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The vegan shift in the Australian animal movement

Nick Pendergrast (School of Social and Political Sciences, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia)

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy

ISSN: 0144-333X

Article publication date: 2 July 2020

Issue publication date: 21 May 2021




This article explores the different ways in which the vegan turn within the animal advocacy movement in Australia has played out for two organisations, Animal Liberation Victoria (ALV) and Animals Australia. Previous research has found that this promotion of veganism has occurred to varying degrees for different organisations and this article will analyse some of these variations in greater depth, drawing on the sociological theory of resource mobilisation.


This article provides a case study on the campaigning of ALV and Animals Australia on the issue of the dairy industry, as well as an overview of their histories, with a focus on the changing level of vegan campaigning over time. In order to explore this issue, this article will draw on the campaigning materials of the organisations studied, a wide range of academic literature and interviews with key figures from both of these organisations.


Larger organisations have a limited ability to regularly promote a vegan message due to their need to bring in a large amount of resources to sustain costs such as their office costs and paid staff. It is more grassroots organisations that have far greater scope to consistently and strongly promote a vegan message, although they reach fewer people.

Social implications

The increasing uptake of veganism will have important implications for animals as well as for human health and the environment. The environmental benefits of veganism become even more significant in light of the urgent need to tackle the substantial threat of climate change.


This article is a contribution to the expanding field of critical animal studies as well as to the literature on sociology and animals. It builds on the limited amount of existing sociological literature on vegan activism and contributes an analysis in Australian context.



Acknowledgements: I’d like to thank all of my interview participants for their contributions to this article. I’d also like to thank Dr Scott Fitzgerald and Dr Jan Sinclair‐Jones, as well as the anonymous reviewers, for their feedback on this article.


Pendergrast, N. (2021), "The vegan shift in the Australian animal movement", International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Vol. 41 No. 3/4, pp. 407-423.



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