Carnism Debunked

Humanely slaughtering the arguments for animal exploitation.

Glossary of vegan terms

Below is a glossary of commonly used vegan terms, or terms that may not specifically be related to veganism but are commonly used within the vegan and animal rights movement.



Abbreviation of 'artificial insemination', the process of impregnating farmed animals by use of hand and impregnation tools.
Abbreviation of 'Animal Liberation Conference', a yearly conference for animal rights activists held in Berkeley, California.
Abbreviation of 'Animal Liberation Front'.
Abbreviation of 'animal rights activist'.
Abbreviation of 'animal rights'.
Abbreviation of 'Anonymous for the Voiceless', an animal rights organisation formed in Melbourne, Australia, in 2016, which uses the 'Cube of Truth' demonstrations in public.
The white of an egg. Albumen is commonly used in the filtration process of wines. As such, vegans avoid many wines in favour of vegan-friendly versions which do not use albumen in the manufacturing process.
An animal rights activist who promotes the complete abolition of all animal use, rather than promoting a reduction in harm or better welfare conditions. There is debate in the animal rights movement over what true abolitionism is, with some campaigns deemed 'welfarist' in nature.
Adopt, don't shop
Phrase commonly used by vegans which promotes the vegan mantra of adopting animals, rather than buying them from breeders.
Term used to describe proposed laws in various countries which aim to penalise animal rights activists for filming farms and slaughterhouses and exposing the abuses taking place.
Animal Holocaust
Controversial term used by vegans to describe the ongoing systematic oppression of animals at the hands of humans.
Arguably not veganism-related, but nonetheless, a commonly used term within the vegan community (scarcely known outside of it) meaning someone who is morally opposed to procreation. The term was coined by philosopher (and vegan) David Benatar, author of the notorious anti-natalist book 'Better Never to Have Been'. Anti-natalist vegans argue that anti-natalism is consistent with veganism (rejection of 'breeding' and choosing instead to adopt; impact of creating more humans, thus creating more animal suffering; etc.)—however, this is met with strong opposition by natalist vegans, who argue that it is beneficial that vegans procreate.
Term used by vegans to describe a fellow vegan who is seen to be condoning of non-vegan behaviour. For example, a vegan who uses phrases such as "let people eat what they want" or "respect others' choices", with regards to non-vegans' choices to exploit and harm animals. Opposite of an unapologetic vegan.


Bacon troll
Term referring to non-vegans on social media who troll vegan posts with comments such as "mmm bacon", or who post GIFs of bacon sizzling in a pan.
Backyard eggs
Eggs which are not shop-bought, but instead consumed via taking them from chickens who are kept in people's gardens. See here for why vegans choose not to eat any kind of eggs, including backyard eggs.
Big Ag
Term referring to animal agriculture as a powerful entity, comprising of various animal-exploiting industries. The term is often used in conjunction with a description of how it collectively uses shady propaganda techniques to brainwash non-vegans into buying their products and shut down the truth about their business.
Marine animals/mammals unintentionally caught in nets and killed via commercial fishing, e.g. dolphins caught and killed when fishing for tuna or salmon.


Abbreviation of 'Canada Goose', a brand notorious in the vegan community and widely protested for its use of coyote fur on its high-end jackets.
Abbreviation of the UK Vegan Camp-out, a yearly vegan event in the UK which hosts speakers, activist workshops, music performances, and vegan-related activities for its attendees.
Red colouring used in foods and cosmetics deriving from the cochineal beetle.
The ideology that conditions us to use certain animals for certain things, and the psychological mechanisms that are used to justify it. Coined by psychologist Dr Melanie Joy.
Someone who is conditioned by Carnism.
Cube of Truth
The demonstration used by Anonymous for the Voiceless, which entails a static art performance whereby masked participants show footage to bystanders in public, in order for demo volunteers to speak to the people watching and engage with discussion about humanity's relationship with animals.
Cupcake vegan
Pejorative term used by vegans to describe vegans who condemn what many activists deem to be effective activism in favour of using "love-based" activism via means of baking cupcakes, and so on. People considered to be 'cupcake vegans' may deem protests, marches, or even direct liberation, to be "militant" and/or "aggressive", in a negative way.


