The history of veganism

The History of Veganism, According to BeanSprout

The history of where veganism started and how it became so popular

To better understand the history of veganism and where came from, it’s best to explore what exactly veganism is. 

To be brief, practicing veganism means an individual abstains from the consumption and use of animal products.

Commonly in an individual’s diet (ie not eating/drinking anything that is produced by an animal or the animal itself). However it also lends itself to other areas as well, some surrounding the exploitation of animals


Just like animal products are not consumed, similarly they are not worn/used for clothing materials. This is most notable in common materials (leather, furs, feathers/down and silk)


Avoiding animal cruelty and exploitation is core to the vegan principals. Practiced in the cosmetic industry, animal testing is considered exploitation and therefore not aligned to the vegan ethos. Many large cosmetic businesses will promote a “cruelty free” product range in an effort to be vegan friendly.


The most common practice for veganism, whereby an individual will reject the consumption of animal proteins and animal products. Rejecting animal based proteins and products, vegans instead turn their diet to purely plant derived foods (hence the tagline “plant-based”)

Common foods rejected are dairy products and eggs along with any meat products.

For a more in depth understanding of what vegans mostly do and don’t eat, check this out.

History of Veganism

It was first mentioned in England around 1944 by Donald Watson (an animal rights activist who founded the Vegan Society. Watson coined the term with close friends and family in the society, saying “Vegan is the beginning and the end of vegetarian”

Initially the society defined veganism as abstaining from dairy, honey, eggs and animal milk products. Later in 1945 the society added to its doctrine to that “man should live without the exploitation of any animal”

Whilst the Vegan Society and Watson were the first to define veganism, many others were adopting similar lifestyles at the time.

Fast forward to 2020, where veganism is well and truly in the mainstream and moving from sub, to pop, culture. A spike in popularity in many countries (Hong Kong, China, Australia, UK and America) point to the philosophy’s rising popularity.

With no signs of slowing down, the rise of veganism into the mainstream looks set for many years to come.