Vegan Australia campaigns
On this page we discuss campaigns that Vegan Australia plans to
initiate or participate in.
Goals of the campaigns
The vision of Vegan Australia is to create a world where animals
live free of human exploitation. The best way to help animals and to
create this world is to promote veganism and so the aim of each campaign is
to move towards the goal of a vegan world.
Each campaign will progress towards the following long-term goals:
- Veganism is considered by most people as being normal, appealing
- People understand and accept the ethical basis of veganism.
- People view a vegan diet as at least as healthy as a non-vegan
- Eating and living vegan is easy and there are no real or perceived
barriers to becoming vegan.
Types of campaigns
These campaigns fall into these broad categories:
- lobbying for recognition and support by government bodies and
other institutions for veganism, by making representations and
submissions calling for pro-vegan policies in food, health,
environment, agriculture, animal rights, etc.
- campaigning through the media by responding to current issues
relevant to veganism as well as promoting other Vegan Australia
- public education campaigns
- participation in and response to campaigns initiated by other groups
Practical guidance for the campaigns
The campaigns support the principles of Vegan Australia as
presented in the Vegan Australia Vision document.
Applying these principles in practice means that each campaign is:
- Strongly vegan. Each campaign will either specifically
promote a 100% vegan world or promote a sub-goal of that end
- Explicitly vegan. In each campaign the word 'vegan' will be used
whenever possible in printed and online material. Campaigns will not hide
the word because it will 'put people off'. The words
'veg', 'veg*n', etc will not be used. The word 'vegetarian' will
only be used when referring to non-vegan ovo/lacto diets.
- Positive about veganism. Campaigns will give clear, accurate
and balanced information on how to become vegan.
- Based on a compassion for animals. The best way to show
compassion for animals is to become vegan and to help others
become vegan. Although we demand the rights of people to have
access to healthy vegan food and access to education about their
diet that is unbiased from the dairy and meat industries, we
note that each step towards a vegan world is a step towards a world
where animals live free of exploitation.
- Outward looking. There will be no infighting and no criticism
of any other vegan, vegetarian or animal groups. Energy is better
spent promoting veganism to the general public.
Examples of campaigns
Opportunities for public comment to government bodies on matters
relating to veganism arise fairly regularly and Vegan Australia will
be primed to respond to each of these with expert, logical submissions.
Below are some of these opportunities.
- National Food Plan submission
In 2011, the national government requested submissions about the
future of food in Australia. Many organisations responded to this
request, including the usual suspects such as big agri-business
and the supermarket chains. However there were some very positive
submissions from non-government organisations, such as the Fred
Hollows Foundation. They called for subsidies for food in remote
areas and mention only fruits and vegetables as specific examples.
A submission on a National
Food Plan on behalf of Vegan Australia was prepared by Jane Daly,
Vegan Society NSW. It called for the transition to a sustainable,
compassionate vegan diet to be a priority for Australian food policy.
Some of the recommendations in the submission were:
- to improve the health of Australians and lower the burden on the
health system by reducing the incidence of dietary related
- to use Australia's land resources more effectively and sustainably.
- to end the use of animal agriculture systems within the next 20
years by building up and supporting Australia's fruit,
vegetable and grain producers.
Note that this submission did not call for half measures. It called
for the government to set targets for the reduction and eventual
elimination of the production of animal products. This is an
ambitious goal, but it is worth stating this clearly so that people
become used to the idea. A vegan world is the goal of Vegan Australia
and the more this is said, the more quickly it will come about.
- Submission to the draft Australian Dietary Guidelines
The Australian government issues guidelines for healthy eating, known
as the Australian Dietary
Guidelines. These guidelines form the basis for a wide range of
decisions made by health professionals, policy makers and food
manufacturers. There were a number of serious problems with this
draft so a submission on behalf of Vegan Australia was prepared by
Jane Daly, Vegan Society NSW, in February 2012.
