Veganism in Education (VinE) is a Community Interest Company committed to education that encourages children’s spiritual, moral, social and cultural development, health and well-being, and academic attainment. We believe the inclusion of veganism in education will make a valuable contribution towards realising these objectives.
We are forming an exciting collaboration of professional educators and academics from various fields to provide learning resources and articles on animals and inter-related health, social justice and environmental issues.
There is often misinformation about veganism and plant-based diets circulating in the public domain. Our organisation has the knowledge and expertise to provide age-appropriate, evidence-based information on veganism and plant-based diets to ensure teachers, parents and governing bodies can include vegan topics in the curricula with total confidence.
Read more about our: Founder | Patron | Ambassadors & Contributors | Partners | Supporters
“Now I can look at you in peace; I don’t eat you any more.”
“When a person freely and honestly seeks a moral path, the first thing he must turn from is meat. A man can live and be healthy without killing animals for food; therefore, if he eats meat, he participates in taking animal life merely for the sake of his appetite. And to act so is immoral.”
Michelle St John
Founder and Director
Barrister-at-Law, BA(Hons) Social Anthropology
Michelle’s background is in law. She worked as a Crown Prosecutor, Magistrate and guest lecturer on English Law at the renowned Jagiellonian University, Krakow.
Her interest in humane education was sparked by a vegan parent seeking advice in challenging the raising of pigs for food at his daughter’s school. Michelle was intrigued to learn that school farms in the UK actively involved children in caring for animals for slaughter. She questioned the educational merit of this practice as it appeared to go against children’s natural empathy for animals.
Michelle looked at how animals were considered across the curriculum, and found there were limited opportunities for children to critically think about the way we define and inter-relate with them. Whilst compassion for domestic pets appeared to be encouraged, empathy towards other animals, especially ‘food animals’ was not. She felt the promotion of animals as chiefly ‘products’, seriously undermined the teaching of empathy.
Her research culminated in a paper on humane education, which she presented as an independent scholar at the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics. Meeting with leading academics and teaching professionals, she found a consensus of opinion supporting a paradigm shift in the way we teach children to view animals and our relationships with them.
This shift would contribute to children’s emotional, cognitive and social development whilst bringing hope for a more empathic, just and sustainable planet. She says, “these benefits, so passionately endorsed by educators and professionals working across the academic disciplines, inspired me to create the VinE initiative.”
Michelle lives in Cheshire with her husband Tony. She has seven rescued animals, which she thanks for teaching her empathy and the spiritual interconnectedness of all living beings.
OUR PATRON – PETER EGAN
“I am delighted to be a patron of both VinE and the Animal Interfaith Alliance. I believe a commitment to a belief which engenders compassion is fundamental to our moral development as human animals. There are, of course, different levels of compassion but most of us exist within the world of selective compassion. That is when you declare compassion for one species and not another. We are all born with the capacity for unlimited compassion but, sadly, this can be eroded firstly by familial conditioning and secondly by education.
We view our beloved companion animals such as dogs, cats, rabbits, and hamsters as worthy of care and compassion, yet deem other animals unworthy. I am struck by the paradox of the child playing lovingly with their pet rabbit then asking Mum “what’s for dinner” only to be told, rabbit, chicken, or fish. The development of selective compassion has started, and the child follows the lead of the parent and disconnects with their natural empathy for all living beings. How can some animals be our friends, yet we exploit others for food, or use them in experiments, or for entertainment? Surely, we have a responsibility to give children the right knowledge and skills to develop their own ethical choices. This teaching can be delivered with sensitivity and compassion by offering considered options to the status quo.
I believe a plant-based diet is the most compassionate lifestyle and one which will, in the end, help save our wonderful planet and make it a richer and healthier place for all who share it. This is why I am proud to be a vegan and delighted to support VinE.”
Our Ambassadors / Contributors
Dr. Richard Twine
Senior Lecturer in Social Sciences, Co-Director of Centre for Human-Animal Studies, Edge Hill University, Lancashire
I applaud and endorse the aims of VinE which are exactly in line with the necessary transition to a sustainable society premised upon a deep reflection and engagement with our prevalent human/animal relations.
