Vegan interest in UK, Germany, Romania doubles

Google Trends reveals the dramatic growth in veganism is not confined to the UK and USA. Google reveals searches for vegan on Google have doubled since 2011 in the UK , Germany, Israel and Romania. The vegan diet trend is now officially a worldwide trending phenomenon.

Vegfest UK , celebrating their 10th anniversary this year, run a series of vegan festivals and exhibitions in the UK and have reported that traffic to their websites has trebled. The Bristol Vegfest in May is the finale to National Vegetarian Week and is expecting to be the biggest ever with 20,000 visitors this year to sample, taste, listen, watch and learn and then Dance to an incredible line-up of bands that includes Caravan Palace, The Happy Mondays, 808 state and the Farm

There are now only 2 or 3 spaces left to exhibit at the Bristol festival with the main marquee already sold out for some time.

Vegfest also report an unprecedented number of votes in their Vegfest UK National Awards at Olympia for which London, Brighton and Glasgow are battling for the title of best city. The awards will be presented by BBC Radio 2’s Janey Lee Grace, Channel 4 TV’s Dave Spikey and TV presenter Wendy Turner on October 5th.

Tim Barford Vegfest Director says “Our London exhibition at Olympia in October offers manufacturers and distributors a unique opportunity to target a very specific group of 10,000 people keen to find out more about more sustainable, healthy diets. It’s important that companies that sell ethical, meat free, dairy free, vegan products book their exhibition space for London Vegfest urgently as our other two shows sold out early. Most of the best corner sites are already booked. We have a comprehensive range of talks, films, cookery demos, workshops, live music, comedy and kids entertainment that’s honed to be the most attractive formula to attract visitors.”

Leading UK Nutritionist Yvonne Bishop-Weston has a list of exhibitors she’d like to see at Vegfest London. “I think there’s now enough delicious foods to sample to tempt anybody’s taste-buds. I’m talking about children’s health and nutrition and kid’s lunchboxes, so personally I’d like to see a few more exhibitors with eco-friendly BPA free drinks bottles and sandwich wrap mats. I’d also like to see some support from food manufacturers of healthy snacks, alternatives to salty crisps such as fruit crisps and a substitute for sugary cereal bars such as an omega 3 rich berry, chia seed and algae bar.”

Yvonne continues “I think the retail food industry is well aware of the vegan market trends although the Google statistics for the UK, Germany, Israel and Romania are still an eye opener. I think it’s the caterers and restaurants that need to play catch up and get up to speed. Chefs need to go to Vegfest UK London and get to grips with the fact that you can get a delicious vegan substitute for practically anything , even caviar, smoked salmon and dairy free camembert or blue cheese.”


Morrissey, BUAV help establish inquiry into animal cruelty at Imperial College London

Former The Smiths front-man, Morrissey has joined the BUAV call for an independent inquiry into disturbing evidence of animal suffering and poor practice revealed at an Imperial College London animal research laboratory.

Morrissey is the latest celebrity to call out failings at Imperial College London discovered by a recent BUAV undercover investigation. Former ICL student and Queen guitarist Dr Brian May was “shocked and saddened” by the revelations, and “ashamed that it could have taken place in the University of my own training.”

Brian May called for a fully independent inquiry in the hope that “this appalling cruelty will never be allowed to happen again”.

The BUAV investigator worked for seven months at Imperial College and documented a catalogue of shortcomings and wrongdoing by staff and researchers that caused even more distress and suffering to the animals in its care than was allowed in the experiments. Findings included: breaches in and lack of knowledge of UK Home Office project licences; a failure to provide adequate anaesthesia and pain relief; incompetence and neglect and highly disturbing methods used to kill animals.

The UK Government and research industry repeatedly claim that the UK has some of the highest welfare standards in the world for animals in laboratories, yet huge secrecy surrounds animal research. This BUAV investigation has shown the reality of animal welfare standards at one of the UK’s leading universities, with breaches of the regulatory regime and inappropriate licensing and enforcement by the Home Office.

Michelle Thew, Chief Executive of the BUAV stated: “We welcome the support from Morrissey on this important issue. Our investigation at Imperial College London raises significant and far reaching questions about animal research in the UK and it is crucial that a fully independent inquiry is carried out. Please support us by visiting to sign our petition.”


The Ethics of What We Eat

Local produce is always better, right? That has been the global consensus. No matter what, we should always support our local farmers and eat their products whenever we can. No matter what. Many live and die by this idea, forcing their way towards any local grower. The problem, Peter Singer and Jim Mason argue in their seminal work “The Ethics of What We Eat,” is that environmentally speaking, local is not always better. They give an example of how out of season tomatoes grown in a greenhouse use far more electricity that tomatoes grown in season elsewhere on the planet and shipped via barge to the supermarket.

Another example, in the heart of the “hippie green” movement in the United States – San Francisco – shows just how important this volume on food is if we are to become a truly ethical eater. The overall goal of the text is to give insight into what we eat and how we eat and the concepts behind those choices we make.

