sources, the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Sciences established a separate RDA for vegetarians and vegans of 14 mg for vegetarian men and postmenopausal women, and 33 mg for premenopausal women not using oral contraceptives.[208] Supplements should be used with caution after consulting a physician, because iron can accumulate in the body and cause damage to organs. This is particularly true of anyone with hemochromatosis, a relatively common condition that can remain undiagnosed.[209]

High-iron vegan foods include soybeans, black-strap molasses, black beans, lentils, chickpeas, spinach, tempeh, tofu and lima beans.[210][211] Iron absorption can be enhanced by eating a source of vitamin C at the same time,[212] such as half a cup of cauliflower or five fluid ounces of orange juice. Coffee and some herbal teas can inhibit iron absorption, as can spices that contain tannins such as turmeric, coriander, chiles, and tamarind.[211]

Omega-3 fatty acids, iodineEdit

Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fatty acid, is found in leafy green vegetables and nuts, and in vegetable oils such as canola and flaxseed oil.[213] EPA and DHA, the other primary omega-3 fatty acids, are found only in animal products and algae.[214] Iodine supplementation may be necessary for vegans in countries where salt is not typically iodized, where it is iodized at low levels, or where, as in Britain and Ireland, dairy products are relied upon for iodine delivery because of low levels in the soil.[215] Iodine can be obtained from most vegan multivitamins or regular consumption of seaweeds, such as kelp.[216]

Health effectsEdit

Vegan products in a supermarket (Oceanside, California, 2014)

As of 2014 very few studies were rigorous in their comparison of omnivore, vegetarian and vegan diets, making it difficult to discern whether health benefits attributed to the vegan diet might also apply to vegetarian diets or diets that include a moderate meat intake.[19]

Veganism appears to provide a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity and ischemic heart disease.[19][217][218][219][220] A 2016 systematic review found that a vegan diet was associated with a reduction in cancer risk, although only in a small number of studies. The review concluded that there was no effect of vegan diets overall on all-cause mortality, cancer mortality, cerebrovascular disease or cardiovascular-disease-related mortality. The effects also disappeared when specific cancers were analysed.[221]

Eliminating all animal products increases the risk of deficiencies of vitamins B12 and D, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids.[23] Vitamin B12 deficiency occurs in up to 80% of vegans that do not supplement with vitamin B12.[222] Craig advises vegans to eat fortified foods or take supplements, and warns that iron and zinc may be problematic because of limited bioavailability. Vegans might be at risk of low bone mineral density without supplements.[23] Lack of vitamin B12 can cause anemia and lead to nerve damage and deterioration of the spinal cord. Lack of B12 also causes damages to the nervous system and affects proper function of the brain.[223] The American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and Dietitians of Canada state that properly planned vegan diets are appropriate for all life stages, including pregnancy and lactation. They indicate that vegetarian diets may be more common among adolescents with eating disorders, but that its adoption may serve to camouflage a disorder rather than cause one. The Australian National Health and Medical Research Council similarly recognizes a well-planned vegan diet as viable for any age.[t] The British National Health Service's Eatwell Plate allows for an entirely plant-based diet,[226] as does the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) MyPlate.[u] The USDA allows tofu to replace meat in the National School Lunch Program.[170] The German Society for Nutrition does not recommend a vegan diet for babies, children and adolescents, and for those pregnant or breastfeeding.[f]

Pregnancy, infants and childrenEdit

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and Dietitians of Canada consider well-planned vegetarian and vegan diets "appropriate for individuals during all stages of the lifecycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes".[228] The German Society for Nutrition cautioned against a vegan diet for pregnant women, babies, and children as of 2011.[113] The position of the Canadian Pediatric Society is that "well-planned vegetarian and vegan diets with appropriate attention to specific nutrient components can provide a healthy alternative lifestyle at all stages of fetal, infant, child and adolescent growth. Attention should be given to nutrient intake, particularly protein, vitamins B12 and D, essential fatty acids, iron, zinc and calcium.[229]

According to a 2015 systematic review, there is little evidence available about vegetarian and vegan diets during pregnancy, and a lack of randomized studies meant that the effects of diet could not be distinguished from confounding factors.[230] It concluded: "Within these limits, vegan-vegetarian diets may be considered safe in pregnancy, provided that attention is paid to vitamin and trace element requirements."[230] A daily source of vitamin B12 is important for pregnant and lactating vegans, as is vitamin D if there are concerns about low sun exposure.[v] Researchers have reported cases of vitamin B12 deficiency in lactating vegetarian mothers that were linked to deficiencies and neurological disorders in their children.[232][233] A doctor or registered dietitian should be consulted about taking supplements during pregnancy.[234][235]

