Vegan Awareness Foundation
The Vegan Awareness Foundation, also known as Vegan Action, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization (FIN# 94-3224024) in Virginia, United States and founded in 1995. Dedicated to helping animals, the environment, and human health by educating the public about the benefits of a vegan lifestyle and encouraging the spread of vegan food options through public outreach campaigns. One of the goals of Vegan Action is to create growth in the vegan marketplace and increase the availability of vegan products. They have introduced a logo to certify vegan products, vegan food options into schools nationwide, and ideas behind veganism.
Vegan Action administers a “Certified Vegan” logo which is a registered trademark applied to foods, clothing, cosmetics and other items that contain no animal products and are not tested on animals. The logo is easily visible to consumers interested in vegan products and helps vegans to shop without consulting ingredient lists. Since 1998, there have been over two-hundred companies taking advantage of the logo and thousands of products featuring it.
Each year, Vegan Action helps people worldwide organize McVegan events which involve passing out thousands of free vegan food samples and dietary information to the public. In 1995, McDonald's threatened to sue Vegan Action for trademark infringement over McVegan shirts which featured McDonald’s well-known golden arches with the logo "McVegan. Billions and billions saved." Instead of backing down, Vegan Action enlisted pro-bono services from an intellectual property legal firm and developed a defense based on the First Amendment's protection of parody. The story was picked up by The Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Examiner, Houston Chronicle, Chicago Tribune, the AP and UPI wires, National Public Radio, and four local television networks. The McVegan story even appeared in German and Australian newspapers. After two weeks of widespread press, McDonalds backed down and formally withdrew their threat of legal action.
Vegan Action has worked to help dozens of campus groups across the country bring vegan food options into their dorms. Their dorm food campaigns have made college life more convenient for vegan students while introducing thousands of other students to the possibilities of a vegan diet. Vegan Action began after a successful petition in 1994 at UC-Berkeley. Working with two campus groups, Students in Support of Animals and The Coalition of Students for Healthy Dorm Food, the Vegan Action founders circulated a petition for improved vegan food options, obtaining signatures from 1,200 dorm residents. The groups then met with dorm administrators, armed with the Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine's Gold Plan, which supplies vegan recipes and nutritional information to food-service personnel, and other supportive material.
Vegan Action has started a campaign to help, encourage, and reach those already concerned about the treatment of animals in our society. In doing so, they’ve developed a package of literature, mailings, and presentations to reach humane societies and advocate a humane diet.
Board of Directors:
- Executive Director - Krissi Vandenberg
- Chair - Alanna Wiggins
- Vice Chair - Christopher Patterson
- Secretary - Alyssa Murray
- Treasurer - Leslie Sanford
- David Blatte, JD, practices animal rights law privately as well as with In Defense of Animals
- Roy Webb, retired Public Relations Consultant and Board Advisor to Earthsave Foundation
- Ori Brafman, MBA Stanford University
- Gaverick Matheny, co-founder of the Public Education Network (a national nonprofit research service)
- Howard Lyman, President, Earthsave International
- Jennifer Raymond, author of "The Peaceful Palate"
- Cory Evans
- List of vegetarian festivals
- World Vegan Day
- List of vegetarian organizations
- American Vegan Society
- International Vegetarian Union
- Parr, Jan. Vegetarian Times. April, 1995.