All vegans, whether new or veteran, may have questions from time to time, such as whether a household item contains animal products or where they can buy their favourite dairy-free desserts. Luckily, answers need not be far away. Whilst a number of detailed books, not to mention local animal rights groups, can offer advice and solutions, access to online resources is becoming increasingly available, meaning that help can be found at just a few touches of a button. Here are four websites which deserve a place amongst vegans' lists of favourites:
1. Happy Cow
Happy Cow is an extensive online directory of vegan, vegetarian and veg-friendly restaurants, grocery stores, B and Bs, ice-cream parlours, and other such establishments. An international (English-language) site, it can be used to quickly find vegan food either locally or whilst on vacation, and to read reviews, see photos, and check opening hours and directions. Creating a free member profile allows users to submit new ideas for listings and any corrections to map markers or restaurants' contact details, as well as add feedback and pictures to give their fellow vegans a helping hand in choosing where to eat or shop.
Some vegans are surprised to learn that alcoholic drinks frequently contain or utilise animal products. Honey and cream can be found in some beers and liquors, whilst sea shells, egg whites and isinglass are just a few of many non-vegan items used to purify beverages. As bartenders and salespeople are not always able to answer questions about ingredients, Barnivore provides a helpful list of which drinks are verified to be cruelty-free. The searchable site does not list every micro-brewery in the world, but details of several varieties of most international and larger brands can be found.
The word vegan is the creation of Donald Watson, who found the world's first Vegan Society. This United Kingdom-based organisation is still very active today and both its website and shop offer a range of educational information on vegan nutrition and the history of plant-based living. The website has a recipe section too, and if searching online does not yield an answer to a question, an e-mail to their team usually gets a timely, polite and detailed response.
There are a range of different opinions on People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals' use of graphic images and nudity, but those who are not in favour of such tactics can easily find a wealth of information on the organisation's website without encountering them. Actually, websites, in the plural, is probably a better term, as several regional sites in other languages, plus children's pages, are linked from the main domain. PETA is a good general source of information about different aspects of the meat, dairy, leather, breeding, and animals as entertainment industries, as well as publishing news on current issues, customisable form letters and action alerts, age-appropriate games and information for younger vegans, and a directory of shops which stock vegan shoes, cosmetics, bulk groceries, and much more.
Photo courtesy of Ministerio TIC Colombia, used under the terms of the Creative Commons license.