Vegan diets have attracted negative attention from the media because of cases of nutritional deficiencies that have come to the attention of the courts, including the death of a baby in New Zealand in 2002 due to hypocobalaminemia, i.e. Vitamin B12 deficiency.[24]

Personal itemsEdit

Soap made from olive oil; soap is usually made from tallow (animal fat)

Vegans do not use personal care products or household cleaners that contain animal products. Animal ingredients are ubiquitous because they are cheap. After animals are slaughtered for meat, the leftovers are put through the rendering process, and some of that material, particularly the fat, ends up in toiletries. Common ingredients include tallow in soap and collagen-derived glycerine, used as a lubricant and humectant in many haircare products, moisturizers, shaving foams, soaps and toothpastes.[236]

Lanolin from sheep's wool is often found in lip balm and moisturizers. Stearic acid is a common ingredient in face creams, shaving foam and shampoos; as with glycerine, it can be plant-based but is usually animal-derived. Lactic acid, an alpha-hydroxy acid derived from animal milk, is used in moisturizers, as is allantoin, from the comfrey plant or cows' urine, in shampoos, moisturizers and toothpaste.[236] Carmine from scale insects, such as the female cochineal, is used in food and cosmetics to produce red and pink shades.[237][238]

Vegan Society sunflower:
certified vegan, no animal testing

PETA bunny:
certified vegan, no animal testing

Leaping bunny:
no animal testing, might not be vegan

Animal Ingredients A to Z (2004) and Veganissimo A to Z (2013) list which ingredients might be animal-derived. The British Vegan Society's sunflower logo and PETA's bunny logo mean the product is certified vegan, which includes no animal testing. The leaping bunny logo signals no animal testing, but it might not be vegan.[239][240] The Vegan Society criteria for vegan certification are that the product contain no animal products, and that neither the finished item nor its ingredients have been tested on animals by, or on behalf of, the manufacturer or by anyone over whom the manufacturer has control. Its website contains a list of certified products,[241] as does Australia's "Choose Cruelty Free" website.[242]

Beauty Without Cruelty, founded as a charity in 1959, was one of the earliest manufacturers and certifiers of animal-free personal care products.[243] Several international companies produce animal-free products, including clothes, shoes, fashion items and candles.[244][245]

Vegans avoid clothing that incorporates silk, wool (including lambswool, shearling, cashmere, angora, mohair and a number of other fine wools), fur, feathers, pearls, animal-derived dyes, leather, snakeskin and any other kind of skin or animal product.[citation needed] Most leather clothing is made from cow skins. Vegans regard the purchase of leather, particularly from cows, as financial support for the meat industry.[246]:115 Vegans may wear clothing items and accessories made of non-animal-derived materials such as hemp, linen, cotton, canvas, polyester, synthetic leather (pleather), rubber and vinyl.[246]:16 Leather alternatives can come from materials such as cork, piña (from pineapples) and mushroom leather.[247]


Ethical veganismEdit

Pigs, as well as chicken and cattle, are often denied freedom of movement and other basic rights.

Ethical veganism is based on opposition to speciesism, the assignment of value to individuals on the basis of species membership alone. Divisions within animal rights theory include the utilitarian, protectionist approach, which pursues improved conditions for animals. It also pertains to the rights-based abolitionism, which seeks to end human ownership of non-humans. Abolitionists argue that protectionism serves only to make the public feel that animal use can be morally unproblematic (the "happy meat" position).[248][249]

Law professor Gary Francione, an abolitionist, argues that all sentient beings should have the right not to be treated as property, and that adopting veganism must be the baseline for anyone who believes that non-humans have intrinsic moral value.[250][w] Philosopher Tom Regan, also a rights theorist, argues that animals possess value as "subjects-of-a-life", because they have beliefs, desires, memory and the ability to initiate action in pursuit of goals. The right of subjects-of-a-life not to be harmed can be overridden by other moral principles, but Regan argues that pleasure, convenience and the economic interests of farmers are not weighty enough.[252] Philosopher Peter Singer, a protectionist and utilitarian, argues that there is no moral or logical justification for failing to count animal suffering as a consequence when making decisions, and that killing animals should be rejected unless necessary for survival.[253] Despite this, he writes that "ethical thinking can be sensitive to circumstances", and that he is "not too concerned about trivial infractions".[254]

