Answers to some common questions
If you're looking for answers to common queries surrounding our Vegan Trademark, please click here.
Where can I find vegan food/find vegan eateries?
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. This list of items in vegan-friendly supermarkets may help, as well as our shopping article. You can also check out vegan Facebook groups in your country such as Vegan (Supermarket finds) UK for interesting products, or use My Vegan Supermarket. You can also use our Trademark search to find more options, while having a look through our lifestyle section may help too.
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 other farming methods which currently cause many 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 animals.
How do I know if a coconut or coconut-containing product has been picked by monkeys, not humans?
It was bought to our attention in early 2016 that monkeys may be being used to harvest coconuts in South East Asian countries. Since then we have been conducting research and contacting suppliers. The majority of coconut suppliers we have spoken to confirm that humans with long sticks or machinery are used in the harvesting process in these regions. Rarely do they know of any cases that animals are used. If you want to be sure, look for the Vegan Trademark: all Vegan Trademark holders that use coconut have been checked by us to make sure monkeys are not being exploited. Only then can their products be registered as vegan.
How can I train to be an expert in plant-based nutrition?
One option is to train to be a dietitian, which is a title regulated by the Health and Care Professions Council. Dietitians are health professionals. Their training teaches them about food, healthy eating, and providing diet therapy to people who are unwell. If you are interested in providing advice about food and healthy eating, you could look into training to be a nutritionist. This title is regulated on a voluntary basis by the Association for Nutrition. This document by the British Dietetic Association provides more information. Once you have registered as a dietitian or nutritionist, you can choose to specialise in plant-based nutrition.
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. Our focus is veganism and helping people, from all walks of life, go vegan and stay vegan. We make use of an intersectional approach which respects human rights, as well as non-human animal rights. Intersectionality encourages us to think about different ways of living and therefore understand other people, and what they need to go vegan and stay vegan, better. Considering intersectionality can make us a better organisation to work for and a more effective organisation in promoting veganism.
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.
What is The Vegan Society’s response to recent media coverage about vegan activism?
There have been some recent reports in the national and regional media about vegan activists allegedly making death threats to farmers; at least one of these allegations has subsequently been retracted.
The Vegan Society aims to be an effective and efficient organisation which from a foundation of solid evidence empowers a movement to change the world. The Vegan Society’s messages cover the full spectrum of the benefits of veganism for people, animals and the planet. Keeping in mind our target audiences, our communications are increasingly aimed at reaching, informing and inspiring non-vegans, and focused on achieving changes in institutional policy and practice. We are making veganism an easily adopted and widely recognised approach to reducing animal and human suffering and environmental damage by means of meaningful, peaceful and factual dialogue with individuals, organisations and companies.
Vegan activists witnessing the unnecessary suffering and slaughter of animals for food naturally find the experience very distressing. They are also sometimes themselves the victims of threats and abuse while they are peacefully campaigning for the rights of animals. The Vegan Society itself experiences offensive posts on its social media every week. We are also aware that some of these threats and online abuse are being made by trolls who are not vegan and have no concern either for farmers or for vegan lifestyle or beliefs.
The Vegan Society does not encourage any illegal activity, threats of violence or any abusive behaviour or language towards anyone and we encourage vegan activists to share their messages peacefully and as positively as possible.
Vegans rely on farmers for food and we want to work with farmers to see an end to animal agriculture as a whole and a transition to a more sustainable, healthier and compassionate farming system. To that end The Vegan Society promotes campaigns such as Grow Green to help farmers to transition to plant-based agriculture.
How can I get my post shared by you?
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. More information can be found here.
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.
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.
Can you recommend a vegan vet?
Vegan vets are still relatively sparsely distributed. The key is finding a sympathetic vet – they can find or formulate a species-suitable nutritious diet, which it may be possible to make plant-based. More information on vegan animal diets is found here.
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/meringues?
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 Great Britain?
In 2016 The Vegan Society in partnership with Vegan Life Magazine commissioned research that found that there were over half a million vegans in Great Britain: three and a half times as many as estimated in 2006.
At least 542,000 people in Britain are now following a vegan diet and never consume any animal products including meat, fish, milk, cheese, eggs and honey. This is a whopping increase since the last estimate of 150,000 ten years ago.
The study, carried out by leading researchers Ipsos MORI, surveyed almost 10,000 people aged 15 or over across England, Scotland and Wales – the biggest ever poll quantifying the vegan community. For more information, read the full article.
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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