Statement from the CEO

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» Statement from the CEO

There has been some disruption on our Facebook page this week, and we have received a few complaints which we are taking very seriously. Firstly, I would like to make a full apology to all of our supporters for any offence or confusion. We have been listening to your concerns, and would like to address a few quick points.

Who are the Facebook admins?

In light of recent activity on Facebook, our senior management team will be reviewing our social media policy as a matter of urgency. We would like to reassure our supporters that steps will be taken effective immediately to ensure that those commenting on Facebook on behalf of The Vegan Society do so in a respectful and friendly manner at all times. 

Please bear with us during what has been an extremely busy year for the society. Staff here often work around the clock to meet tight deadlines, and everyone makes mistakes from time to time.

Following best practice used in charities, we are monitoring and evaluating the outcome and impact of all our work, including our social media pages, and we will be incorporating any lessons learned for the future.

Is The Vegan Society really telling people that they “don’t have to be vegan”?

No, this isn’t quite what we’re saying. In everything that we do, The Vegan Society promotes veganism as a way of life 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.

We are aware that there has been some misinformation going around about the Love Vegan campaign and we are monitoring this closely – particularly, the slogan of the campaign has sometimes been partially quoted or taken out of context.

The full slogans of the Love Vegan campaign so far are as follows:

  • “You don’t have to be vegan to love vegan lipstick.”
  • “You don’t have to be vegan to love vegan trainers.”
  • “You don’t have to be vegan to love vegan ice-cream.”

We know that we need to be inclusive and non-judgemental if we are going to encourage and support large numbers of people to go vegan and stay vegan.

By vegan, we mean vegan, as defined by our founding members 70 years ago this year. We have never and nor will we ever campaign for so-called ‘part-time veganism’ as a permanent lifestyle, but only as part of an exciting journey towards 100% veganism. We know from experience that it makes the whole concept more accessible to everyone – and I’m sure you’ll agree that every step towards veganism, however small, makes a difference.

Why are people saying that The Vegan Society has “sold out”?

The Vegan Society is the world’s oldest and largest vegan society. Our founding members invented the word ‘vegan’ in 1944, and we remain as true to our core values today as ever. We are here to support vegans – this is part of our mission, but we won’t be able to provide this support if we can’t raise the funds to sustain our charity in the long-term.

As we receive no government funding, the vast majority of our income is generated by our Vegan Trademark registration scheme. Having more vegan products registered with the Vegan Trademark achieves three things: it gives people more confidence when shopping for vegan products, it shows companies and retailers that the vegan market share is growing, and it funds The Vegan Society’s charitable work. Every penny we make from the Vegan Trademark is used to fund the charitable work that we do as a society. Simply put, there wouldn’t be a Vegan Society without the Vegan Trademark.

We don’t feel that this is in any way selling out. On the contrary, due to the popularity of our Vegan Trademark scheme, it is now easier than ever to shop as a vegan, and more and more people are being introduced to veganism through great products.

Why are animals listed at number five?

The subheadings on our ‘Why Vegan?’ page of our website are deliberately not numbered, but we understand some of the concerns raised about this page. The new website is still being developed, and we know that some of the pages still need revising.

Reducing animal suffering is a driving force behind many people’s motivations for becoming vegan, and is key to our work at The Vegan Society; respect for life is one of our core values. On the homepage of our website, a banner with the strapline, “A voice for animals” is featured, and it has been there in this very prominent place since day one. Even so, based on your feedback, the information about being vegan for the animals will be made more prominent on other pages of the website.

Thank you for your support

Lastly, I’d like to thank you for supporting us. As always, we are open to any practical and positive suggestions relating to our work as a charity, and welcome polite and constructive dialogue on our Facebook page.

We accept that we need to make sure our communication is equally respectful, and as stated above, steps will be taken effective immediately to ensure that those commenting on Facebook on behalf of The Vegan Society do so in a respectful and friendly manner at all times. 

The Vegan Society's mission is to make veganism mainstream. We want veganism to be an easily-adopted and widely-recognised approach to reducing animal and human suffering and environmental damage. And we very much value your support to achieve this.

Let us be united in being the best vegan advocates we can be.

Jasmijn de Boo

CEO, The Vegan Society

July 2014 

If you have any further questions or comments, these need to be put in writing to the office so that your point can be seen by the necessary people and properly addressed. Email info[at]vegansociety[dot]com or write to us at Donald Watson House, 21 Hylton Street, Birmingham, B18 6HJ.