An argument proposed by Bruce Friedrich, also a protectionist, holds that strict adherence to veganism harms animals, because it focuses on personal purity, rather than encouraging people to give up whatever animal products they can.[255] For Francione, this is similar to arguing that, because human-rights abuses can never be eliminated, we should not defend human rights in situations we control. By failing to ask a server whether something contains animal products, we reinforce that the moral rights of animals are a matter of convenience, he argues. He concludes from this that the protectionist position fails on its own consequentialist terms.[256]

Philosopher Val Plumwood maintained that ethical veganism is "subtly human-centred", an example of what she called "human/nature dualism" because it views humanity as separate from the rest of nature. Ethical vegans want to admit non-humans into the category that deserves special protection, rather than recognize the "ecological embeddedness" of all.[257] Plumwood wrote that animal food may be an "unnecessary evil" from the perspective of the consumer who "draws on the whole planet for nutritional needs"—and she strongly opposed factory farming—but for anyone relying on a much smaller ecosystem, it is very difficult or impossible to be vegan.[258]

Ben Mepham, bioethicist,[259] in his review of Francione and Garner's book The Animal Rights Debate: Abolition Or Regulation?, concludes that "if the aim of ethics is to choose the right, or best, course of action in specific circumstances ‘all things considered’, it is arguable that adherence to such an absolutist agenda is simplistic and open to serious self-contradictions. Or, as Farlie puts it, with characteristic panache: ‘to conclude that veganism is the ‘only ethical response’ is to take a big leap into a very muddy pond’."[260] He cites as examples the adverse effects on animal wildlife derived from the agricultural practices necessary to sustain most vegan diets and the ethical contradiction of favoring the welfare of domesticated animals but not that of wild animals; the imbalance between the resources that are used to promote the welfare of animals as opposed to those destined to alleviate the suffering of the approximately one billion human beings who undergo malnutrition, abuse and exploitation; the focus on attitudes and conditions in western developed countries, leaving out the rights and interests of societies whose economy, culture and, in some cases, survival rely on a symbiotic relationship with animals.[260]

David Pearce, a transhumanist philosopher, has argued that humanity has a "hedonistic imperative" to not merely avoid cruelty to animals or abolish the ownership of non-human animals, but also to redesign the global ecosystem such that wild animal suffering ceases to exist.[261][262][263] In the pursuit of abolishing suffering itself, Pearce promotes predation elimination among animals and the "cross-species global analogue of the welfare state".[264][263][265] Fertility regulation could maintain herbivore populations at sustainable levels, "a more civilised and compassionate policy option than famine, predation and disease".[266] The increasing number of vegans and vegetarians in the transhumanism movement has been attributed in part to Pearce's influence.[267]

A growing political philosophy that incorporates veganism as part of its revolutionary praxis is veganarchism, which seeks "total abolition" or "total liberation" for all animals, including humans. Veganarchists identify the state as unnecessary and harmful to animals, both human and non-human, and advocate for the adoption of a vegan lifestyle within a stateless society. The term was popularized in 1995 with Brian A. Dominick's pamphlet Animal Liberation and Social Revolution, described as "a vegan perspective on anarchism or an anarchist perspective on veganism".[268] Direct action is a common practice among veganarchists (and anarchists generally) with groups like the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and Revolutionary Cells – Animal Liberation Brigade (RCALB) often engaging in such activities, sometimes violently and criminally, to further their goals.

Environmental veganismEdit

Environmental vegans focus on conservation, rejecting the use of animal products on the premise that fishing, hunting, trapping and farming, particularly factory farming, are environmentally unsustainable. In 2010 Paul Watson of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society called pigs and chicken "major aquatic predators", because livestock eat 40 percent of the fish that are caught.[18] All Sea Shepherd ships have been vegan, for environmental reasons, since 2002. This specific form of veganism focuses its way of living on how to have a sustainable way of life without consuming animals.[269]

According to a 2006 United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization report, Livestock's Long Shadow, 222 million tonnes of meat were produced globally in 1999.[270] The report posits that around 26 percent of the planet's terrestrial surface is devoted to livestock grazing.[271] In the United States ten billion land animals are killed every year for human consumption, and in 2005 48 billion birds were killed globally.[272][273]

