World Vegan Day on 1 November each year kicks off the annual World Vegan Month.
By Alfred Robert Hogan
Green TV (US) Correspondent
All of November 2023 is World Vegan Month, beginning with the 30th annual World Vegan Day, which was observed on Wednesday 1 November. The UK’s The Vegan Society, whose founding in November 1944 the month commemorates and celebrates, calls World Vegan Month “a time to shine a light on the vegan movement.” This year, the society will relaunch its “Vegan and Thriving” campaign.
One credible recent estimate pegs the number of by-choice vegans worldwide at 88 million, 1.1 percent out of the world human population of more than 8 billion. But the nonprofit Climate Healers campaign Vegan World 2026 ambitiously aims to zoom that percentage from 1 percent toward close to 100 percent, in just three years. This is in spite of massive government subsidies for animal agriculture and fishing and deluges of brainwashing by onslaughts of untrue corporate adverts, on television, in print, and online. (However, use of the search term “vegan” has increased on Google by 580 percent in the past five years.) Logic, ethics, and science all favor the outcome of a vegan world. The myriad “whys” to be vegan—for ethical reasons, for environmental reasons, for climate reasons, for human health reasons, for world hunger reasons, for world peace reasons—make an emphatic case to go vegan and stay vegan.
As the vegan animal rights group FARM, founded in 1981, put it, World Vegan Month is “a month of compassion and understanding of veganism…a time to recognize how far the vegan movement has come, to highlight how accessible and beneficial a vegan lifestyle is, and to encourage the veg-curious to adopt veganism by sharing advice, recipes, and ideas.”
Photo courtesy Catskill Animal Sanctuary
A lady visiting NY’s Catskill Animal Sanctuary befriends an adorable piglet.
While the word vegan was coined amid late World War II, in November 1944, by English pacifist and carpenter Donald Watson, and his sister and his future wife, the practice of neither consuming nor using any animal products to the maximum extent feasible dates back multiple millennia, to the ancient Indian subcontinent. Prominent smallpox-blinded poet-philosopher and atheist Abu al-Ala al-Ma’arri of Syria (December 973 CE-May 1057 CE) became vegan for life in his 30s. Other notable vegans later included Dr. William A. Allcott of Boston (August 1798-March 1859), who wrote the still-often-cited 1838 book The Vegetable Diet: As Sanctioned By Medical Men and By Experience in All Ages, and his cousin, education reformer, women’s rights advocate, and ethical vegan Amos Bronson Allcott (November 1799-March 1888), father of famed writer Louisa May Allcott (November 1832- March 1888). Current prominent vegans include Swedish ace young eco champion Greta Thunberg (born in January 2006), US Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), actors Alicia Silverstone, Joaquin Phoenix, Natalie Portman, Alexandra Paul, Woody Harrelsson, and Emily Deschanel, and singers Moby and Billie English, among myriad others.
World Vegan Day, with its 2023 theme “Celebrating for a Good Cause,” began as an idea initiated in 1994 by Louise Wallis, then Chair of the UK’s The Vegan Society. Reflecting back in 2011, Ms. Wallis said: "We knew the [Vegan] Society had been founded in November 1944, but didn’t know the exact date, so I decided to go for 1 November, partly because I liked the idea of this date coinciding with Samhain/Halloween and the Day of the Dead – traditional times for feasting and celebration, both apt and auspicious” (the exact day was lost to history, but it was in early November 1944). World Vegan Day soon expanded to World Vegan Week and then to World Vegan Month. (In addition, 2 November is World Dynamic Harmlessness Day, as well as the Anniversary Of Birth [AOB] of the late pro-ahimsa H. Jay Dinshah, founder in 1960 of the [US] American Vegan Society.)
In 2022, the UK’s Vegan Society used World Vegan Month to debut the Future Normal campaign, urging those not yet vegan to “make the connection between the farmed animals on their plates and the companion animals they care for.” Future Normal seeks to “show that all animals are worthy of our love and respect, regardless of their species.” Those not yet vegan can pledge to strive to go vegan for at least November, signing up for support via such free programs as Veganuary (even though it is not yet January) or Challenge 22. (World Vegan Month follows September’s US National Fruits & Veggies Month—begun by the Produce for Better Health Foundation, and October’s World Vegetarian Month—started in 1977 by the North American Vegetarian Society, which includes the 1 October World Vegetarian Day and the 2 October AOB of the late vegetarian Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi, marked as World Farmed Animals Day. And the annual UK-centric Veganuary campaign, begun in 2014, takes place each January.)
