Proposal for a new national vegan organisation
The intended audience for this proposal is vegan, vegetarian, animal, environment and social justice organisations, businesses and individuals.
The Vegan Society NSW is proposing the formation of a new national vegan organisation. We believe that by working at a national level we can more effectively support the vegan community, inspire the public to adopt veganism and, importantly, present a strong voice for veganism to governments, institutions, corporations and the media.
The name proposed for the organisation is "Vegan Australia". The organisation will be more than just a social group for like-minded people. Rather, the name represents an ethical and political statement about what we want - a vegan Australia (or a vegan world, but let's take one step at a time!). We are in the process of sending this proposal to organisations and individuals in Australia to garner support.
The planning is still in the early stages and everything is open for review. We ask for your feedback, comments and suggestions on this proposal. Please get back to us soon so we can begin to formally set up the organisation. Our email address is firstname.lastname@example.org .
The Vegan Society NSW has decided to put considerable resources into building the new organisation. We are now looking for feedback and support from other groups who are aligned with the new organisation's aims and objectives.
Currently there are no active organisations in Australia whose role is to campaign nationally for veganism. There are two national organisations, The Vegan Society of Australia and The Australian Vegan Association, but these are not active at present.
There are also some state based vegan organisations, such as Vegan Melbourne, Vegans Unite, Adelaide Vegans and Vegan Tasmania, as well as several state based vegetarian organisations which promote veganism and/or vegetarianism. Finally there are many animal welfare and animal rights organisations, some of which promote veganism as part of their advocacy.
Vegan Australia will be able to work in cooperation with all these other organisations but will provide a strongly vegan perspective.
In forming the new organisation we must be aware of the difficulty of overcoming the "tyranny of distance" in Australia and so we must ensure that organisations and individuals from all parts of the country are involved.
The founding principles of the organisation
The founding principles of the organisation are set out in the draft Vegan Australia Vision Statement. The vision given in that document is:
What would the new organisation do?
The list of activities Vegan Australia could initiate is very long. Below are some of the types of campaign we could be involved in. To begin with, a smaller number of these would need to be selected.
Structure of the organisation
It is proposed that Vegan Australia be a legally incorporated non-profit organisation managed democratically by its members. It will be independent of other organisations. This will allow all organisations to do what they do best and also be able to work together on campaigns when appropriate. Following are some other ideas about structuring the organisation:
What practical support are we asking for?
For Vegan Australia to take off nationally it needs people from all around the country to become active in the organisation in whatever way they can. Following are some suggestions:
Following is a suggested timeline for the creation of Vegan Australia:
Some background on the Vegan Society NSW
The Society was formed in 1981 and incorporated in 1998. It currently has about 250 paid members with 1500 on the events mailing list and 2000 on the Facebook page. At the last Sydney Vegan Expo there were about 80 volunteers. The committee currently numbers 10 with four regional representatives.
We hold dinners, lunches, parties, picnic, etc, twice a month, mainly in Sydney, but are now holding events in other parts of NSW. Other events include book launches, forums, stalls and the World Vegan Day Free Meatless BBQ. Our main event is the annual Sydney Vegan Expo, which saw about 2200 people come through the doors last year.
Recent campaigning activity has included a Society contingent at the Walk Against Warming rally, an application to Voiceless for a "Go Vegan" billboard campaign and the publication and distribution of a "Go vegan for ALL animals" pamphlet at the Ban Live Export rally.
We have appeared in the media, such as interviews in newspapers and on radio and promotional items for the Vegan Expo.
Recently there has been a movement to become even more involved in campaigning work to spread the vegan message to a broader audience.
The idea for an active national organisation had its origins when the Vegan Society NSW had saved up a little money and we wanted make use of it by doing a billboard advertising campaign to promote veganism on buses and in train stations. The idea was to "normalise" veganism, to make it more socially acceptable. We had some ideas about the design of the billboards, but we quickly realised that there is no point spending a lot of money on a billboard about veganism without a quality website to back it up. Our own website is not directed to non-vegans and so we looked around for a website which would appeal to non-vegans interested in the topic. We wanted the website to be explicitly vegan and to explain all the reasons to become vegan, the benefits of being vegan and also the "how" of becoming vegan. We also wanted the website to be relevant to Australia and useful for promoting veganism all over the country, not just in one state.
Although there are several good vegan sites overseas, we found that there were not many in existence in Australia. The Animals Australia WhyVeg site is good, but it is not explicitly vegan. The Vegan Easy site is also good, but this is linked to Animal Liberation Victoria and we were looking for a national website.
From here we realised that to have a truly national vegan website we needed a national vegan organisation to be behind it. Once we had the idea of a national vegan organisation we realised that it could do much more than just run advertising campaigns and a website. As well as encouraging individuals to make personal changes it could also campaign to governments and institutions to make policy changes as well. And it could also support vegans throughout Australia.
Hence the idea for Vegan Australia was born.
We are very excited about the possibility of having a focused, media-savvy organisation dedicated to getting the vegan message out there, for the sake of the animals, people and our planet. If you are interested in being involved in any way please contact Greg McFarlane at email@example.com .