Veganism in Manchester and its surrounding towns and boroughs, is an increasingly popular practice with a number of new vegan friendly cafés and restaurants.
The Vegan Society defines veganism as ‘a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude – as far as is possible and practical – all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals.’
In recent years, veganism has become much more popular in the Western world. A poll carried out by Ipsos MORI earlier this year, showed that veganism is the fasted growing lifestyle movement, with a 360% rise in the past decade resulting in at least 542,000 Brits following a vegan diet.
Jasmijn De Boo, Chief Executive of The Vegan Society said: “To have over half a million vegans in Britain is fantastic.
“More people than ever before are acting upon the health and environmental benefits of veganism, and finding out what really goes on in the meat and dairy industries and deciding they do not want to contribute to the pain and suffering of animals.”
For followers of veganism in Manchester, being vegan couldn’t be easier.
Across the county, there are plenty of vegan friendly cafés and restaurants, Unicorn – a vegan grocery store – and numerous events promoting or supporting vegan lifestyles.
“More people than ever before are acting upon the health and environmental benefits of veganism”
Eve Bramley runs A Kind Mama Vegan Bakery in Cheadle. She’s been vegan for 11 months and moved to Manchester from Essex in September.
Speaking about Veganism in Manchester, she said: “I can honestly say there are so many more vegan options here! Obviously it is a big city, which caters for everyone, but even smaller towns like Stockport have a vegan restaurant and a vegan shop opening on Saturday!
“I’ve definitely noticed a rise in popularity as well. There are more and more vegan restaurants, businesses and options everywhere I go.
“I work from home baking cakes, taking them to markets and also sending them out all over the UK and it’s been so popular!
“I go to places like Spinningfields, Northern Quarter, Cheadle Village, West Didsbury and Altrincham.
“The vegan fair on Sunday in Altrincham was incredible. I made 500 cakes and they were sold out within two hours. That’s crazy!
“There are so many people taking things into their own hands and starting up businesses to cater for those who want to live a more compassionate life, and I think that’s really cool.”
There’s certainly no shortage of vegan events within Manchester. Last weekend alone there were two vegan fairs, a Manchester Pig Save march and a weekly vegan outreach, demonstrating that veganism in Manchester is excellent.
Kate Hutchinson is a vegan activist and member of both ‘Manchester Vegan Advocacy Group’ and ‘Manchester Pig Save’, which are only two of the many vegan groups in Manchester, and she explained the pro-vegan activism that takes place across the city.
“We have a vegan outreach stall called Awakening Compassion every Sunday on Market Street 1pm-4pm, which started last year on December 20th”, Hutchinson said.
Manchester was also the first place in the UK to set up a Save group, called Manchester Pig Save, inspired by Toronto Pig Save. 24 groups have now been formed in the UK in the last year.”
The Manchester Pig Save group hold frequent ‘vigils’, in which they comfort and film the animals in trucks before they are driven into slaughterhouses. Kate passionately explained why they do this.
“We visit the slaughterhouses peacefully to comfort the animals and document their plight.
“Our peaceful approach has helped us establish an agreement with the slaughterhouse. They hire security for us to stop the trucks and allow us three minutes with the animals. They also allow us to film the animals.
“Bearing witness is an incredibly powerful and life changing experience. I remember the first time we held a vigil outside Tulip Slaughterhouse. A three-tiered truck arrived, I looked into the narrow slates and saw different coloured eyes staring back at me, some inquisitive and some scared and covered in scratches. Then the truck drove into the slaughterhouse with all those little creatures trapped inside.
“This was the moment that changed my life. I heard the most horrendous sounds imaginable. A wall of violent screams and clanking chains as the pigs were entering the gas chambers.”
A spokesperson for Manchester Pig Save, added, “Most people do not realise there is a slaughterhouse in their city or think about the animals that enter them. That is why we feel a duty to go to the places where the violence to the animals is the worst, to shine a light on these places and acknowledge the victims.”
For many, this more hands on approach to vegan activism would understandably be very distressing, however it’s a harsh reminder of the unfortunate price to be paid for meat and dairy products.
Manchester Pig Saves’ next vigil will be taking place outside Tulip Slaughterhouse in Ashton at 6:30am tomorrow, and there are many more vegan events coming up that you can attend – vegan or not.
If you’re interested in taking on a new vegan lifestyle, why not take part in Veganuary.
Launched in the UK in January 2014, Veganuary is a global charity that encourages people to try and go vegan throughout the month of January.
To find out more about veganism in Manchester visit http://www.mvvg.co.uk/