Abbreviation of 'Direct Action Everywhere', an animal rights group which is notable for its disruptions of eateries, events, and shops.
Direct action
Generally referring to activists going into venues of animal exploitation and liberating animals (e.g. breaking into vivisection labs), but is also used sometimes to describe disruptions.
Form of activism whereby activists enter an eatery, shop, or public event, and make speeches or conduct dramatisations in front of the members of the public in attendance, in order to make them consider their choice to harm animals.


Abbreviation of 'Earthlings Experience', the name of the group (and also of the demonstration) which shows footage of notable vegan documentary 'Earthlings' to the public in order to reveal the horrors of animal agriculture. Formed in London, UK, in 2015, it was the first notable example of footage-based outreach whereby the activists wear masks in public.


Abbreviation of 'Forks Over Knives', a documentary based on The China Study. Both FOK and The China Study are frequently cited by vegans as sources on plant-based nutrition.
Factory farming
Farming which involves mass-breeding animals and confining them in huge numbers into small spaces.


Term used humorously to describe vegan cheese. The term was actually unintentionally coined by an irate dairy consumer, whose post ranting about plant-based cheeses not being "real" cheese went viral. The term was adopted affectionately by vegans, who made many memes referencing notable animal rights activist Gary Yourofsky.


Islamic term meaning 'permissible'. With regards to animal slaughter, it references the slaughter of an animal by slitting the throat without prior stunning.
Place where chicks are hatched on a daily basis to be sent off to farms (if female) or killed (if male).


In the context of the vegan movement, this term is used to describe a vegan who believes that commonly used vegan language or activism is "exclusionary" to people from what they consider to be oppressed groups. Generally very politically left-wing, they often argue that veganism is inaccessible to poor, disabled, and ethnic minority people, and that it needs to be made more accessible. While not true in all cases, many intersectional vegans tend to avoid using terms like 'holocaust' or 'rape' in their outreach, and they feel that veganism is as much about the human animal as it is the non-human animal. Many intersectionals deem mainstream veganism to be "problematic" and overtly capitalist, racist, sexist, transphobic and classist.
Also known as 'finings', isinglass is a type of gelatin obtained from fish, used in the filtration of various alcoholic drinks. Similar to albumen, vegans choose to avoid drinks using this and instead opt for vegan-friendly drinks.


Food conforming to Jewish dietary regulations. With regards to animal slaughter, Kosher is similar to Halal in that the animal has their throat cut without prior stunning.


Liberation pledge
Oath that some vegans undertake in which they pledge to never be present at a table where animal products are being eaten.


Negative term meaning 'one who is bad towards animals'. Used among vegans to describe non-vegans, but very rarely.
Farming process whereby a fold of skin is cut off a lamb's back, around the tail area, in the wool industry.
Abbreviation of well-known animal rights organisation 'Mercy for Animals'.


Nickname for nutritional yeast, a common vegan food staple that replicates the taste of cheese when added to recipes.


Ocean deadzones
Parts of oceans that have been depleted of marine life due to commercial fishing.
Term referring to speaking to non-vegans in the wider public as a form of activism. An 'outreach event' might involve leafleting and talking to strangers, or showing footage to passersby on a street and engaging in conversation with them. A vegan with good 'outreach skills' is someone who is skilled at talking to the public in a convincing manner about veganism.


Abbreviation of 'Plant Based News', a notable vegan media organisation. Despite the name insinuating it is 'plant-based', PNB is a fully vegan organisation.
Used by animal rights activists to refer to someone they suspect is employed by Big Ag, the police, or national security, to go undercover and infiltrate activist groups. A notable example of a 'plant' is Mark Kennedy, a former police officer who infiltrated environmental and animal rights groups in the UK for 7 years pretending to be an activist, in order to gain intelligence on the groups and report on any illegal activity.
Term used to describe a diet which does not contain any animal products. It is also used to differentiate between someone who merely does not consume animal products as part of a diet, and someone who is vegan, i.e. someone who does not support the use of animals in any industry at all, e.g. for clothing, entertainment, testing, labour, and so on. If someone were to support animal exploitation via their clothing and such but claimed to be "vegan" because they do not eat animal products, many vegans would argue that that person is in fact "plant-based" and not vegan.
Pragmatic veganism
Philosophy in which it is believed that a quicker way towards a vegan world is through small steps and incremental changes rather than an "all or nothing" mentality. Those who call themselves "pragmatic vegans" may promote things such as 'Meatless Mondays' and may be deemed by other vegans to be anti-abolitionist in mentality. Similar to 'Reducetarian', but arguably different.


