Is being vegan only about not eating anything that comes from animals?
According to the Vegan Society (an organization founded in 1944 that originally coined the term), veganism represents a philosophy and way of living that seeks to exclude all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, other animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, other animals and the environment. (Read more here: https://www.vegansociety.com/sites/default/files/CompassionForAnimalsedited.pdf)
There are three different ways to be vegan.
1. Ethical Veganism
For ethical vegans, this lifestyle means more than just eating a diet free of meat and animal by-products. It is motivated by a concern for animal welfare and includes the following principles and beliefs:
- Respect for all life
- Animals should not be exploited in any way
- Animals should not be commoditized
- All life has intrinsic value and killing is not justified
- Sentient beings have a right to life and should not be bred just to be killed
2. Environmental Veganism
Others are choosing to go vegan for environmental reasons. Modern farming practices are drastically different from the meat-producing industry of the past. In fact, industrial farming is now a major contributor to climate change. And our modern ways are disrupting the Earth’s ecosystems and the balance that is necessary to sustain animal and plant life. That’s why many people are choosing to go vegan! The benefits of environmental veganism include:
- Reducing animal greenhouse gas emissions
- Reducing the amount of land cleared for animal grazing
- Reducing the amount of water used for animal production
- Reducing the amount of waste produced by animals that often makes waterways contaminated
- Restoring rain forests and other natural habits
3. Dietary Veganism
The statistics are in and dietary veganism is definitely on the rise all across the globe. Many are even saying that plant-based eating will be one of the next big consumer trends. One of the main reasons people are cutting out animal-based proteins is because of health. Vegan or not, it is common knowledge that a plant-based diet is good for you, and even the world’s largest organization of nutrition professionals, The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, says that vegetarian and vegan diets are healthy and help prevent and treat chronic diseases.
But health isn’t the only motivation for some vegans. Dietary veganism is also about human rights and global food supply. How does a plant-based diet solve hunger and malnutrition? If the same land we use for animal grazing and to support meat-producers was instead used to produce plants and grains, we would be able to feed millions of more people.
So What Is Vegan Fashion?
Vegan brands abstain from using any animal parts or by-products in their materials and production. These brands are truly cruelty-free, going way beyond the common definition which only refers to not testing on animals! Vegan fashion brands never use leather, wool, silk, cashmere or any form of hide, skin or bone. Instead, they use many alternative materials, such as cork, recycled rubber, and even tree bark and apple fibers!
When it comes to vegan fashion, the following terms are helpful to know:
Organizations, Certifications and Logos
The easiest way to know if a brand it vegan is to look for these certifications or logos.
PETA-Approved Vegan Logo
The “PETA-Approved Vegan” logo allows companies that sell apparel, accessories, furniture, or home decor to highlight their vegan offerings, helping consumers find animal-free products at a glance and make purchases that align with their values. The PAV logo can be placed on tags and labels and on webpages of products made with all-vegan materials. Companies that sell only vegan products can even display the logo on store signs, website homepages, social media platforms, and elsewhere to let customers know that they can shop there without worry, never having to question if any animals were killed or harmed for the products being sold.
Vegan Society Trademark
In 1944 The Vegan Society created the word 'vegan' - our Trademark is the authentic international vegan standard. Today, products must pass the following criteria to be eligible for registration.
- Animals: The Vegan Society understands the word ‘animal’ to refer to the entire animal kingdom, that is all vertebrates and all multi cellular invertebrates. The word may be used either as a noun or an adjective and to refer to either a species or an individual animal, depending on context. Unless otherwise stated, it usually means non-human animals.
- Animal ingredients: The manufacture and/or development of the product, and where applicable its ingredients, must not involve, or have involved, the use of any animal product, by-product or derivative.
- Animal testing: The development and/or manufacture of the product, and where applicable its ingredients, must not involve, or have involved, testing of any sort on animals conducted at the initiative of the company or on its behalf, or by parties over whom the company has effective control.
- Genetically Modified Organisms: The development and/or production of genetically modified organisms (GMO) must not have involved animal genes or animal-derived substances. Products put forward for registration which contain or may contain any GMOs must be labelled as such.
- Kitchen and hygiene standards: Dishes that are to be labelled vegan must be prepared separately from non-vegan dishes. As a minimum surfaces and utensils must be thoroughly washed prior to being used for vegan cooking. We strongly recommend that a separate set of utensils be procured for this purpose. Be aware of the risk of cross-contamination from non-vegan sources in your kitchen and take all reasonable practical steps to eliminate this.
A dedicated and experienced team check each individual product application against the criteria, and query any potential inclusion of animal ingredients, including those not present in the final product. Working with manufacturers, audits for products at high-risk of cross contamination with animal ingredients are carried out to give vegan consumers further reassurance. We renew the registration of each product annually to ensure information is accurate and up to date.
Expertise Vegan Europe/Label Eve Vegan
The EVE VEGAN logo identifies vegan products and is an effective tool to promote and identify animal-friendly products. This label is above all a transparency marker that attests the control of the product or service by an independent third party. Any product labelled E.V.E. VEGAN must meet the following requirements:
- Formulation: Product free of any substance of animal origin.
- Production: Manufacturing, processing that did not involve technical agents of animal origin.
- Cross-contamination: Product that has been prepared, transported, cleaned or stored using facilities or instruments that have not been in contact with products of animal origin.
- Animal testing: Product not tested on animals
- Packaging: Packaging of the product (primary and secondary) free of any substance of animal origin.
- Distribution: The conditions of transport of the product exempt animal traction. Export prohibited to countries that require testing of the product on animals for market entry.
- Other E.V.E. conditions: The product complies with the list of other E.V.E. criteria.
Certified Vegan Logo
The Certified Vegan Logo is a registered trademark, similar in nature to the kosher mark, for products that do not contain animal products or by products and that have not been tested on animals. The certified logo is easily visible to consumers interested in vegan products and helps vegans to shop without constantly consulting ingredient lists. It also helps companies recognize a growing vegan market, as well as bringing the word Vegan—and the lifestyle it represents—into the mainstream. The Certified Vegan Logo is administered by the Vegan Awareness Foundation (official name of Vegan Action), a 501(c)3 non profit organization dedicated to educating the public about veganism and assisting vegan-friendly businesses.