The UN report also concluded that livestock farming (mostly of cows, chickens and pigs) affects the air, land, soil, water, biodiversity and climate change.[274] Livestock consumed 1,174 million tonnes of food in 2002—including 7.6 million tonnes of fishmeal and 670 million tonnes of cereals, one-third of the global cereal harvest— and in 2001 consumed 45 million tonnes of roots and vegetables and 17 million tonnes of pulses.[275] As of 2006 the livestock industry accounted for nine percent of anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions, 37 percent of methane, 65 percent of nitrous oxide, and 68 percent of ammonia. Livestock waste emitted 30 million tonnes of ammonia a year, which is involved in the production of acid rain.[276][277] A 2017 study published in the journal Carbon Balance and Management found animal agriculture's global methane emissions are 11% higher than previous estimates based on data from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.[278]

A 2010 UN report, Assessing the Environmental Impacts of Consumption and Production, argued that animal products "in general require more resources and cause higher emissions than plant-based alternatives".[279]:80 It proposed a move away from animal products to reduce environmental damage.[x][280] A 2007 Cornell University study concluded that vegetarian diets use the least land per capita, but require higher quality land than is needed to feed animals.[281] A 2015 study published in Science of the Total Environment determined that significant biodiversity loss can be attributed to the growing demand for meat, which is a significant driver of deforestation and habitat destruction, with species-rich habitats being converted to agriculture for livestock production.[282] A 2017 study by the World Wildlife Fund found that 60% of biodiversity loss can be attributed to the vast scale of feed crop cultivation needed to rear tens of billions of farm animals, which puts an enormous strain on natural resources resulting in an extensive loss of lands and species.[283] In November 2017, 15,364 world scientists signed a warning to humanity calling for, among other things, "promoting dietary shifts towards mostly plant-based foods."[284]


One of the leading activists and scholars of feminist animal rights is Carol J. Adams. Her premier work, The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory (1990), sparked what was to become a movement in animal rights as she noted the relationship between feminism and meat consumption. Since the release of The Sexual Politics of Meat, Adams has published several other works including essays, books, and keynote addresses. Adams ideals are carried out thoroughly, and in one of her speeches, “Why feminist-vegan now?”[285]—adapted from her original address at the “Minding Animals” conference in Newcastle, Australia (2009)--Adams states that “the idea that there was a connection between feminism and vegetarianism came to [her] in October 1974,” illustrating that the concept of feminist veganism has been around for nearly half a century. Other authors have also paralleled Adams’ ideas while expanding on them. Angella Duvnjak states in “Joining the dots: some reflections on feminist-Vegan political practice and choice” that she was met with opposition to the connection of feminist and veganism ideals, although the connection seemed more than obvious to her and other scholars (2011).[286] Other scholars elaborate on the connections between feminism, such as Carrie Hamilton who makes the connection to sex workers and animal reproductive rights.[287] Many other scholars of feminist vegan philosophy continue to add to the arguments that Adams, Duvnjak, and Hamilton have brought forth.

Animal and human abuse parallelsEdit

Some of the main concepts of feminist veganism is that is the connection between the violence and oppression of animals. For example, Marjorie Spiegal compares the consumption or servitude of animals for human gain to slavery.[286] Animals are purchased from a breeder, used for personal gain—either for further breeding, or manual labor—and then discarded—most frequently as food. This capitalist use of animals for personal gain has held strong, despite the work of animal rights activists and ecofriendly feminists.

Similar notions that suggest animals—like fish, for example—feel less pain are brought forth today as a justification for animal cruelty.[286] The feminist side of the argument, however, suggests that there is no rationalization for treating animal lives with lesser reverence than human lives, even if the theory that animals are less capable of pain is verifiable.[citation needed]

Another connection between feminism and veganism is the parallel of violence against women or other minority members and the violence against animals. Animal rights activists closely relates animal cruelty to feminist issues. This connection is even further mirrored as animals that are used for breeding practices are compared to human trafficking victims and migrant sex workers.[287] Hamilton points out that violent “rapists sometimes exhibit behavior that seems to be patterned on the mutilation of animals” suggesting there is a trend between the violence towards rape victims and animal cruelty previously exhibited by the rapist.[287]

The violence connection is not limited to sexual acts, however. It is a common fact the prevalence of violence against animals are more defined in those with psychopathic disorders. This mirroring of violence against animals and violence against weaker animals lead the pioneers of feminist veganism to suggest that there is a correspondence between violence against humans and animals, supporting feminist veganism.

