(This page is adapted from an article which first appeared in the June 2002 issue of IVU News, the magazine of the International Vegetarian Union.  It was updated on 29 May 2017.)

OxVeg (Oxfordshire Vegetarians and Vegans) are a local voluntary group whose aim is to promote the vegetarian/vegan diet to the moral, physical, environmental and economic benefit of humankind. We believe that education, rather than confrontation, is the key to unlocking the hearts and minds of the public, encouraging more people to adopt a vegetarian or, better still, a vegan diet.
The group was founded in 1967 and now has more than 150 members and supporters of all ages and from all walks of life. Most of our members and supporters live in Oxford, a city of just over 100,000 people, although we aim to cover the whole of Oxfordshire, a predominantly rural county in the heart of England. Oxford is, of course, internationally famous for its university and many historic buildings. Vegetarian scholars of the past have included the poet Shelley and Peter Singer, author of Animal Liberation.
We run information stalls at local fairs. Our members receive a monthly e-newsletter, OV News, featuring a diary of forthcoming events. We have also negotiated a number of members discounts at local shops and restaurants.
Highlights of the group’s history have included cookery demonstrations to packed houses, helping to organise and run the Oxford Animal Charities Fair – a major event in the local calendar for over twenty years, and many memorable speaker meetings and social events. Hundreds of people have been members of OxVeg during this time, and we hope that we have had a positive impact on their lives. If we have helped them to adopt and sustain a vegetarian or vegan diet then our existence has been justified.
The group is run on the proverbial shoestring budget, and financial assistance is always welcome! More important than this, however, is gaining the active support of local vegetarians and vegans. Although relatively large, our total membership represents only a small fraction, perhaps less than five per cent, of the number of vegetarians in Oxfordshire. We are fortunate in that Oxford is a relatively “green” city (the local branch of the Green Party are particularly strong) with a high proportion of young people, so that we operate in a comparatively favourable environment. However, this also means that we are to some extent competing with other local campaigning groups for support. In recent years we have found it especially difficult to attract student members, perhaps because there are so many other meetings and activities to draw their attention. Vegetarianism is not seen as a campaigning issue in the same way as, for example, the environment, world development, or animal rights, although the lifestyle we promote affects all of these issues. Perhaps our greatest challenge is to make these links in the public mind, so that vegetarianism is not seen as an optional extra, but rather, as Thoreau put it, “a part of the destiny of the human race”.
Vegetarians and vegans visiting Oxford are welcome to contact us for advice on where to stay, shop and eat out. We have a busy calendar of events with activities most weeks, so your visit may well coincide with one of these. Details may be found in the contacts page. We look forward to meeting you in the city of dreaming spires.

Paul Appleby
OxVeg News Editor



1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Jamie Harris
    Sep 10, 2012 @ 18:31:36

    Hello, my name is Jamie.
    I am attending Oxford university, Balliol college next year and I was sent to this website on the advice of Animal Aid. I am interested in getting more active to promote animal liberation and vegetarianism.
    I noticed that you wrote “we have found it especially difficult to attract student members” but I would like to become a student member! What would that entail?

    I would have sent this as an email but I can’t see any contact information so I have to write this comment instead.


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Oxfordshire's local veggie group

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