Veganism is not just a dietary choice. It extends to the whole spectrum of everyday life and is a whole philosophy of life based on nonviolence.
Veganism – or strict vegetarianism – though it has been around for more than half a century, has only emerged in recent years thanks to activism in Greek gastronomic affairs. Its main difference from other eating habits is that it has an ideological background. His followers embrace the philosophy of non-violence against animals. So they exclude from their table not only white and red meat but also any food produced by animals or even insects. Which automatically means rejecting dairy, eggs, honey, etc. At this point they are different from vegetarians as they feed on animal derivatives.
More general philosophy
Veganism as a philosophy is not limited to food but to the whole spectrum of everyday life as it excludes the use of clothes made of animals (eg leather, fur etc.), products for which animals were tested (eg cosmetics) but also products whose production involves either violence against animals (eg palm oil) or their exploitation.
The first vegans
The oldest organization is the Vegan Society and was founded in November 1944 in Birmingham by Donald Watson, Elsie “Sally” Shrigley and 23 others. Watson coined the term “vegan” by keeping the first three and last two letters of the word “vegetarian.”
In 1994, the president of the Vegan Society Louise Wallis, wishing to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the organization, held the first World Vegan Day on November 1st. Not knowing the exact day, the organization was founded, she chose the 1st of the month to coincide with American Halloween and Mexican Day of the Dead. Since then, November 1st has been established as World Vegan Day and is celebrated in various cities around the world.
Veganism and statistics
• In Greece, 0.8% of the population declares to be vegan according to a RES-EIA report. That translates to about 80,000 people.
• The majority of Greek vegans are aged 10 to 25 years.
• Significant vegan communities exist in Israel (15% of the population), Poland (7%), Great Britain (7%) and Germany (6%) while trends are steadily increasing.
• Worldwide, more than 50 million vegans are young people.
• In 2018, globally, vegans almost doubled as 94% increase.
• In the US over the past 4 years, vegan consumers have increased by 600%. In 2014, only 1% of Americans said they were vegan. In 2017 the figure rose to 6%.
• In the UK, the increase in vegans compared to 10 years ago is 350% according to a survey by the Vegan Society in collaboration with Vegan Life magazine. And the percentage of the vegan population, according to an even more recent survey, is 7%.
• Portugal has seen a 400% increase in vegans over the last 10 years.
• In China, with the encouragement of the government, the goal is to reduce meat consumption by 50%. Research shows that between 2015 and 2020 the country’s vegetarian market will grow by 17%. In Hong Kong, the share is already at 22%.