Capitalism and feminist veganismEdit

Another way that feminist veganism relates to feminist thoughts is through the capitalist means of the production itself. Carol J. Adams, mentions Barbara Noske talking about “meat eating as the ultimate capitalist product, because it takes so much to make the product, it uses up so many resources”.[288] The capitalization of resources for meat production is argued to be better used for production of other food products that have a less detrimental impact on the environment.


Vegan graffiti showing an Enclosed V in Lisbon, Portugal.

Multiple symbols have been developed to represent veganism. Several are used on consumer packaging, including the Vegan Society trademark and Vegan Action logo, to indicate products without animal-derived ingredients.[289][290] Various symbols may also be used by members of the vegan community to represent their identity and in the course of animal rights activism,[citation needed] for example a vegan flag.[291]


  1. ^ a b "[Al-Maʿarri's] diet was extremely frugal, consisting chiefly of lentils, with figs for sweet; and, very unusually for a Muslim, he was not only a vegetarian, but a vegan who abstained from meat, fish, dairy products, eggs, and honey, because he did not want to kill or hurt animals, or deprive them of their food."[1]
  2. ^ For veganism and animals as commodities:
    Helena Pedersen, Vasile Staescu (The Rise of Critical Animal Studies, 2014): "[W]e are vegan because we are ethically opposed to the notion that life (human or otherwise) can, or should, ever be rendered as a buyable or sellable commodity."[9]
    Gary Steiner (Animals and the Limits of Postmodernism, 2013): " ... ethical veganism, the principle that we ought as far as possible to eschew the use of animals as sources of food, labour, entertainment and the like ... [This means that animals] ... are entitled not to be eaten, used as forced field labor, experimented upon, killed for materials to make clothing and other commodities of use to human beings, or held captive as entertainment."[10]

    Gary Francione ("Animal Welfare, Happy Meat and Veganism as the Moral Baseline", 2012): "Ethical veganism is the personal rejection of the commodity status of nonhuman animals ..."[11]

  3. ^ Laura Wright (The Vegan Studies Project, 2015): "[The Vegan Society] definition simplifies the concept of veganism in that it assumes that all vegans choose to be vegan for ethical reasons, which may be the case for the majority, but there are other reasons, including health and religious mandates, people choose to be vegan. Veganism exists as a dietary and lifestyle choice with regard to what one consumes, but making this choice also constitutes participation in the identity category of 'vegan'."[12]
    Brenda Davis, Vesanto Melina (Becoming Vegan, 2013): "There are degrees of veganism. A pure vegetarian or dietary vegan is someone who consumes a vegan diet but doesn't lead a vegan lifestyle. Pure vegetarians may use animal products, support the use of animals in research, wear leather clothing, or have no objection to the exploitation of animals for entertainment. They are mostly motivated by personal health concerns rather than by ethical objections. Some may adopt a more vegan lifestyle as they are exposed to vegan philosophy."[13]
    Laura H. Kahn, Michael S. Bruner ("Politics on Your Plate", 2012): "A vegetarian is a person who abstains from eating NHA [non-human animal] flesh of any kind. A vegan goes further, abstaining from eating anything made from NHA. Thus, a vegan does not consume eggs and dairy foods. Going beyond dietary veganism, 'lifestyle' vegans also refrain from using leather, wool or any NHA-derived ingredient."[14]

    Vegetarian and vegan diets may be referred to as plant-based and vegan diets as entirely plant-based.[15]

  4. ^ Gary Francione (The Animal Rights Debate, 2010): "Although veganism may represent a matter of diet or lifestyle for some, ethical veganism is a profound moral and political commitment to abolition on the individual level and extends not only to matters of food but also to the wearing or using of animal products."[16]

    This terminology is controversial within the vegan community. While some vegan leaders, such as Karen Dawn, endorse efforts to avoid animal consumption for any reason, others, including Francione, believe that veganism must be part of an holistic ethical and political movement in order to support animal liberation. Accordingly, the latter group rejects the label "dietary vegan", referring instead to "pure vegetarians" or followers of a "plant-based" diet.[17]