From the global ethical perspective, right now, each and every year, a staggering estimated 56 billion to 70 billion land animals are killed globally by land-based animal agriculture—and another jaw-dropping estimated 1 trillion to 3 trillion sea animals globally die from the fishing industry. Estimates vary, but by contrast, each vegan prevents the killing of about one animal per day.
Or take the environmental impacts of food choices. In the most thorough scientific analysis of how farming affects our planet, led by Oxford University (UK) lead researcher Joseph Poore and his team, and published in the prestigious peer-reviewed AAAS journal Science in June 2019, “plant-based food” was identified as being by far most effective at combatting climate change. As Mr. Poore told the UK newspaper The Guardian, a vegan diet is “the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet Earth…not just greenhouse gases, but global acidification, eutrophication, land use and water use…It is far bigger than cutting down on your flights or buying an electric car,” as those methods just reduce greenhouse gas emissions. “Agriculture is a sector that spans all the multitude of environmental problems. Really it is animal products that are responsible for so much of this.” Their detailed study examined the planetary impacts of agriculture, “from farm to fork,” looking at data gathered from about 40,000 farms in 119 countries, covering some 90 percent of foods consumed by humans.
Or take the human health impacts—as the venerable adage advises, “You are what you eat.” Simply put, consuming animal products significantly increase the risks of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, kidney disease, gout, and certain cancers.
Or take world hunger and how eating vegan is vastly more effective. Eating plant foods directly is much more efficient than feeding soybeans, corn, grains, and so on to animals that humans then in turn eat.
Image courtesy PETA
To the perennial question, “But where would I get my protein?!,” here above are some 11 sample answers.
Some areas and regions feature celebratory events, such as Veg Fests, as with this one below sponsored by the Maine Animal Coalition, featuring vegan journalist and historian Avery Yale Kamila, among others:
Image courtesy Maine Animal Coalition
This publicity artwork image for the Maine Veg Fest predates its one-week postponement because of the mass shooting tragedy in Lewiston ME.
Events worldwide include:
· In Boston MA, the Boston Vegetarian Society sponsored the annual Boston Vegetarian Food Festival, with thousands of attendees sampling free vegan food.
· In the DC suburb of Brentwood MD, the Mixt Food Hall hosted the free first-ever Vegan Curious Festival.
· In Portland ME, the 18th Annual Maine Veg Fest, with among others, vegan journalist-historian Avery Yale Camilla, creator of the Maine Veg History Project (delayed one week by Maine's mass shooting tragedy on Thursday 25 October).
· In Germany, several cities including the vegan-friendly capital, Berlin, held related vegan events.
Photo courtesy Invercargill Vegan Society
A lady offers free samples of vegan baked goods by a street poster about World Vegan Day 2012.
· In New Zealand, the world’s southernmost vegan group, the Invercargill Vegan Society in Invercargill, on South Island NZ, has celebrated WVD since 2011.] For World Vegan Day 2012, for instance, members provided tofu to butchers, put posters around their city (see above photo), gave free vegan muffins in the city center, and held a potluck dinner.
· In Australia, Adelaide has marked WVD since 2007, Melbourne since 2013, and// Sydney since 2016
Online, from Friday 10 November to Sunday 12 November, the first-ever Veganic Summit is set, showing how to grow food without any animal products, such as manure, and featuring international experts in veganic farming and gardening.
As the UK’s The Vegan Society wrote back in 2014, reflecting on their 70th anniversary, “The profile of veganism is on the rise; the diet now being presented – on the whole – as something aspirational and healthy. This was a sudden change for the mainstream media, who had previously often portrayed vegans and vegan diets negatively. By the end of 2013, every national newspaper in the UK had run articles on the vegan diet and BBC Radio 4’s prestigious Food Programme had broadcast a programme entitled The New Vegans. The Vegan Society was suddenly being asked to comment on relevant issues where once we would not have been contacted.”
However, even in 2023, there is still a long way to go. The No. 1 climate crisis will no doubt motivate lots more people to become vegan curious and then to become and stay vegan.
