Reading Time: 2 minutes Ronnie Lee is a founding member of the Anima Liberation Front (Photo: Ronnie Lee)
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Two animal rights activists are calling for a new definition of veganism to be implemented across the board.

Animal Liberation Front (ALF) Founder Ronnie Lee and campaigner Tony Harris created the new definition – which includes a moral imperative to educate others about animal exploitation – at the end of 2017.

Speaking about the definition at this weekend’s Vegan Camp Out event, Harris said: “I didn’t think the Vegan Flag organization would take it but they did – straight away actually. I’d like to think The Vegan Society will too.”

‘Moral duty to educate’

The current definition of veganism set out by The Vegan Society says: “Veganism is 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.”

The definition created by Lee and Harris goes further, saying: “Veganism is a way of living that seeks to exclude all forms of exploitation of non-human animals, which extends beyond dietary considerations to the avoidance of all forms of animal abuse, including harm to their natural habitats.

“It includes a moral duty to actively oppose all forms of animal exploitation and to encourage and educate others to become vegan, with the core aim being the eradication of speciesism.”

Too much?

But some people feel the definition could be too exclusive, an attendee of Lee’s talk at Vegan Camp Out told Plant Based News that she felt telling people they have to be pro-active could put them off.

“I have been to live export protests, and some other actions, but that was after being vegan for a while,” she said. “I might have felt intimidated if that was sort of ‘expected’ from me from day one.

“Also, it’s not always possible because of financial, health, transport, or other reasons to get involved with activism, depending on what that means. There are times when all I can do is online – but also other times when I need to take a break from that too.”

Core meaning of veganism

The Vegan Society spokesperson – Dominika Piasecka – told PBN: “The founding members of The Vegan Society coined the word ‘vegan’ back in 1944 and agreed its definition. 

“The core meaning of veganism has remained the same for the last 74 years and we have no plans to change the definition as we feel it perfectly reflects what the vegan lifestyle is about.

 If we restrict the meaning of a word too much, we run into the danger of excluding thousands of people from being able to use it, which would in turn make them unable to inspire others to adopt what they may now perceive as difficult to attain.”

Plant Based News Recommends:

Maria Chiorando

Maria is a news and features writer for Plant Based News. As a former magazine editor, newspaper reporter, and features writer, her work has been published by The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and various regional newspapers, as well as Vegan Life magazine and Vegan Trade Journal. She has interviewed a huge range of people, from Prime Ministers to authors, activists, pop stars and actors, and enjoys the varied range of topics writing for PBN allows her to tackle. She was previously the editor of Plant Based News for over 3 years.