  5. ^ American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (2009): "It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes."[20]
  6. ^ a b The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ernährung, 2016: "The DGE does not recommend a vegan diet for pregnant women, lactating women, infants, children or adolescents."[113]
  7. ^ Winston J. Craig (The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2009): "Vegan diets are usually higher in dietary fiber, magnesium, folic acid, vitamins C and E, iron, and phytochemicals, and they tend to be lower in calories, saturated fat and cholesterol, long-chain n–3 (omega-3) fatty acids, vitamin D, calcium, zinc, and vitamin B-12. ... A vegan diet appears to be useful for increasing the intake of protective nutrients and phytochemicals and for minimizing the intake of dietary factors implicated in several chronic diseases."[23]
  8. ^ Fanny Kemble (Journal of a Residence on a Georgian Plantation in 1838–1839, 1839): "The sight and smell of raw meat are especially odious to me, and I have often thought that if I had had to be my own cook, I should inevitably become a vegetarian, probably, indeed, return entirely to my green and salad days."[32]

    Another early use was by the editor of The Healthian, a journal published by Alcott House, in April 1942: "To tell a man, who is in the stocks for a given fault, that he cannot be so confined for such an offence, is ridiculous enough; but not more so than to tell a healthy vegetarian that his diet is very uncongenial with the wants of his nature, and contrary to reason."[33]

  9. ^ In 1838 William Alcott, Amos's cousin, published Vegetable Diet: As Sanctioned by Medical Men and By Experience in All Ages (1838).[50] The word vegetarian appears in the second edition but not the first.
  10. ^ Mahatma Gandhi, address to the Vegetarian Society, 20 November 1931): "I feel especially honoured to find on my right, Mr. Henry Salt. It was Mr. Salt's book 'A Plea for Vegetarianism’, which showed me why apart from a hereditary habit, and apart from my adherence to a vow administered to me by my mother, it was right to be a vegetarian. He showed me why it was a moral duty incumbent on vegetarians not to live upon fellow-animals. It is, therefore, a matter of additional pleasure to me that I find Mr. Salt in our midst."[52]
  11. ^ Mangels, Messina and Messina (The Dietitian's Guide to Vegetarian Diets, 2011): "Soy protein products typically have a protein digestibility corrected amino acid score (PDCAAS) ... >0.9, which is similar to that of meat and milk protein. Consequently, consuming the recommended dietary allowance (RDA, 0.8 mg/kg body weight [bw]), for protein entirely in the form of soy will meet the biologic requirement for amino acids. ... Formal recognition of the high quality of soy protein came in the form of a ruling by the USDA [United States Department of Agriculture] allowing soy protein to replace 100 percent of meat protein in the Federal School Lunch Program."[146]
  12. ^ Popular plant-milk brands include Dean Foods' Silk soy milk and almond milk, Blue Diamond's Almond Breeze, Taste the Dream's Almond Dream and Rice Dream, and Plamil Foods' Organic Soya and Alpro's Soya. Vegan ice-creams include Swedish Glace, Food Heaven, Tofutti, Turtle Mountain's So Delicious and Luna & Larry's Coconut Bliss.[151]
  13. ^ The RDA for B12 for adults (14+ years) is 2.4 micrograms (µg) a day, rising to 2.4 and 2.6 µg during pregnancy and lactation respectively. For infants and children, it is 0.4 µg for 0–6 months, 0.5 µg for 7–12 months, 0.9 µg for 1–3 years, 1.2 µg for 4–8 years, and 1.8 µg for 9–13 years.[175]
  14. ^ Reed Mangels (2006): "Vitamin B12 is needed for cell division and blood formation. Neither plants nor animals make vitamin B12. Bacteria are responsible for producing vitamin B12. Animals get their vitamin B12 from eating foods contaminated with vitamin B12 or from the bacteria present in their rumen and then the animal can become a source of vitamin B12 itself. Plant foods do not contain vitamin B12 except when they are contaminated by microorganisms or have vitamin B12 added to them. Thus, vegans need to look to fortified foods or supplements to get vitamin B12 in their diet."[177]
  15. ^ Roman Pawlak, et al. (Nutrition Reviews, 2013): "The main finding of this review is that vegetarians develop B12 depletion or deficiency regardless of demographic characteristics, place of residency, age, or type of vegetarian diet. Vegetarians should thus take preventive measures to ensure adequate intake of this vitamin, including regular consumption of supplements containing B12."[180]
  16. ^ Other sources of B12 cited are miso, edible seaweeds (arame, wakame and kombu), spirulina and rainwater. Barley malt syrup, shiitake mushrooms, parsley and sourdough bread have also been referenced, but may be sources of inactive B12.[185]
  17. ^ Red Star developed Vegetarian Support Formula as a nutritional supplement especially for vegetarians and vegans ... Two teaspoons of flakes or one teaspoon of powdered Vegetarian Support Formula provides one microgram of Vitamin B12 ..."[187]
  18. ^ Appleby et al. (European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2007): "We observed similar fracture rates among meat eaters, fish eaters and vegetarians. A 30% higher fracture rate among vegans compared with meat eaters was halved in magnitude by adjustment for energy and calcium intake and disappeared altogether when the analysis was restricted to subjects who consumed at least 525 mg/day calcium, a quantity equal to the UK EAR. ... In conclusion, fracture risk was similar for meat eaters, fish eaters and vegetarians in this study. The higher fracture risk among vegans appeared to be a consequence of their considerably lower mean calcium intake. Vegans, who do not consume dairy products, a major source of calcium in most diets, should ensure that they obtain adequate calcium from suitable sources such as almonds, sesame seeds, tahini (sesame paste), calcium-set tofu, calcium-fortified drinks and low-oxalate leafy green vegetables such as kale ..."[196]

