The Vegan Society is a registered charity and the oldest vegan society in the world, founded in the UK in November 1944 by Donald Watson, Elsie "Sally" Shrigley, and 23 others.
Watson coined the word "vegan" to stand for "non-dairy vegetarians" who also ate no eggs. The founding of The Vegan Society is celebrated annually on 1 November, World Vegan Day. The day was established in 1994 by Louise Wallis, the then President and Chair. However, the founding of The Vegan Society is thought to have been either 5 or 12 November 1944.
The Society now defines veganism as "A philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals."