Encyclopedia of Food and Agricultural Ethics

Living Edition
| Editors: David M. Kaplan


  • Alejandra Mancilla
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-6167-4_578-1


Narrowly understood, veganism is the practice of excluding all animal products from one’s diet, with the exception of human milk. More broadly, veganism is not only a food ethics, but it encompasses all other areas of life. As defined by the Vegan Society when it became an established charity in the UK in 1979, veganism is best understood as “a philosophy and way of living 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; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment” (Vegan Society 2016b).

The Vegan Society was founded in 1944in Leicester by Donald Watson (1910–2005), his wife, Dorothy, and five other friends. But, like vegetarian principles, vegan principles have been around for much longer – for example, among adherents of Jainism who avoid doing any sort of harm to...


Moral Status Moral Ideal Nonhuman Animal Dietary Choice Vegan Diet 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for the Study of Mind in Nature (CSMN), Faculty of HumanitiesThe University of OsloOsloNorway