There are three stories that delve into this dramatically, each taking on three very distinct families and their dietary choices. From “meat and potatoes” in one family to the supposed “ethical eater” made popular by Michael Pollen to the ultimate cruelty-free eaters on the opposite side of the spectrum. Through the discussions with these families it becomes known why Americans are eating the way they are, money and access becoming major parts of the “average” household.

We know the numbers, and as vegans, in many ways, we are more educated than others on the ideas of food. It has become almost second-nature to be aware of our surroundings and the animals that are harmed throughout the food industrial complex. However, Singer and Mason are not overtly promoting the vegan diet, even if by the end it is clear that it appears to be the best choice. Instead, they react as skilled tacticians, discussing the ethical nature of numerous and entangled decisions that Americans are making toward their plates.

In many ways it is easy to argue this is a volume is even more important to the vegan society as a whole and animal rights than the monumental text “Animal Liberation” for the sole reason it develops the argument that cruelty-free is the likely outcome of evolutionary trends without being, as the meat-eaters so-often argue, “in your face.”

Mason and Singer eloquently detail how the choices we make on a daily basis are the culmination of the knowledge we have at the precise moment we choose to purchase a food product, meat or otherwise. They are sympathetic to the meat and potatoes family, but ultimately rule their diet is part of a growing problem facing many Americans: economics. Those struggling with work and children and the daily grind have limited options for a healthier lifestyle and thus resort to what they know.

In the end, this seminal volume should be part of any avid food connoisseur as it shows, with intricate details the insides of our food consumption and how it can be battled. We must, the authors argue, be willing to look at our choices and what we put on our dining room tables with open eyes in order to best understand and decide what is best for ourselves, our planet and our families. A must read.


Southern cooking vegan style! It can’t get any better than this and we hope that anyone who is in New Orleans or around the area come May 11 will seek this great event out. It should be a dandy.

The NOLA New Orleans Veggie Fest is a growing event that is “family friendly” and should help to get more and more southerners excited about a cruelty-free lifestyle. It is just so exciting to see more and more vegan inspired festivals taking place in historically anti-vegan locations. The south has been pushing towards a cruelty-free diet and with the southern inspiration, it should be fun and wholesome.

Here’s what NOLA says about their event:

“NOLA Veggie Fest is spearheading the vegan revolution in New Orleans – you can read about us, and the spreading trend of veganism within our community in this feature article on The festival is a project of the Humane Society of Louisiana, a locally operated non-profit charity leading the fight against cruelty to animals statewide. All festival proceeds go directly toward the Humane Society of Louisiana.

There’s so much to see and do at this fun, family friendly event, that “veggie festers” spend the entire day sampling products, patronizing food vendors, attending cooking demos, listening to speakers, watching informational films, hearing live music, and learning about the health benefits of a plant-based diet. Whether you’re interested in healthy eating, sustainable living, compassion for animals or, simply enjoying excellent cuisine made with locally grown organic fruits and veggies, then NOLA Veggie Fest is for you — we offer something for everyone and all are welcome: Vegans, vegetarians, omnivores and carnivores alike! Geaux Veg Ya’ll!


Gandhi: The moral basis for vegetarianism

Mohandas K. Gandhi was a rare soul. He was  man who stood for his beliefs through no matter what tribulations befell him. He was imprisoned for speaking of a free India. Unlike so many great thinkers of modern times, Gandhi is one of the rare individuals who transcends time and place. He, in so many ways, speaks for the world, the impoverished, the underprivileged and a better way of living based on an honest look inward.”As a searcher for Truth, I deem it necessary to find the perfect food for a man to keep body, mind and soul in a sound condition,” wrote Gandhi in “Diet and Diet Reform. He was a vegetarian and as today’s world continues to see the growth of the vegetarian and vegan community, it is an ideal time to read Gandhi’s own words on a vegetarian diet. He was a man who believed that food had a moral basis for our being, and while he lamented the fact he drank milk, we, by understanding Gandhi’s message, can remember that being vegetarian is courageous in a world fraught with meat, meat and more meat.

Speech delivered by Gandhi at a Social Meeting organised by the London Vegetarian Society, November 20, 1931:

Mr, Chairman, Fellow Vegetarians, and Friends, when I received the invitation to be present at this meeting, I need not tell you how pleased I was because it revived old memories and recollections of pleasant friendships formed with vegetarians. I feel especially honoured to find on my right, Mr. Henry Salt. It was Mr. Salt’s book ‘ A Plea for Vegetarianism’, which showed me why apart from a hereditary habit, and apart from my adherence to a vow administered to me by my mother, it was right to be a vegetarian. He showed me why it was a moral duty incumbent on vegetarians not to live upon fellow-animals. It is, therefore, a matter of additional pleasure to me that I find Mr. Salt in our midst.