Dr. Matthew Cole
Lecturer in Criminology, The Open University
Co-author, with Dr Kate Stewart, of Our Children and Other Animals: The Cultural Construction of Human-Animal Relations in Childhood
The VinE initiative is emblematic of the best that education can offer, enhancing children’s skills in critical thinking at the same time as it encourages empathy and compassion. This is crucial for empowering future generations to lead us into a more peaceable, sustainable future, one in which we are better able to respect and care for ourselves, as well as all the inhabitants of our fragile planet. In a media context which is still dominated by messages that overtly or subtly distract children (and adults) from the harms that humans inflict on other animals and our shared environment, VinE is exactly what’s needed to cut through the obfuscation and resonate with the yearning for solutions that is evident among young people today.
Prof. Linda M. Johnson
Curator: Hancock Shaker Village
Lecturer II: University of Michigan: Department of Art History
Ph.D. FOCAE (Senior Fellow Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics)
“Francis called all creatures, no matter how small, by the name of brother and sister, because he knew they had the same source as himself.”
– Saint Bonaventure
VinE (Veganism in Education) is such an exciting educational initiative teaching young children that animals have a right to their own lives and that they exist independently from us. Once “seen” from this deeply universal perspective there is no “unseeing.” Beholding this animal, rather than any animal, opens the “seer” to the particular-to a window into the universal story of love, compassion, and ethical formation. Education, particularly from a vegan perspective, integrates knowledge and moral reasoning with the joy of personal responsibility– that one person can contribute to healing the imbalances in the world’s environmental issues. VinE provides the tools to begin this journey that every being is integral to the whole.
Prof. Andrew Knight
Professor of Animal Welfare and Ethics, and Founding Director of the University of Winchester Centre for Animal Welfare
Author of ‘The Costs and Benefits of Animal Experiments.’
BSc.(Vet.Biol.), BVMS, PhD, MANZCVS (Animal Welfare), DipECAWBM (AWSEL), DipACAW, FRCVS, PFHEA
I was once an Australian human rights activist, concerned with increasing our foreign aid budget, the international campaign to ban landmines, and victims of torture. I still support humanitarian causes, but switched my primary focus to animal welfare issues, when I realised that the number of animals harmed by our actions is unfortunately millions of times greater.
I fully endorse VinE’s aim of teaching children empathy and compassion for all sentient beings because human and non-human animals share the same potential to be victims of suffering, injustice, violence and abuse. The solutions to combat these problems are universal. With the current crisis facing our planet from animal exploitation, human injustice and ecological degradation, we need to provide young people with the knowledge and skills to become the ethical decision makers and problem solvers of the future.
Founder of the Sentientism movement, promoting a worldview committed to “evidence, reason and having compassion for all sentient beings”.
Most children start out with a generous compassion for humans and other sentient animals. Sadly most of us are then taught, both in schools and by wider society, that harming and killing other sentient beings for human pleasure through animal farming and fishing is normal – even expected.
VinE is doing important work in helping young people understand that they can instead choose to keep and develop their compassion through veganism – a positive way forward for non-human sentients, human sentients and for the planet we all share.
Dr. Shireen Kassam
Founder of Plant-Based Health Professionals, UK
MBBS, FRCPATH, PHD, DipIBLM
Teaching children to live kindly and compassionately is key to our future existence on this planet. We are facing a number of interrelated crises that ultimately relate back to how we live our lives. Understanding how our collective actions and behaviours can impact personal health, wider society and affect the lives of non-human animals with whom we share this earth is crucial. This is why the mission and work of VinE is so important and why I am delighted to be an ambassador and support their work.
Animal advocate, director MAD Ideas: award-winning marketing communications specialist
MA, BA (Hons)
During the course of my career, I’ve met many young people who cite animal cruelty and the planet as their top concerns.
I am honoured to be an Ambassador for the trailblazing VinE educational initiative.
This is the first initiative of its kind in the UK; committed to removing discrimination, accelerating the progress of equality, raising people’s understanding of speciesism and how to tackle it, effectively advocate for the rights of everyone, supporting educators and the next generation to reach their potential.
VinE is not just breaking the bias – we’re working closely together to go beyond that. We’re committed to supporting the issues young people care about. We’re helping young people thrive, celebrate compassion and diversity.