Online articles and Web sites:
· Dr. Sailesh Rao, Vegan World 2026: The Moonshot of Our Generation, ClimateHealers.org https://climatehealers.org/blog/vegan-world-2026-the-moonshot-of-our-generation/
· Dr. Sailesh Rao, “Animal Agriculture Is The Leading Cause Of Climate Change,” Journal of Ecological Society, November 2019 https://climatehealers.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/JES-Rao.pdf
· “Get Involved: World Vegan Month,” The Vegan Society (UK), 2023 www.vegansociety.com/get-involved/world-vegan-month
· “Plate Up for the Planet,” The Vegan Society (UK) https://www.plateupfortheplanet.org
· + “Celebrate World Vegan Month: Kicking off with World Vegan Day on 1 November, find out what celebrations we have in store!,” The Vegan Society (UK), Wednesday 1 November 2023 www.vegansociety.com/news/blog/celebrate-world-vegan-month-november
· Sophie Hirsch, “How to Celebrate World Vegan Month,” Green Matters, Tuesday 31 October 2023, www.greenmatters.com/food/world-vegan-day-month
· Jemima Webber, “ENVIRONMENT/INNOVATION—Eating Vegan Is The Most Effective Way To Combat Climate Change, Says Largest-Ever Food Production Analysis”, Live Kindly, Sunday 19 May 2019 https://www.livekindly.com/eating-vegan-is-the-most-effective-way-to-combat-climate-change-says-largest-ever-food-production-analysis/#:~:text=According%20to%20the%20most%20comprehensive%20analysis%20of%20farming%E2%80%99s,way%20to%20reduce%20your%20impact%20on%20planet%20Earth.%E2%80%9D
· Joseph Poore (Oxford University UK) and Thomas Nemecke, “Research Article-Reducing food’s environmental impacts through producers and consumers,” Science (AAAS) Friday 1 June 2018 www.oxfordmartin.ox.ac.uk/publications/reducing-foods-environmental-impacts-through-producers-and-consumers/ and Science Journals — AAAS (josephpoore.com)
· Margarita Ustimenko Sachkova, PETA UK senior digital marketing manager, and Reece Mander, personal trainer, guests, “THE WAR ON MEAT/Warning labels to be added to meat? Vegan and meat-lover spark debate on World Vegan Day,” GB News (UK cable TV channel’), Wednesday 1 November 2023
· Saima Andrabi, “World Vegan Day 2023: Date, Theme, History, Significance & Quotes on Vegan Diet/World Vegan Day 2023 falls on 1 November every year, a day after Halloween. History, significance, and more.,” The Quint (online), Wednesday 1 November 2023 www.thequint.com/fit/world-vegan-day-2023-date-theme-history-significance-quotes-on-vegan-diet#read-more
· Steve McLaughlin, “World Vegan Day: How having a plant-based diet is a climate change solution,” WTVJ/NBC 6 South Florida/Miami (online piece), Wednesday 1 November 2023 www.msn.com/en-us/health/nutrition/world-vegan-day-how-having-a-plant-based-diet-is-a-climate-change-solution/ar-AA1jeWhj
· Vegan Curious Festival, Brentwood MD USA, 2023 www.mixtfoodhall.com/vegcurious
· Lora Jones/BBC Business Reporter, “Veganism: Why are vegan diets on the rise?,” BBC (online), Thursday 2 January 2020 www.bbc.com/news/business-44488051
· “Environmental Impact of the Poultry Industry,” Saturday 29 July 2023 www.upc-online.org/environment/
· “Try Vegan This Month,” Veganuary, 2014-2023, https://veganuary.com/en-us/veganuary.com/en-us/
· Andrew Walsey and Alexandra Heal, “Revealed: US-style industrial farms receive millions in subsidies/The Guardian and Bureau of Investigative Journalism establish that intensive farms in the UK received nearly £70m in two years,”The Guardian (UK), Friday 28 December 2018 www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/dec/28/revealed-industrial-scale-farms-receive-millions-in-subsidies
· Andrew Krosofsky, “Factory Farming Isn't Just Bad for Animals and the Environment, It's Bad for Us/The world relies heavily on factory farming to feed its ever-growing population, but how does the factory farm industry affect the environment?, Green Matters, Thursday 30 September 2021 www.greenmatters.com/p/factory-farming-affect-environment
· Future Normal Campaign Research Briefing, The Vegan Society (UK) Tuesday 6 October 2020 https://www.vegansociety.com/get-involved/research/research-news/research-briefing-developing-future-normal
· 70 Years of Vegan History, The Vegan Society (UK), 2014 www.vegansociety.com/sites/default/files/uploads/Ripened%20by%20human%20determination.pdf
Screenshot by Alfred Robert Hogan courtesy of FARM Vegan Videos Web site
This carefully curated smorgasbord of some 4,000 videos--and growing--offers a rich source of vegan information for viewers.
