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 1988[1] and 2005[2])
George Rodger
Key people
Donald Watson
Slogan Promoting ways of living free from animal products for the benefit of people, animals and the environment.
Sunflower symbol for the labelling of vegan products
The sunflower symbol is a symbol to companies for the labelling of vegan products.
Effective region United Kingdom
Effective since [citation needed]
Product category Symbol to companies for the labelling of vegan products
Legal status Recognized by the consumers

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.[3]

Watson coined the word "vegan" to stand for "non-dairy vegetarians" who also ate no eggs.[3] The founding of the Society is celebrated annually on World Vegan Day, which was established in 1994 by Louise Wallis the President and Chair.[4]

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."[5]


  • 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.[6][7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Debra Blake Weisenthal, Powers in the Western world. How do they match up to one other?. Vegetarian Times, December 1988, pp25. Seen on 10 March 2015
  2. ^ Obituary: Donald Watson 18 November 2005 BBC
  3. ^ a b "Interview with Donald Watson", Vegetarians in Paradise, August 11, 2004.
  4. ^
  5. ^ Who we are - The Vegan Society
  6. ^ Kathleen Jannaway 1915-2003: A Life Well Lived Harry Mather & Malcolm Horne., Vegan Views 96 (Spring 2003)
  7. ^ The Vegan Society's obituary of Kathleen Jannaway

See also[edit]

External links[edit]