I do not propose to take up your time by giving you my various experiences of vegetarianism nor do I want to tell you something of the great difficulty that faced me in London itself in remaining staunch to vegetarianism, but I would like to share with you some of the thoughts that have developed in me in connection with vegetarianism. Forty years ago I used to mix freely with vegetarians. There was at that time hardly a vegetarian restaurant in London that I had not visited. I made it a point, out of curiosity, and to study the possibilities of vegetarianism and vegetarian restaurants in London, to visit every one of them. Naturally, therefore, I came into close contact with many vegetarians. I found, at the tables, that largely the conversation turned upon food and disease. I found also that the vegetarians who were struggling to stick to their vegetarianism were finding it difficult from the health point of view.

I do not know whether, nowadays, you have those debates, but I used at that time to attend debates that were held between vegetarians and vegetarians and between vegetarians and non-vegetarians. I remember one such debate, between Dr. Densmore and the late Dr. T. R. Allinson. Then vegetarians had a habit of talking of nothing but food and nothing but disease. I feel that that is the worst way of going about the business. I notice also that it is those persons who become vegetarians because they are suffering from some disease or other – that is, from purely the health point of view – it is those persons who largely fall back. I discovered that for remaining staunch to vegetarianism a man requires a moral basis.

For me that was a great discovery in my search after truth. At an early age, in the course of my experiments, I found that a selfish basis would not serve the purpose of taking a man higher and higher along the paths of evolution. What was required. was an altruistic purpose. I found also that health was by no means the monopoly of vegetarians. I found many people having no bias one way or the other and that non-vegetarians were able to show, generally speaking, good health. I found also that several vegetarians found it impossible to remain vegetarians because they had made food a fetish and because they thought that by becoming vegetarians they could eat as much lentil, haricot, beans and cheese as they liked. Of course those people could not possibly keep their health.

Observing along these lines, I saw that a man should eat sparingly and now and then fast. No man or woman really ate sparingly or consumed just that quantity which the body requires and no more. We easily fall to prey to the temptations of the palate, and therefore when a thing tastes delicious we do not mind taking a morsel or two more. But you cannot keep health under those circumstances. Therefore I discovered that in order to keep health, no matter what you ate, it was necessary to cut down the quantity of your food, and reduce the number of meals. Become moderate; err on the side of less, rather than on the side of more. When I invite friends to share their meals with me I never press them to take anything except only what they require. On the contrary, I tell them not to take a thing if they do not want it.

What I want to bring to your notice is that vegetarians need to be tolerant if they want to convert others to vegetarianism. Adopt a little humility. We should appeal to the moral sense of the people who do not see eye to eye with us. If a vegetarian became ill, and a doctor prescribed beef tea, then I would not call him a vegetarian. A vegetarian is made of sterner stuff. Why? Because it is for the building of the spirit and not of the body. Man is more than meat. It is the spirit in man for which we are concerned. Therefore vegetarians should have that moral basis – that a man was not born a carnivorous animal, but born to live on the fruits and herbs that the earth grows. I know we must all err I would give up milk if I could, but I cannot. I have made that experiment times without number. I could not, after a serious illness, regain my strength, unless I went back to milk. That has been the tragedy of my life. But the basis of my vegetarianism is not physical, but moral. If anybody said that I should die if I did not take beef tea or mutton, even on medical advice, I would prefer death. That is the basis of my vegetarianism.

I would love to think that all of us who called ourselves vegetarians should have that basis. There were thousands of meat-eaters who did not stay meat-eaters. There must be a definite reason for our making that change in our lives, from our adopting habits and cus-toms different from society, even though sometimes that change may offend those nearest and dearest to us. Not for the world should you sacrifice a moral principle. Therefore the only basis for having a vegetarian society and proclaiming a vegetarian principle is, and must be, a moral one. I am not to tell you, as I see and wander about the world, that vegetarians, on the whole, enjoy much better health than meat-eaters. I belong to a country which is predominantly vegetarian by habit or necessity. Therefore I cannot testify that that shows much greater endurance, much greater courage, or much greater exemption from disease. Because it is a peculiar, personal thing. It requires obedience, and scrupulous obedience, to all the laws of hygiene.

Therefore, I think that what vegetarians should do is not to emphasise the physical consequences of vegetarianism, but to explore the moral consequences. While we have not yet forgotten that we share many things in common with the beast, we do not sufficiently realise there are certain things which differentiate us from the beast. Of course, we have vegetarians in the cow and the bull — which are better vegetarians than we are – but there is something much higher which calls us to vegetarianism. Therefore, I thought that, during the few minutes which I give myself the privilege of addressing you, I would just emphasise the moral basis of vegetarianism. And I would say that I have found from my own experience, and the experience of thousands of friends and companions, that they find satisfaction, so far as vegetarianism is concerned, from the moral basis they have chosen for sustaining vegetarianism. In conclusion, I thank you all for coming here and allowing me to see vegetarians face to face. I cannot say I used to meet you forty or forty-two years ago. I suppose the faces of the London Vegetarian Society have changed. There are very few members who, like Mr. Salt, can claim association with the Society extending over forty years.