The submission called for the guidelines to include consideration of
the wellbeing and rights of animals and not to discriminate against
the great number of Australians who for animal rights, environmental,
health, religious and other reasons, have already adopted plant-based
diets. The submission also called for recognition that humans do not
need to consume any animal products to be healthy and are able to live
a healthy life on a vegan diet. This is the position of the
of Nutrition and Dietetics which issues dietary guidelines in the
The draft also contained misleading and untrue statements about
vegetarian and vegan diets. The draft appears to have been unduly
influenced by the meat, dairy and other animal industries and the research
used to support the draft is biased. If the final version of the guidelines
still appears to be unduly influenced by the animal industries, then
Vegan Australia may use legal means to challenge the result.
Pro-bono legal representation may be sought to proceed this issue.
- Independent Review into Australia's Livestock Export Trade
No pro-vegan submission was made to the recent
Australia's Livestock Export Trade. The closing date has passed,
so this was a missed opportunity. But this review is a good example
of why vegans need a strong consistent voice in this arena. Of the
eight submissions to the review which mentioned the words vegan or
vegetarian, seven presented incorrect information or negative
stereotypes of vegans and veganism.
- National Government Preventative Health Taskforce submissions
Again, no pro-vegan submission was made to this important enquiry.
The taskforce received over 400 submissions following the release of
its discussion paper
healthiest country by 2020. Only one submission mentioned the
- Review of food labelling laws
An Australian and New Zealand
Food Labelling Review
was held in 2010 which called for submissions from the public. In its
submission, the Australian Greens Victoria Animals Working Group said
that food labels should "clearly state when a food contains any animal
or animal derivative". Submissions are now closed, but Vegan
Australian could have added weight to this demand by making its own
These campaigns can be carried out by making submissions to enquiries,
by producing reports and making them widely known and by
communications with appropriate bodies by email or letter including
direct contact with government ministers and heads of departments.
- Equitable access to vegan food
Many Australians do not have easy access to healthy foods and
so Vegan Australia will lobby governments to ensure all
Australians have equal access to affordable and adequate fresh
fruits and vegetables and other plant foods irrespective of
income, including those living in regional and remote communities.
- Health authorities to educate the public about vegan diet
Vegan Australia will lobby health and medical authorities to
educate the Australian public about the health benefits of
vegan diets and to support people in adopting vegan diets.
Official dietary advice should reflect a sustainable balanced
vegan diet e.g. PCRM's Power Plate. They should also
implement behaviour change campaigns to facilitate a rapid
transition to a sustainable and compassionate vegan diet.
- Shift subsidies from animal production
Animal production industries in Australia receive millions of
dollars of tax funded government subsidies. Vegan Australia will
lobby governments to remove these subsidies and to assist the
farming industry to move towards stock-free, plant-based farming.
The full realistic cost of meat and other animal products should be passed
on to consumers, such as in Japan, where meat is not subsidised and
yet health levels are high. Vegan Australia will research all
ways that governments support and promote the production and
consumption of animal products and devise ways to influence these.
- Ban advertising of processed food and animal products
Vegan Australia will campaign against advertising of
processed food and animal products, starting with a ban on
such advertising to children. Also ban advertising for highly
greenhouse gas intensive foods. This campaign could learn much
from the campaign against tobacco advertisements in the recent
past. In the short term Vegan Australia may make complaints to
the Advertising Standards
Bureau and similar bodies about factual inaccuracies, such
as this complaint
about untrue claims in milk advertising.
- Remove discrimination against vegans in health institutions and prisons
For people in institutions and those who are unable to supply
their own meals, obtaining nutritious vegan food can be very
difficult. Vegan Australia will campaign against the
discrimination that vegans face in hospitals, nursing homes, prisons,
schools, colleges and other public institutions and work towards
better and more nutritious vegan catering in all institutions.
- Vegan food available at government funded functions
Vegan Australia will lobby all levels of government to mandate
quality vegan food to be available at all government sponsored
functions where food is served. This may begin with a campaign
for local councils to adopt a pro-vegan food policy for
- Healthy vegan school lunches
Vegan Australia will lobby schools and education departments
for healthy vegan school lunches to be available to children.
