The MOD Vegan & Vegetarian Network is a new community supporting the Armed Forces to maintain their chosen diet and lifestyle while in service.
Veganism is a philosophy aiming to remove the use of animals in all circumstances, such as research, food, and clothing. Similarly, Vegetarianism is a practise abstaining from all forms of meat and by-products produced through animal slaughter.
There are many reasons people choose to be Vegan or Vegetarian, whether it be to benefit humans and the environment; out of respect for animals as sentient beings; for ethic morals against abuse of animals; religious beliefs; or health and personal preferences. Avoidance of certain methods and seeking animal-free alternatives enable individuals to adopt such beliefs.
Established from MOD St Athan, the Network connects Vegans and Vegetarians across the tri-services to support and educate each other with new ideas and policies; as well as external groups (such as the Vegan Society). They also hope to inspire others to join and encourage a community of visible role models sharing this lifestyle, regardless of their motivations.
"I went vegan primarily for ethical reasons, but I soon realised the huge environmental benefits that going vegan has, which is now just as important to me."
Founding Network Member
The Network also aims to create new policies that will empower members to maintain Veganism and Vegetarianism alongside military life. The RAF already provide a variety of food choices in messing facilities, although fail to provide Vegan ration packs and limited guidance for alternatives in clothing, kit, and equipment; the Network is even exploring the supply of vegetarian shoes that are not made using leather, but still provide the support and wear of standard military boots.
The first Annual General Meeting is planned for April 2022, to promote and celebrate the Network with members and some external Vegan and Vegetarian friendly parties. Other events, such as health and wellbeing fairs, speakers, and visits are also being organised.
Anyone within the Ministry of Defence (including family members) are encouraged to get involved; you can follow the MOD Vegan Network and stay connected with the community, share resources, recipes, book reviews, events, and more on Instagram and Facebook:
Or email: [email protected].
"I’ve always loved animals, but since joining the RAF many years ago, I just never thought it would be possible to be vegan in the military, especially when on deployment. But times have changes and now it’s so much easier."
Founding Network Member
Ben, a Founding Member of the Network, maintains veganism alongside military service and a sporty lifestyle representing the RAF in Rowing. He also forms part of the ‘Green Gazelles,' the world’s first Vegan Rugby Club. They recently appeared on a new Channel 4 series, with comedienne Kerry Godliman, to cook a delicious vegan meal; watch the episode on YouTube.