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Editorial by Harry Mather, Vegan Views 63 (Winter 93/94)

The coming year marks an important date for Veganism. It will be 50 years since The Vegan Society was formed in 1944. Those early vegans who followed their consciences into what they thought was the right way to live, have proved that their diet was also sound nutritionally.

Not only have vegans proved their case by surviving, but they have provided a body of people that nutritionists have been able to study and compare to more conventional eaters. Medical circles, probably to their surprise, have had to concede that people can obtain all necessary nutrients from plant sources. Even if the availability of vitamin B12 from plant foods has been questioned, there is some evidence that some vegans have managed without an artificial source of B12.

But we have gone further than this. Comparisons of vegans to vegetarians and meat eaters, continually show that vegetarians are healthier than meat eaters but also that vegans can be healthier than dairy-intake vegetarians. We have now reached the stage where surgeons in the USA are putting people booked for expensive heart surgery on a vegan diet, then finding they can cancel the operation.

Needless to say, the number of vegans has grown from a handful to around 100,000 and is spreading around the world. New vegetarians can now quickly move on to veganism, confident that they can have a healthy diet.

The Vegan Society will celebrate the 50th Anniversary by releasing a Video that concentrates on the positive aspects of veganism. Veganism is not just going without, it is a change in lifestyle that can add enjoyment to life and bring hope to the planet. Sadly, now that the Vegan Society has proved its case, it is not growing in numbers. Vegans have taken for granted the valuable support they have received and are reluctant to give something back - that is join the Society. With more members and more finance, the Vegan Society can present our case more effectively and make a greater impression on the community, overcoming misconceptions and misinformation.

Our aim for 1994's 50th Anniversary should be to build strong membership of the Society and help build a better world.

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Cross-reference: Nutrition and Health