- Government to set targets to eliminate animal production
In appropriate submissions, Vegan Australia will lobby
governments to set targets for the reduction and eventual
elimination of the production of animal products on ethical and
- Government to set targets to eliminate animal consumption
Vegan Australia will lobby health and medical authorities to
commit to targets for the reduction and eventual elimination of
the consumption of animal products on health and disease risk
- Catering education
Vegan Australia will lobby educational institutions to
include adequate instruction on catering for vegans in
catering courses in schools and colleges.
- Professional health courses to include vegan nutrition
The level of nutritional training, including vegan nutrition,
in many profession health courses is very low. This is especially
true in university medical schools.
Vegan Australia will lobby educational institutions to
include adequate instruction on vegan nutrition in health
courses, including medicine, nutrition, dietetics and other
complementary and alternative medicine courses.
on vegetarian diets
the American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada say:
"Dietetics professionals have a responsibility to support and encourage
those who express an interest in consuming a vegetarian diet. They
can play key roles in educating vegetarian clients about food sources
of specific nutrients, food purchase and preparation, and any dietary
modifications that may be necessary to meet individual needs."
- Legal definition of the word 'vegan'
In 2010, the European Parliament made 'vegan' a legally protected
term as part of new consumer food information regulations. This
means that, at least in Europe, veganism has now been given
official recognition. Vegan Australia will lobby for a legal
definition of the word 'vegan' for food labelling in Australia.
Food manufacturers would then be legally bound to meet certain
standards if they describe their products as vegan.
- Mandatory vegan nutrition labels
Vegan Australia will lobby for mandatory vegan information on
nutrition information labels. This information will include
whether products contain animal ingredients or if they were tested
on non-human animals.
- Vegan question in the census
Vegan Australia will request dietary preference questions be
added to the census to address the knowledge gap in numbers
and trends in uptake of vegan diets.
- Vegan/organic methods of agriculture
Vegan Australia will request that the organic food industry use
vegan methods of agriculture and label and promote products
grown this way.
- CSIRO and other research bodies to study stock-free farming
The shift to a 100% vegan diet will mean that animal manure
will not be available as a fertiliser. This can not simply be
replaced with synthetic fertilisers, due to the high energy
costs in manufacture of nitrogen fertilisers and the limited
supply of some other fertilisers.
Sustainable and secure agriculture will need to find efficient
nitrogen and returning other nutrients to
the soil. Stock-free rotation methods have great potential to
enable this. Some demonstrations of these techniques exist,
showing that it can be commercially and environmentally
viable. However these methods need more development effort if
we are to achieve a sustainable and secure food supply for
Vegan Australia will call on the CSIRO and university and other
research centres to urgently research the most resource
effective stock-free farming techniques that also minimise
greenhouse gas emissions. A shift to stock-free farming will
benefit farmers, Australian residents and undernourished
In addition, Vegan Australia may carry out its own research
into planning for a vegan agricultural system. This would
investigate the effect of a vegan world on the environment as well
as on the economy and jobs.
- Assist animal farmers to convert to plant farming
Cases of animal farmers realising the innate cruelty of keeping
farmed animals are increasing. Howard Lyman and Ian Brothers are
two examples. Vegan Australia will offer a service to animal
farmers who are considering leaving the industry, giving them
options and support.
- Campaign for restaurants to offer vegan meals
To help veganism become more mainstream, vegan food must become
more widely available. Good quality vegan items should be
available in all places where food is sold.
In this campaign, Vegan Australia will contact all restaurants,
including major restaurant chains, and encourage them to add
several quality vegan dishes to their standard menu, or even have
a separate vegan menu.