    National Institutes of Health, 2013: "In the Oxford cohort of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition, bone fracture risk was similar in meat eaters, fish eaters and vegetarians, but higher in vegans, likely due to their lower mean calcium intake."[197]

  19. ^ Annabelle M. Smith (International Journal of Nursing Practice, 2006): "The findings gathered consistently support the hypothesis that vegans do have lower bone mineral density than their non-vegan counterparts. However, the evidence regarding calcium, Vitamin D and fracture incidence is inconclusive."[200]
  20. ^ "Position of the American Dietetic Association: Vegetarian diets", Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 109(7), July 2009, 1266–1282. Also see the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council[224] Dietitians of Canada,[225]
  21. ^ United States Department of Agriculture: "All foods made from meat, poultry, seafood, beans and peas, eggs, processed soy products, nuts, and seeds are considered part of the Protein Foods Group."[227]
  22. ^ Journal of the American Dietetic Association (2009): "Key nutrients in pregnancy include vitamin B-12, vitamin D, iron, and folate whereas key nutrients in lactation include vitamin B-12, vitamin D, calcium, and zinc. Diets of pregnant and lactating vegetarians should contain reliable sources of vitamin B-12 daily. Based on recommendations for pregnancy and lactation, if there is concern about vitamin D synthesis because of limited sunlight exposure, skin tone, season, or sunscreen use, pregnant and lactating women should use vitamin D supplements or vitamin D–fortified foods. No studies included in the evidence-analysis examined vitamin D status during vegetarian pregnancy. Iron supplements may be needed to prevent or treat iron-deficiency anemia, which is common in pregnancy. Women capable of becoming pregnant as well as women in the periconceptional period are advised to consume 400 μg folate daily from supplements, fortified foods, or both. Zinc and calcium needs can be met through food or supplement sources as identified in earlier sections on these nutrients."[231]
  23. ^ Gary Francione (2009): "We all believe it's wrong to inflict unnecessary suffering and death on animals. ... So now the next question becomes 'what do we mean by necessity?' Well, whatever it means, whatever abstract meaning it has, if it has any meaning whatsoever, its minimal meaning has to be that it's wrong to inflict suffering and death on animals for reasons of pleasure, amusement or convenience ... Problem is 99.9999999 percent of our animal use can only be justified by reasons of pleasure, amusement or convenience."[251]
  24. ^ United Nations Environment Programme (2010): "Impacts from agriculture are expected to increase substantially due to population growth, increasing consumption of animal products. Unlike fossil fuels, it is difficult to look for alternatives: people have to eat. A substantial reduction of impacts would only be possible with a substantial worldwide diet change, away from animal products."[279]:82


  1. ^ Geert Jan van Gelder, Gregor Schoeler, "Introduction", in Abu l-Ala al-Maarri, The Epistle of Forgiveness Or A Pardon to Enter the Garden, Volume 2, New York and London: New York University Press, 2016, xxvii.
  2. ^ Records of Buckinghamshire, Volume 3, BPC Letterpress, 1870, 68.
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External linksEdit

The Vegan Society