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Winter 2005 - Act•ionLine

by Lee Hall | Winter 2005

8th Annual London Vegan Festival

Biggest Crowd Ever for the 8th Annual London Vegan Festival

LONDON, SEP. 25 2005 — Some embrace pure vegetarian living for health or environmental reasons. Some consider themselves animal advocates. Some are simply curious about the vegan diet and lifestyle, and come to hear the buzz. More than 2,150 people — children are not tallied as they enter without charge — came to enjoy the day.

The early morning rains cleared by nine o’clock, and when the doors opened from Kensington Town Hall to the High Street, the day was glorious. It was the 25th of September, in the middle of London’s busiest shopping district. The festival filled this central public hall to capacity.

Londoners Alison Coe and Robin Lane arranged this once-a-year opportunity for numerous educators, chefs, advocates and guests to share and cultivate their enthusiasm for vegan living at “the greatest gathering of vegans anywhere in the world.”1

The Vegan Organic Network came to show how its members are making its distinctive badge available to wholesalers who apply their standards. This badge, a “V” with a round sun, denotes a combination of organic certification and a vegan seal of approval.2 The new trend to make “veganics” a popular choice will address virtually every major category of environmental damage now threatening all life on our planet: climate change, air and water pollution, the spread of disease, and the instability of communities throughout the world.

The reliance on fossil fuels and chemicals in animal agriculture means that animal products are simply as unsustainable as they are unethical from an animal rights standpoint. “Likewise,” observes the group Rights for Animals, “in the conversion of grain into meat, 96% of the calories are lost. Thus, the production of meat implies an enormous waste of food, in a world where millions die of starvation.”3

Nowhere at the festival were people advancing free-range farming; that would be even more costly and space-destroying than current customs. The theme of this festival is about transcending our dependence on animal products completely.

For those who find the craving for cheese or breakfast sausage too difficult to withstand, an emerging and award-winning enterprise called Redwood Company offered samples of the best vegan cheddar and similar prepared products available anywhere. Coming soon to the U.S., they promise to convince great changes in the way people shop, as has already happened wherever their products have been introduced in Britain.

The Eighth Annual Festival was dedicated to the memory of Arthur Ling (1919-2005), who worked with the Vegan Society and who, in the 1950s, developed soymilk, which became widely distributed in Britain in the 1960s. Ling was a peace activist and an avid naturist, known for taking early morning swims in the sea.


  • 1. Lane and Coe are also the long-time co-ordinators of the London-based Campaign Against Leather and Fur (CALF).
  • 2. The Vegan Organic Trust is an international network for ethical cultivation and social justice. Write to 161 Hamilton Road, Manchester M13 0PQ, England. 
  • 3. Rights for Animals, "The Use of Animals as Food"
Lee Hall

Act•ionLine Winter 2005

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