Some progress is being made with negotiations with a national restaurant
chain to add quality vegan meals to their menu. The beginning of a
case for vegan menu options in non-vegan restaurants was created out
- Lobby political parties to adopt vegan policies
Vegan Australia will lobby political parties and give them
suggestions for policies leading to a vegan world. Examples of
suggested policies can be found in the
of the Vegan Society (UK).
- International aid to be vegan where possible
Vegan Australia will contact government aid agencies and NGOs
and request they only support sustainable stock-free vegan
agriculture and vegan diets in their international development
projects except in parts of the world where this may be impossible
due to local circumstances.
- School education to cover animal rights and veganism
Vegan Australia will lobby the state education departments or
the Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority
(chairman Barry McGaw) requesting they include in the curriculum
consideration of different ethical approaches to human-nonhuman
animal relations, including veganism and rights-based approaches.
Also included in the curriculum should be honest education about
the consequences for nonhuman animal well-being involved in the
production of meat, fish, eggs, dairy foods and other animal
products. The curriculum should ensure that basic vegan food
literacy and skills education is available in all schools in
- Retailers to stock vegan products
Vegan Australia will work with retailers to increase the variety
and distribution of vegan products.
- Campaign for reductions in greenhouse gas intensity of foods
Vegan Australia will lobby government to introduce a maximum
greenhouse gas intensity of foods, with products in excess of
the standard to be removed from sale and to introduce taxes on
the sale of the remaining greenhouse intensive foods.
- Animal production recognised in carbon tax
Vegan Australia will lobby government to include agriculture in
greenhouse gas emission schemes. This would have the effect of
penalising the animal industries for excessive production of
- Vegan organisations should be given charity status
The Australian tax law allows gifts to registered charities to be
tax deductible. Currently organisations which mainly promote
veganism and all its benefits, such as Vegan Australia, are not
eligible (that is, they can not be registered as a Deductible Gift
Recipient). Vegan Australia will lobby for a change to the tax
law to allow this. If successful, it would open up the
possibility of receiving more funds from individuals and
charitable foundations to carry out its work of promoting
- Research the marketing techniques of the animal industries
Analyse the marketing campaigns of the meat, dairy and other
animal industries which aim to normalise consumption of animal
products. In particular examine those campaigns targeted at
children and look at ways these can be effectively countered.
- Ban commercial campaigning in schools by animal industries
Schools should be a place where children learn the skills of
thinking for themselves and critically examining the world around
them. The intrusion of corporate interests into schools has
become more widespread in recent years and the meat, dairy and
other animal industries have taken advantage of this to unduly
influence young minds. Vegan Australia will lobby to remove all
commercial campaigning and sponsorship from schools.
Campaign through the media
By responding to current issues relevant to veganism and liaising with
the media via press releases and statements, Vegan Australia will
raise awareness within the media of vegan issues. Vegan Australia
will access experts in various fields to speak to the media as issues
arise. Our aim is to become known by the media as a reliable source.
We will build a media rapid-response capacity, both in identifying
relevant issues and in responding to them in detail.
Public vegan education campaigns
These campaigns can be carried out by direct promotion to the
general public through advertising, social media, traditional
media, websites, etc.
- Educate the general public about the benefits of veganism
Vegan Australia swill mount public education campaigns to bring
the vegan message to the general public around Australia. These
will counter the propaganda of the animal products industries, the
conservative health/medicine bodies and environment agencies and
try to normalise the public view of veganism.
They will inform people about what veganism is, the benefits of
veganism, its ethical basis and why it is a minimum standard of
decency. They will
- increase the public's awareness of animal rights
- show the positive health aspects of veganism
- show the impact on the environment of animal agriculture
- describe how to go vegan in a way that is easy,
nutritious, delicious and fulfilling
These vegan publicity campaigns could appear
- on the Internet, making good use of social and other media
(as does GetUp)
- as hardcopy materials (pamphlets, videos, etc) for
distribution though stalls and other groups
- on billboards
- on radio or TV
- in newspapers
- Work directly with schools and youth
Vegan Australia will provide services to schools for vegan
education. This may include creating or sourcing materials
(printed, video or interactive) for use in vegan education. It
may also encourage student involvement by events such as a
student vegan essay competition. Other youth outreach work
may be possible.
