Veganism is a 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.
There are many ways to embrace vegan living. Yet one thing all vegans have in
common is a plant-based diet avoiding all animal foods such as meat (including
fish, shellfish and insects), dairy, eggs and honey -
as well as products like leather and any tested on animals.
Although the vegan diet was defined early on in The Vegan Society's beginnings
in 1944, it was as late as 1949 before Leslie J Cross pointed out that the
society lacked a definition of veganism. He suggested “[t]he principle of the
emancipation of animals from exploitation by man”. This is later clarified as
“to seek an end to the use of animals by man for food, commodities, work,
hunting, vivisection, and by all other uses involving exploitation of animal
life by man”.
When The Vegan Society became a registered charity in 1979, the Memorandum and
Articles of Association updated the definition of “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."
To read more on the history of veganism,
So what do vegans eat?
A great deal - you'll soon find a whole new world of exciting foods and flavours
opening up to you. A vegan diet is richly diverse and comprises all kinds of
fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains, seeds, beans and pulses - all of which can be
prepared in endless combinations that will ensure you're never bored. From curry
to cake, pasties to pizzas, all your favourite things can be suitable for a
vegan diet if they're made with plant-based ingredients.