Sir, – Farmers For Action (FFA) Northern Ireland is concerned that growing children and young people need their full intake of calcium, iron and other essential natural nutrients for them to grow and develop (The Sciottish Farmer, ‘Vegan worm killers’, January, 2018), and we could not agree more.

The Vegan Society works closely with the British Dietetic Association (the professional body for dietitians) which acknowledges that a vegan diet is suitable for all life stages. We provide free support and advice to vegans of all ages to ensure that they can enjoy a healthy diet. We have a full-time registered dietician on our staff and detailed advice on vegan nutrition can be found on our website at

Our definition of veganism is: “Veganism is a 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.”

We are aware that many forms of farming involve indirect harm to animals but it is unfortunately not possible or practicable to avoid the destruction of the worms and soil microbes in most farming. However, we do not consider that just because it is not possible to avoid 100% of the cruelty, suffering and exploitation to animals that we should not bother at all.

Vegans make a huge contribution to the reduction in suffering and death caused to animals. And, as animals raised for food are also fed crops and the conversion of those crops into food for humans following the slaughter of the crop eating animal is so poor, then by eating animal products even more worms would die.

Vegans do not claim to be perfect, we are just trying our best to live in a way that is as compassionate as possible.

We are, however, intrigued to know which specific advertisements the FFA Northern Ireland is concerned about. As a registered educational charity that strives to be as evidence based as possible, we would want to address any specific criticisms of our advertising.

There are several high profile vegan campaigns running each year, but not all of them are the work of The Vegan Society. We would ask the FFA Northern Ireland to make sure that they are critiquing our work.

We have written to FFA Northern Ireland to confirm that we would be happy to discuss this further. Through our Grow Green campaign ( we are able to offer practical support to farmers who want to find out how to transition to a compassionate, sustainable and profitable form of agriculture.

Samantha Calvert

Head of Communications,

The Vegan Society,