Blackpool's only vegan restaurant is threatened with closure - but what is veganism?

Vegan food may take more thought and preparation, but vegans say it is more healthy
Vegan food may take more thought and preparation, but vegans say it is more healthy

The first vegan restaurant opened in Blackpool is feeling financial pressure but is veganism too niche and what is it all about?

Vegans are people who have made the choice to try to live without the exploitation of and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.

Calves are one of the reasons vegans do not eat dairy products

Calves are one of the reasons vegans do not eat dairy products

That means not eating meat or fish or even honey and dairy products.

It also means not wearing leather and even wool.

Many beauty products and other household items are tested on animals to make sure they are safe for humans to use. Vegans believe vivisection is cruel and therefore avoid these too.

The Vegan society has a list of products which are suitable for vegans to use.

They will also avoid visiting zoos or aquariums, or taking part in dog or horse racing, but many do support animal sanctuaries.

Why do it?

Vegans believe that all sentient creatures have a right to life and freedom and should not be killed or exploited merely for the whims of man.

There is also the environmental aspect. The Vegan Society says one of the biggest blights on the environment when it comes to working out carbon footprint is from the production of meat and other animal products - from crops and water required to feed the animals, to the transport and other processes.

The society says the vast amount of grain feed required for meat production is a significant contributor to deforestation, habitat loss and species extinction. In Brazil alone, the equivalent of 5.6 million acres of land is used to grow soya beans for animals in Europe.

It also says we kill between 1 and 2.8 trillion fish every year. This is 143-400 times the amount of the entire human population.

Vegans also say that their diet is a more healthy one, and could help lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and lower rates of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

What's the difference between veganism and vegetarianism?

Vegetarians eat dairy products and eggs. But vegans say suffering caused by the dairy and egg industry is possibly less well publicised than the plight of factory farmed animals. They say the production of dairy products necessitates the death of countless male calves and eggs necessitate the death of male birds.

Is it not unhealthy and difficult?

People worry that avoiding meat can result in poor nutrition. But the Vegan Society says a well-planned vegan diet follows healthy eating guidelines, and contains all the nutrients that our bodies need.