Together, we’re pioneering a brave and beautiful future, where all are treated with respect regardless of the body shape or species they were born into.
I embrace this inclusive future filled with compassion. I live it. I dare to dream it.
Dr. Laila Kassam
VinE is a timely and much-needed initiative which I wholeheartedly support. Young people face an impossible future and they are clearly hungry for solutions. We need to give them as much support and information as we possibly can. Including veganism in the school curriculum would be a massively impactful start, not just for them but for all of us.
Surveys show the high levels of climate anxiety among children globally. At the same time in the UK, a significant proportion of children and young people are taking action for the climate and the majority have adopted or want to adopt vegan and vegetarian diets.
Raising awareness amongst everyone, especially young people, of more compassionate, just, inclusive, responsible and sustainable ways of thinking, being and living such as veganism, that can address the roots of these crises and benefit the Earth and all her inhabitants, is an absolute imperative at this point.
Children and young people all over the world are facing the existential threats of ecological and climate breakdown with no guarantee they will inherit a habitable planet. In addition to these threats younger generations are facing a future of increasing: pandemics; antibiotic resistance; lifestyle diseases linked to unhealthy animal-based and processed diets; hunger; inequality; and the list goes on.
All of these crises are connected and all of these are driven by an unjust and unsustainable food system that exploits humans, other animals and the planet for the sake of profit. A violent and inefficient system that kills nearly 80 billion land animals and over 1 trillion aquatic animals every year for ‘food’, that drives deforestation and biodiversity loss and that uses 83% of farmland for animal agriculture while producing only 18% of calories.
To me, it is our domination of and disconnection from nature and our animal kin (and by extension our disconnection from each other and ourselves) that has got us into this mess. It is children and young people who will be leading the way out of it.
I passionately believe that teachers have an incredible opportunity through education, to empower children and their families to make healthier lifestyle choices for both themselves and our planet. I am honoured to be an ambassador for the VinE vision.
Vegan Queen V – professional musician and songwriter
BA (Hons) (1st Class) Popular Music, M.Mus Performance, ABRSM Grade 8 Piano, ABRSM Grade 8 Violin
Children are quite literally the future, and it is a bleak future unless we can educate and guide the next generations to make more informed and more compassionate choices.
VinE are doing integral work to bring more awareness and education surrounding how animals are used and exploited throughout the different industries in our world, and the direct impact this has on us and our planet.
As a musician and songwriter, I know how wonderful music can be to educate and inspire and I am excited to work alongside VinE as an ambassador to help spread these important messages.
Charter for Compassion
VinE is thrilled to be partnered with the ‘Charter for Compassion’. We have joined a network of organisations working to promote compassionate thinking and action for the benefit of humans,animals and the planet. Supported by leading thinkers from around the world, the Charter transcends religious, ideological and national differences and activates the Golden Rule around the world.The Charter for Compassion’s mission is to bring to life the principles articulated in the Charter through concrete, practical action in a myriad of sectors.
The Animal Interfaith Alliance
VinE is delighted to be partnered with the Animal Interfaith Alliance (AIA). AIA is a unique and inclusive alliance of diverse faith based, animal advocacy organisations. The not-for-profit works with all perspectives to speak out on the moral treatment of animals by drawing on the combined wisdom of all faiths.
Their Vision and Mission is where people of all faiths and none work together to treat animals with respect and compassion, with a united voice including the shared goals below:
1. Achieving a UN Convention on Animal Health & Protection (UNCAHP)
2. Putting Animals in the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals
3. Putting Animals on the Agenda of the Parliament of World Religions
4. Putting Animal Ethics on the Education Curriculum
5. Replacing Laboratory Animals with 21st Century Human Relevant Test Methods
6. Ending Factory Farming
7. Using Ethical Investments to Promote Animal Welfare
As with VinE, AIA recognises animals are sentient beings who have the right to live freely and not to be made to suffer by humans; animals exist for their own sakes and not for ours; they are emotional beings who can love us and provide companionship, and can be members of our family and community. AIA’s activities include animal advocacy and education.