· FARM Vegan Videos (free massive compilation of some 4,000 videos organized in all sorts of categories) www.veganvideos.com
· Claire Ogley of The Vegan Society in North London and Gareth Wyn Jones, a meat-eating milk-drinking nonhuman animal farmer in North Wales, guests, “MEAT WARNING LABELS/CIGARETTE STYLE WARNING LABELS COULD REDUCE MEAT CONSUMPTION,” TALK TV (UK cable TV channel), Wednesday 1 November 2023 https://video.search.yahoo.com/yhs/search;_ylt=AwrigXvu20xlAyMIlSIPxQt.;_ylu=Y29sbwNiZjEEcG9zAzEEdnRpZAMEc2VjA3BpdnM-?p=MEAT+WARNING+LABELS%2FCIGARETTE+STYLE+WARNING+LABELS+COULD+REDUCE+MEAT+CONSUMPTION%2C”+TALK+TV&type=fc_A30C76C6185_s58_g_e_d100122_n1010_c999¶m1=7¶m2=eJw1y00KgzAQBeCrzNKCxBkTY8VjdFXERaqpBqMRf7D09B1Ly2y%2B9x7TubYq69udEKVUsorriTMhIbP9EilNOTQciqJguZmZK1FoQRkJkufc2cDtvjJ3wxrD23lvkkwgRIeb2nCsMG1AKLAELrQq4aXVBcw8e3vYx%2BC2JJO5kBqiod9GH4N3g4XONkO4QNMvYbQJYS7wPFjN0yzu%2F2Lb7reRoqtI9QdN3T8X&hsimp=yhs-2212&hspart=fc&ei=UTF-8&fr=yhs-fc-2212#id=5&vid=74a02a0ee9cde62ea6dc6c0ca793674f&action=view
· “What If The Whole World Went Vegan?,” host Chuck Carroll interviews PCRM founder Dr. Neal D. Barnard, PCRM EXAM ROOM (online video podcast), Friday 19 April 2019 www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3WBys6zIo4
· “We Fight Climate Change With Diet Change.” 30-second-long PSA, EarthDay.org Tuesday 21 April 2020 www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ve0-R_PntbY
· Lora Jones/BBC Business Reporter, “Veganism: Why are vegan diets on the rise?,” BBC News, Thursday 2 January 2020 www.bbc.com/news/business-44488051
· Environmental Benefits of Veganism,” TEDx Talk, Christian Hextrum, Cardinal Newman High School (Santa Rosa CA), Wednesday 10 February 2016 https:// www.youtube.com/watch?v=2bvoJAfjWMM
· Earthling Ed Winters (UK), “Slaughterhouse workers confess on camera -- Nowhere to Run - World Vegan Day Short Documentary,” Wednesday 1 November 2023 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sWyK389BJoI
· “Plant-Based Climate Summit,” PCRM, Thursday 1 April 2021 www.youtube.com/watch?v=dxzSfiFz3fo
· “How does your diet affect the planet?,” UN Climate Change: Learn, short video, Thursday 25 April 2019 www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Rufgoy9R2U
· “How could veganism change the world?,” The Economist, Tuesday 27 November 2018 www.youtube.com/watch?v=hwoL6hWd4l0
· “What If Everyone in the World Went Vegan?,” What If, Wednesday 25 July 2018 www.youtube.com/watch?v=gsM_CAEURKo
· Earthling Ed Winters (UK), “Veganism could save the planet. Here's why.,” Friday 28 May 2021 www.youtube.com/watch?v=QnrtRaM28cY&t=1s
Veganic Summit 2023 https://veganicsummit.com
Online groups with free Vegan Starter Kits:
· Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) www.pcrm.org/veganstarterkit
· A Well-Fed World “Climate-Friendly Food Guide” https://awellfedworld.org/climatefoodguide
· Mercy for Animals https://chooseveg.com/hev/
· People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) https://how-to-go-vegan.peta.org
· Veganuary Try Vegan for the Month https://veganuary.com/en-us/
· Vegetarian Resource Group https://www.vrg.org/nutshell/
· VeGuide from UK’s The Vegan Society (cellular telephone “app”) www.vegansociety.com/go-vegan/veguide