Answers to some common questions
If you're looking for answers to common queries surrounding our Vegan Trademark, please click here.
Can you tell me if this product or ingredient is vegan?
If it doesn’t have our Vegan Trademark on it, the best thing is to contact the company: you'll receive the most up-to-date information and you’ll show demand for vegan-friendly products with clear, accurate labelling (a requirement by law). For more information check out our blog 'How to avoid buying non-vegan products'.
Is palm oil vegan?
In itself, palm oil is a vegetable product which does not need to involve the (ab)use of animals, and therefore is suitable for vegans. The palm oil and palm timber industries are rife with very bad practices. In the EU, palm oil used in food must now be labelled, but ingredients derived from palm oil in food and non-food products still do not have to be labelled. So it is not possible for consumers to 'boycott' palm products. Instead, ending the abuses of the palm tree (oil and timber) industries requires co-ordinated action by non-vegans and vegans, consumers and policymakers and industry etc., together.
Vegans should also be aware that due the fact that single-issue campaigns have focused solely on the negative effects of palm oil, other types of crop farming, which cause harm to many animals, are overlooked. The Vegan Society is working towards a world where animals are not (ab)used for human purposes. We encourage stock-free farming and alternatives to widespread crop clearance and the other farming methods which currently cause millions of animals to die every year. Unfortunately, it is not yet possible or practical for individual vegans to only support vegan farming. However, the consumption of plant-based crops such as wheat, barley, oil palm and soybeans causes far fewer animals to lose their lives than eating things taken directly from animals themselves.
Why does The Vegan Society not support single-issue campaigns?
We believe all animals have a right to life and freedom and deserve to be valued as individuals. Respect for life means an end to all animal (ab)use, not just rights for some. We focus on a pro-intersectional approach which upholds human rights, as well as non-human animal rights. To progress as a movement, we advocate recognition of the intersections of injustice. We seek to promote effective dialogue between anti-oppression movements so we can work together for social justice.
But would The Vegan Society share my petition on their social media even though it's single-issue, e.g. about saving the life of one animal?
The Vegan Society reviews all requests for content sharing individually. If the petition does not go against our values and encompasses a vegan message, and is time-critical, we may share it, dependent on other factors.
Why does The Vegan Society call some products 'vegan-friendly' and others 'vegan'?
Vegan products are products which carry our Vegan Trademark. 'Vegan-friendly' products have not been registered with the Vegan Trademark, but are said to be vegan by the manufacturer/company. However, The Vegan Society cannot guarantee that the latter products are vegan, as we have not checked them against our Vegan Trademark standards. If you encounter a product which appears to have vegan-friendly ingredients but you are unsure whether it has used animal products in its manufacturing or testing process at any point, why not ask the company to apply for our Vegan Trademark so you can be sure that what you're buying is vegan.
Why isn't honey suitable for vegans?
Bees produce honey for themselves, not for humans. They are often harmed in the honey gathering process. There are plenty of ways to protect insect populations, support crop pollination, conserve the environment and sweeten our food without farming bees or buying honey, propolis, beeswax or royal jelly. To replace honey in your diet try golden or maple syrup, date syrup, agave nectar or even dried fruits.
Are alcoholic drinks vegan?
Many are. If it doesn’t have our Vegan Trademark on it, the best thing is to contact the company. You could also try looking on www.barnivore.com. Many supermarkets are now labelling wine, beer and cider as vegan or not, so always check the labels. Check out our page on food and drink for more information.
Where can I buy vegan cheese?
Depending on where you live, vegan-friendly versions of cheese (and other foods) can be found in many large supermarkets, wholefood shops and online. There are many different brands to try so there's something for everyone.
Where can I buy other vegan products?
Vegan-friendly products are increasingly available in shops and online. Talk to local vegans, try a web search and have a look in the Free From aisle of your local supermarket. Check out vegan Facebook groups in your country such as Vegan (Supermarket finds) UK for interesting products. You can also use our Trademark search to find more options, while having a look through our lifestyle section may help too.
What about medicine?
Medicines prescribed by doctors are normally first tested on non-human animals. This is unavoidable under current laws. What you can do is ask your doctor for medicines that possibly don't contain animal ingredients. Medicines usually come with an information leaflet listing the ingredients. Ask your pharmacist for advice too.
What should I do if my medicine contains animal ingredients?
Talk to your doctor about your concerns: do not simply stop taking it. We live in a non-vegan world and you can do more to help change things for the better if you're in good health.
Can you advise me about my health conditions?
We cannot give personal health advice. If you have a health issue that may be related to diet, your family doctor can refer you to a registered dietitian, or you can search for an independent one.
Can you recommend a vegan doctor?
We do not keep a list of vegan doctors in the UK. Your GP should show the same respect to someone following a vegan diet as a person who follows a specific diet on religious or faith grounds. If your GP is unsympathetic, we recommend you get in touch with you local vegan group to see if they can suggest a better practice in your local area.
You can ask doctors and other health professionals to refer you to a registered dietitian where there is a health concern which may be related to diet. All UK-based registered dietitians should be trained in plant-based nutrition.
If you are in a position to do so, you can also see a registered dietitian privately for general advice. You can search here for those specialising in vegan diets, or located near to you.
Where does one obtain particular nutrients on a vegan diet?
Look at our nutrition and health section for general guidance on receiving all the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients you require, including protein, iron, calcium and Vitamins B12 and D.
Where can I find information on vegan diets for children?
Well-planned vegan diets are suitable for all ages. Find out more about vegan diets for children here.
What about information on vegan diets during pregnancy?
Read our fully referenced guide here.
How do I bake vegan cakes?
What about soya / soy?
Evidence suggests that soya is not a threat to our health and is in fact a reliable and healthy protein source. Vegans aren't required to eat soya and it's possible to enjoy a healthy, well-balanced diet without it. See our soya-free recipes for ideas.
Do plants feel pain?
There is no evidence that plants experience suffering.
Can vegan homes include non-human animals?
Many vegans share their homes with domesticated animals that cannot live independently. If you are looking for non-human companion, why not welcome a rescued animal from your local animal sanctuary into your home?
Can my dog/cat go vegan?
Generally speaking most dogs and cats can follow a vegan diet. There are several good brands of vegan animal food available across the world, and these can be ordered online or found in some vegan stores. Dogs and particularly cats need an amino acid called taurine, which must be present in their food as it is essential for their wellbeing. This amino acid is found in animal products: however, it is also synthetically created on a commercial scale and is added to good quality vegan animal foods. For more information, check out our blog.
Not all dogs and cats can move to a vegan diet. If your dog or cat is elderly, or unwell or has specific needs then we would always recommend following a qualified veterinarian's advice to ensure the best welfare for them.
Where can I meet other vegans?
Try local wholefood shops, vegan-friendly restaurants and online social networks. Also check out our list of nationwide Vegan Society Local and Group Contacts.
How many vegans are there in the UK?
The Vegan Society estimated in 2006 there were 150,000 vegans in the UK. Based on consumer trends and other data, we now believe this figure is likely to be a lot more.
I want to do something to promote veganism, what can I do?
Have a look at our 'Take Action' pages for ideas.
Can you publicise my vegan event?
If your event is vegan and not-for-profit, please submit details to us by email and we will consider it.
Can you send me leaflets to give out?
Find out how you can order leaflets on our leaflets page.
Can I start a vegan organisation?
Of course! You don’t need our permission to set up a vegan group.
Can I use your logo?
Our charity logo cannot be used by anyone but ourselves. Our trademark symbol can only be used by registered clients. Find out more about the use of Supporter and Partner logos here.
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