The Vegan Society

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The Vegan Society
Founded 1944
Founder Donald Watson
Type Non-governmental organization
Focus Veganism
Area served
United Kingdom
Method Information, support
4,000 (in 2005)[1]
Slogan Promoting ways of living free from animal products for the benefit of people, animals and the environment.

The Vegan Society is a registered charity and the oldest vegan society in the world, founded on 1 November 1944, in the UK by Donald Watson, Elsie "Sally" Shrigley, and 23 others.[2]

Watson coined the word "vegan" to stand for "non-dairy vegetarians" who also ate no eggs.[2] The founding of the Society is celebrated annually on World Vegan Day, which was established in 1994 by Louise Wallis the President and Chair.[3]

The Society now defines veganism as "...a way of living that seeks to exclude, as far as possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing and any other purpose."[4]


  • Information – website, leaflets, books, videos
  • Support – network of local contacts
  • Licenses its trademarked Sunflower symbol to companies – for the labelling of vegan products
  • Publishes The Vegan – a quarterly magazine sent free to members
  • Publishes the Animal-Free Shopper – a list of vegan items available in the UK (updated every two years or so)

Movement for Compassionate Living[edit]

A breakaway group from The Vegan Society, the Movement for Compassionate Living, was founded in 1984 by the former Vegan Society Secretary Kathleen Jannaway.[5][6]


External links[edit]