“We are part of an interconnected web. By abusing part of that web, we damage the rest of it, including the environment and ourselves”
Vegan Organic Network
VON is delighted to support the VinE educational initiative. We are facing a point of no return: species extinction at an alarming rate, ocean deadzones, fishless oceans and a food system which has failed to change; treating sentient animals as “products”. Do we really want future generations to inherit this broken system? VinE is a catalyst for change. It is so needed and enables everyone to take decisive action to avert the crises we are all facing and to create positive change together.
Parents, students, teachers, professionals
Boatbuilder/Yacht Surveyor and Parent
I wish this type of resource had been taught during my school years, it would have saved me a lot of heartache in later life. As a mature adult, I was horrified to learn the extent to which our society exploits animals, causing them great pain and suffering. I had unwittingly been party to this, and wished I’d known it was possible to thrive on a plant-based diet.
Veganism has shown me there is only one rule to follow in life, and that is to give ethical consideration and compassion to all living beings – human and animal. Both equally deserve respect and the right to live their natural lives in peace.
Specialist Paediatric Dietitian
RD PG Cert
I am passionate about helping and supporting families who choose to raise their children to show compassion and empathy for the other animals we share this planet with. My work is largely focused on educating and supporting parents about children’s nutrition and how to optimise this for their future health. This is why the work of VinE is so vital and I am delighted to support their mission and work.
Vegan Dad, Skier & Software Engineer
Children are born compassionate and kind. As they grow older, it is society that teaches them to be oblivious towards the suffering of other human beings and non-human animals.
It is very important to restore the inborn compassion and kindness in children at a very early age as they are our future and the way they treat our planet and its inhabitants will go a long way to shape the future of our society and this planet.
Hence, I support Vine as they take a holistic approach towards veganism by taking into account the health, climatic and different religious and cultural backgrounds of people while concentrating and highlighting the suffering of the real victims which are the non-human animals.
Solicitor and Parent
Recently I realised the horrors of the egg and dairy industry. That day, I became vegan. The way humans abuse defenceless animals is heart breaking, and even more so, because it is completely unnecessary.
Children are born with a love for animals, but society tells them to ignore this and treat some with love and affection and others with contempt and indifference.
Most people would say they love animals, yet pay to have them killed and treated in the most abhorrent way. It is this hypocrisy which people are blind to.
Education is key. It can help people connect the dots so they can see this is only happening as a direct result of them buying or consuming animal products. That’s why I am pleased to support the VinE initiative: people are given all the information and tools to make the change that is so badly needed.
I fully support VinE as I believe it is integral to educate our children how each of our actions has an impact on those around us. I feel it is vital children are aware of how their part on this planet really matters and are encouraged to take responsibility (we don’t have many adults taking responsibility as they were never taught this).
If every child was taught these basic principles and ethics our future would be so bright!
To have teachers spreading a positive message has the most incredible ripple effects across the world. There is no question for me that if I knew a teacher was encouraging the VinE principles, I would be delighted to have my children at that school. I can say from my own experience, witnessing the dynamics between children educated through the eyes of compassion, they appear to be far more inclusive, welcoming and confident. Thank you VinE for all you do. ♥️
Leeoz and Eden
Hi we’re Leeoz and Eden and we’re proud to be supporters of VinE.
“Kindness to animals and veganism should be taught in education so people can understand what happens to animals. I care about animals because they feel pain and have emotions and it’s not fair on the animals for us to eat meat” Leeoz
“If you want to help animals – go vegan. Be a healthy vegan, take care of yourself… to be vegan means you help animals and you eat no animal products” Eden
It’s important for children to be taught compassion for animals so they become compassionate adults. If we’re taught to be compassionate in school to animals it’ll be easier for us to learn to be compassionate to one another!
Advocate for animals
It would be great to have veganism taught in schools not just for the animals, but so that everyone can better understand me. I am proud to be part of VinE for the animals and other young people like me.
After becoming a vegan I no longer felt like a hypocrite and had more of a connection with animals knowing I wasn’t harming them.
The Vegan Society
“I am Vegan. I don’t eat animal products. I don’t use any animal products because of ethical, environmental and climate reasons.”
“The fate of animals is of greater importance to me than the fear of appearing ridiculous; it is indissolubly connected with the fate of men.”