The Vegan Society

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The Vegan Society
Founded November 1944; 72 years ago (1944-11)
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 in 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

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. ^ "Health | Obituary: Donald Watson". BBC News. 2005-11-18. Retrieved 2016-01-07. 
  3. ^ a b "Vegetarians in Paradise/Donald Watson/Vegan Society/24 Carrot Vegetarian Award". 2004-08-11. Retrieved 2016-01-07. 
  4. ^ "A Cruelty Free Vegan-Friendly Rock N' Roll Website". Save A Scream. Retrieved 2016-01-07. 
  5. ^ [1] Archived July 23, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ "Vegan Views 96 - Kathleen Jannaway 1915-2003: A Life Well Lived". 2003-01-26. Retrieved 2016-01-07. 
  7. ^ [2] Archived March 5, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.

External links[edit]