‘Vegan’: Recent word, ancient ideas

British Psychological Society
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Psychologist, 2021, 34, (1), pp. 38-39
Issue Date:
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Despite lots of historically negative media coverage, interest in veganism appears to be growing at a rapid pace. The number of people in the UK who identify as vegan quadrupled between 2014 and 2018, and across the pond in the USA, the number of self-identified vegans increased 600 per cent between 2013 and 2017. On a global level, Google Trends data show a steady rise in relative frequency of ‘vegan’ search queries since 2012. From Pret a Manger to Wagamama and even Burger King and McDonalds, major chains have rapidly expanded their vegan options, and high profile films like The Game Changers are credited with motivating many people to give plant-based diets a go. But what is veganism, exactly? In 1944, a group of people in the UK proposed the word ‘vegan’ to describe a diet that excluded meat, fish, dairy and eggs. In 1988, the UK Vegan Society further defined veganism as ‘a 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’.
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