Raw veganism
Form of veganism where predominantly raw plant foods are consumed. Raw vegans tend to eschew cooked foods for beliefs regarding nutritional adequacy of cooked foods.
Vegan who believes the best way to prevent animal suffering is through advocating that people reduce their consumption of animal products rather than go 'the whole hog' and advocate veganism as the moral baseline. Arguably opposite in nature to 'Abolitionist' (though many reducetarians would argue that they in fact are abolitionist themselves, as they ultimately want animal agriculture to be abolished), and compatible with 'Pragmatic veganism'.


An event held by the Save Movement (though the term is used unofficially by other groups using the same approach) whereby activists stand outside slaughterhouses and temporarily stop trucks full of live animals headed for slaughter, in order to give the animals water and to film/photograph them and broadcast their plight via social media. See also 'Vigil'.
Super-high protein substance made from wheat gluten which replicates meat. Used often in vegan recipes to make pretty much anything, from sausages to steaks to chicken wings.
Resin secreted by female lac bug, used in various cosmetics such as nail polish, and also sometimes on pharmaceutical pills. However, many vegans draw the line at the latter, as it is not deemed practical or possible in some cases to avoid important or potentially life-saving medication which may unfortunately use shellac as a coating.
Someone employed by Big Ag in order to discredit veganism in some way, e.g. in the form of writing blog posts with scare titles such as "I went vegan and nearly died". They may also be paid a small fee to simply troll vegan posts on social media and aim to waste people's time.
Socratic method
Outreach method whereby the outreacher repeatedly asks questions to the person they are trying to persuade, as opposed to seemingly lecture them or overload them with facts. Named after the philosopher Socrates, this method is deemed to be successful in that it causes the person being spoken to to question their own morality and answer things for themselves, rather than feel like they are being lectured and, in response, dig their heels in, so to speak.
Term popularised by renowned conspiracy theorist Alex Jones which refers to men who have allegedly been emasculated by excessive soy consumption, despite it arguably being a myth that soy consumption does this at all. Many vegan men humorously use this as a term to describe themselves.
Someone who sees their own species as superior to others. Used in the same way we may use the terms 'racist' or 'sexist'. It can also describe, however, the idea of certain species not of our own kind as superior to other species, e.g. the common Western belief that dogs are somehow superior to pigs and that killing a dog is "different" to killing a pig—similar to Carnism.
Straight edge
Movement which rejects the use of alcohol, tobacco, and other recreational drugs. There are many 'straight edge vegans' who eschew these things from their lives as well as all animal products. The movement originates from a subculture of punk music; however, not all people who deem themselves to be straight edge identify with this subculture themselves.


Trophy hunting
The act of hunting animals not for food, but rather as trophy kills. A notable example of trophy hunting was the case of Cecil the lion.


Vegan who is deemed, or deems themselves to be, promoting of veganism as the moral baseline and completely against giving non-vegans legitimate reason to exploit animals. An example of an unapologetic vegan would be someone who vocally opposes "respecting others' choices" and who makes it very clear that animal exploitation is inexcusable. Opposite of 'Apologist'.


Abbreviation of 'Vegan Sidekick', highly popular vegan cartoonist who promotes veganism and ridicules anti-vegan arguments through humorous cartoons.
Referring to farming that does not use animal-based fertilisers.
Similar to 'Save', but can also be used to refer to events where vegan activists pay respects to animals murdered as part of animal agriculture by lighting candles or laying flowers outside places of business.
Animal testing.


Abbreviation for 'whole-foods plant-based', referring to a diet where only foods that derive from plants and are not processed, are consumed. Foods included in a WFPB diet would be fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, seeds, lentils, and whole grains. Foods omitted from a WFPB diet would be meat, dairy, eggs, honey, refined grains (e.g. white pasta and white rice), sweets, oil (e.g. cooking oils) and, often, refined sugars. Deemed by The China Study to be the optimum diet for human health.
Describes a person or campaign that is deemed to be anti-abolitionist in nature, in that they/it merely promote(s) better treatment of enslaved animals, as opposed to scrapping the practice altogether.


Zero waste
Movement which aims to boycott plastic use by heavily reducing consumption in all areas practically possible. People who define themselves as 'zero waste' are often vegan as well.