"Veganism is a way of living that seeks to exclude, as far as possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing and any other purpose."

That is the original definition put together by Donald Watson and The Vegan Society, founded 1944. It still stands today.

Simply put, veganism is about choosing to live as much as possible without using or consuming animal products - meat, dairy, eggs, leather, honey – anything that’s been produced by exploiting animals.

All around us every day are the results of animal exploitation. Some are obvious like meat, dairy and eggs. Many are not so obvious: sweets and food containing gelatin. Beer and wine fined with fish bladder or milk or egg. Silk from silkworms that are steamed alive, down and feather bedding and jackets, luxury coffee from force-fed civets...the list goes on.

There’s also entertainment that causes animal suffering, like circuses, horse and greyhound racing, zoos, rodeos. Vegans stay away from these too. The idea is to try to avoid participating in any kind of animal exploitation or suffering.

It’s not possible to cause zero harm, and always possible to point out a myriad of ways vegans cause harm, from insects killed during grain production to their tax money being used by governments to subsidise animal slaughter. These points don’t negate the massive positive impact every vegan makes. Personal effort is the most important starting point, and if more people cared enough to be vegan the world would be a much kinder, cleaner place.

Why is veganism considered strange but killing animals perfectly normal?

Most of us are conditioned from the day we're born to think of certain animals as 'things'. We're taught to objectify them because they’re used and killed to satisfy our desires. We’re taught that making these animals suffer and die for us is ‘normal’.

Take farm animals, for example. How you feel about a cow, pig, sheep or chicken is probably very different to how you feel about a cat or dog. But they're all capable of feeling happy, frustrated, exuberant, terrified and depressed. They all feel physical pain and all of them will struggle with all their might to stay alive.

Vegans see and accept this. Vegans have overcome the deep-seated cultural conditioning and reject all the cruelty that most people still think is ‘normal’.

If you want to learn more about the way we’re conditioned to feel about animals, visit and watch Dr. Melanie Joy’s presentation on “Why we love dogs, eat pigs and wear cows”.

Confusion about veganism?

Compassion, not wanting to make animals suffer, is at the core of veganism – it’s the whole point.

When people say they’re “vegan for health reasons”, this is a contradiction – what they’re actually doing is choosing a plant-based diet for health reasons. Their choice is for their own personal benefit. This is not veganism. A vegan’s motivations are ethical and their choice is all about others – about animals.

Health and nutrition

"...vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases." -- National Institute of Health

A balanced vegan diet is a healthy and fabulous choice for the human body. Vegans need to ensure they take in enough Vitamin B12 which is very easy in parts of the world where lots of foods are fortified with it, and supplements are common and inexpensive.

Some of the largest studies ever conducted link a plant-based diet with much lower risk of heart disease, stroke, obesity and cancers.

For a comprehensive overview and recommendations about vegan nutrition, visit the Vegan Nutrition website.

Find out more about The China Study, The Adventist Studies and The EPIC-Oxford Study.

What are we doing?

Animal Liberation Queensland is a vegan organisation and as such all our activities are aimed at educating people and exposing how society currently uses animals. Our ultimate goal is to see speciesist attitudes are rejected and veganism is accepted as the norm.

Specifically, ALQ:

  • promotes veganism through regular information stalls at markets, shopping centres, festivals, train stations, and other events.
  • has produced a range of materials, both online and printed brochures, to educate people about animal issues and promoting veganism.
  • conducts and encourages regular outreach through leafleting (vegan outreach) and awareness raising events.
  • provides free information to the public.
  • promotes the Vegan Easy Challenge.

We also conduct investigations and research into current farming practices to expose currently accepted and legalised animal cruelty. Find out more about our Factory Farming campaign.

What can you do?

  • Consider going vegan, a way of life that tries to avoid animal exploitation and suffering.
  • Talk to people about animal suffering and the alternatives like going vegan – spread the word!
  • Try the Vegan Easy Challenge.

Find out more


"Veganism is a way of living that seeks to exclude, as far as possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing and any other purpose."
- Donald Watson and The Vegan Society, founded 1944