Vegan & Vegetarian Reading List

Here are my favourite information sources about various vegetarian/vegan-related topics.

  • General information/multiple topics
  • Animal welfare
  • Environment
  • Nutrition and health

General information/multiple topics


The Vegan Society
Website of the UK Vegan Society, containing information on a range of subject including nutrition and health, the environment, animal welfare, travel and vegan non-food products.

Global benefits of eating less meat (pdf document, or go to the index page)
An excellent summary of the reasons for eating fewer animal products, mainly from an environmental perspective but also including human health, food security and animal welfare. Produced by Compassion in World Farming.


The Rough Guide to Ethical Living by Duncan Clark
Not a specifically vegan book but contains information on many issues relevant to the vegan lifestyle (such as ethical shopping, food & drink, energy use and waste & recycling), including a chapter on farmed animals.

Animal Welfare


Compassion in World Farming
Leading UK-based international charity campaigning against factory farming and for higher welfare standards for farmed animals. Their publications page contains reliable, high-quality information resources about various aspects of farm animal welfare, as well as issues of environment and sustainability, human health and policy and economics relating to animal farming.

RSPCA scientific reports: farmed animals
Factual information sheets about the conditions in which farmed animals are kept and killed.

Hillside Animal Sanctuary
Norfolk-based animal sanctuary who carry out undercover investigations into factory farming and aim to raise public awareness of the conditions endured by factory farmed animals. The people who discovered the Bernard Matthews cruelty cases recently reported in the news, some of their footage has been featured in national television programmes. This is the stuff the industry doesn’t want you to see.

Animal Aid
Animal protection charity campaigning against animal abuse and promoting cruelty-free lifestyles. Their campaigns page has information and downloadable factsheets on a huge range of topics including animal experimentation, farming, shooting, cruelty-free household products and cosmetics and more.

Viva! – Vegetarians Internation Voice for Animals
Viva!’s pro-vegan website includes information about many animal welfare and environmental issues as well as recipes and vegan lifestyle guides.

Not in my name
A short film about factory farming in Britain. Produced by Viva! with footage from Compassion in World Farming and featuring commentary from celebrities including Joanna Lumley, Anne Fine and Martin Shaw. (Warning: contains potentially upsetting scenes.)


Animal Welfare: Limping towards Eden by John Webster
A scientific, authoritative source of information about current practices and developments in animal welfare. Part of a series produced by the Universities’ Federation for Animal Welfare. The author is Emeritus Professor of Animal Husbandry at the University of Bristol.

The Pig who sang to the Moon by Jeffrey Masson
A readable study of the intelligence and emotions displayed by various food animals. A central message of the book is that recognising animals’ emotional behaviour and intelligence is not a misguided attempt to make them like humans, rather it is an acknowlegement of the fact that animals do possess these characteristics but many people who do not come into regular contact with animals will not be familiar with them.


Vegan diets are good for the planet! Sadly for the environment and people who care about protecting it, going vegan or eating fewer animal products rarely makes it into the media or the Government’s top 10 “how to reduce your carbon footprint” tips, even though it’s one of the most effective ways that individuals can reduce their environmental impact. Not a popular newspaper-selling/vote-winning message, perhaps?


United Nations report: “The Environmental Food Crisis
2009 UN Environment Programme report on the current state of global food security, with sections on the effects of meat production (pp. 25-27) and fishing/aquaculture (pp. 23-24). Favourite statistic: number of people who could be fed by the crops currently fed to livestock = 3.5 billion. Yes, billion. Details on page 27. Definitely worth a read.

United Nations report: “Livestock’s long shadow”
Livestock’s long shadow is the most up to date and comprehensive study into the impact of livestock farming on the environment, published by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. This page is an article summarising the report, with a link to the full report text at the foot of the page.

Eating the Earth
Factual Vegan Society booklet about the environmental impact of the production of meat and other animal products.

Global warning: Climate change and farm animal welfare – executive summary (pdf)
Livestock production is responsible for a higher share of global greenhouse gas emissions than transport. This summary of a Compassion in World Farming report provides the facts about the environmental impact of livestock farming and explains why the current situation is unsustainable.

Fish facts
Informative Vegetarian Society article about the environmental impact and animal welfare issues surrounding commercial fishing and fish farming.

It’s better to green your diet than your car (New Scientist)
Going vegan reduces your carbon footprint more than switching to a hybrid car, according to researchers at the University of Chicago.

Food miles don’t feed climate change – meat does (New Scientist)
Cutting down on meat and dairy products reduces your greenhouse gas emissions more than buying locally-produced food, according to a study by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

Nutrition and health


Plant-based nutrition and health by Stephen Walsh PhD
The ultimate data-buster, thoroughly researched. Stephen Walsh is the nutritional advisor to the Vegan Society

The China Study by T. Colin Campbell
Review of studies into the harmful effects of dairy product consumption on human health.

Becoming Vegan: The complete guide to adopting a healthy plant-based diet by Vesanto Melina and Brenda Davis
A guide to the nutritional benefits of a vegan diet and how to eat a healthy, balanced diet.

McCance and Widdowson’s the Composition of Foods published by the Royal Society of Chemistry
The authoritative textbook on the nutritional values of ingredients. If you really want to know where vegans get their protein…


From an early age Rick would rather pick up a carrot than a sausage. Not a vegetarian, but would like people to think he was.

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