- Animal abusers don't stop at animals
Vegan Australia will publicise studies showing that people
who directly abuse animals often move on later to abusing
other humans, including child abuse, abuse of women and other
violence. An example campaign is
PCRM's letter of complaint about school dissection.
- Direct education of health professionals
Vegan Australia will create vegan nutrition educational material
and distribute to all doctor's surgeries, nutritionists and other
- Operate or support a Vegan Pledge scheme with mentoring
Similar to the Vegan Society (UK) Vegan Pledge, Animal Liberation
Victoria's Vegan Easy Challenge and the ARZone Vegan Buddies
Programme, Vegan Australia will offer new vegans or those
curious about veganism the opportunity to receive guided support
in their transition to veganism and also the support of a mentor.
Alternatively, Vegan Australia will support and publicise the
Working with other groups
Vegan Australia will present a strongly vegan message which would
work in well with the campaigns of animal groups (whether vegan or
not). It will do this in two ways. First, it will encourage people
who have been affected by a specific animal campaign to expand
their understanding to include all animals. Second, the stronger
vegan position held by Vegan Australia may make other organisations
appear more mainstream and hence more acceptable to the public.
Single issue and animal welfare campaigns
The vision of Vegan Australia is a world where the use of animals by
humans has been abolished. To this end it will concentrate on the
promotion of veganism and will not initiate single issue animal
welfare campaigns. There are many other groups actively campaigning
on single issues. When appropriate, Vegan Australia will use these
campaigns to extend the reach of the campaign towards veganism.
Vegan Australia will appeal to members of the public who support a
particular single issue campaign and suggest to them that their
concern should be extended to all animals and all animal use. While
Vegan Australia does not advocate for any "improvements" to animal use
practices, it will not participate in criticism of animal groups who
do campaign for welfare reforms. It will use opportunities where the
public's interest has been awakened to a particular cruel practice to
encourage the public to look further, into questioning all animal use.
It will use topical single issue campaigns as a launching point for vegan
education. In this way Vegan Australia will complement the work of
How to determine if a campaign should be supported
A campaign should be supported only if the demands of the campaign
would be valid in a 100% vegan world. For example, campaigning for
research into a vegan agricultural system, vegan food in hospitals
and restaurants, good nutrition information - these
are all campaigns that should be supported. Campaigns calling for
free range chickens, animals to be killed in Australia rather than
overseas, eating cheese or eggs (vegetarianism), bigger cages, group
housing for sows, breeding sheep who do not need mulesing - these are
examples where the demands of the campaign would not make sense in a
100% vegan world.
Working with other vegan/vegetarian groups
An example of a campaign Vegan Australia would not initiate but could
use to extend the reach of the campaign towards veganism, is the
well-known "Meat Free Monday" campaign.
Even though in a 100% vegan world every day would be a "Meat Free" day,
this campaign demands too little. It does not use "Meat Free Monday"
as a stepping stone to veganism, but as an end in itself. Also, it
has an implicit message that going vegan is very difficult and that
"baby steps" are a way forward. Vegan Australia will only promote
clear direct steps for becoming vegan and hence will use its resources to
initiate or support this sort of campaign, such as the
30 Day Vegan Easy Challenge.
In short, campaigns which call for any form of animal use or
consumption will not be supported.
The range of campaigns that Vegan Australia could be involved is very
wide. In the beginning, there may not be enough resources to cover
all of these campaigns (and all the other campaigns that will become
apparent in the future). Vegan Australia will have to decide which
campaigns will have the most impact and direct its resources
It is worth repeating that, although the direct aim of all these
campaigns is to improve the environment for the acceptance of veganism
in Australia, the indirect, and more important, aim is to bring about:
"a world in which people treat other animals respectfully, ensure
justice for them and enable them to live their life free of human
exploitation, use and ownership".