Vegan Advocacy in India

Since 2016, Vegan Outreach has been working to end violence toward farmed animals in India. With the demand for meat and dairy rising in the country, we’ve been working to educate the masses on more compassionate food choices.

Starting with an international expansion tour, the India team has now grown to 7 staff and a country-wide volunteer network. From outreach and education programs in colleges to institutional campaigns, read on to know more about how we’re helping animals in India.

Inspiring thousands of students to go vegan

Vegan Outreach’s dedicated staff and volunteers conduct outreach programs at over 300 colleges and high school campuses each year, as well as at festivals, fairs, and conventions in 18 states.

Our Adopt A College program involves interactive classroom presentations, showing virtual reality videos, and tabling with our persuasive booklets to raise awareness about the suffering of animals raised for food. We focus on reaching the people who are motivated enough to make changes now—of which there are always many in our target audience of college students.

Support for making changes

We conduct outreach with the aim of signing people up for our 10 Weeks to Vegan guided challenge. Everyone who signs up receives weekly emails or WhatsApp messages with easy recipes, product recommendations, nutrition information, and lots of motivation. The content is tailored for an Indian audience and available in both English and Hindi.

We also offer a free mentorship program for those who need one-on-one support in making the transition.

Institutional dairy and meat reduction campaigns

In addition to in-person outreach, Vegan Outreach also runs the Green Tuesday Initiative, a campaign to help companies, universities, schools, and hostels reduce their environmental footprint by making small changes in the food they serve.

So far, we’ve helped 12 educational institutions and corporate offices in India implement more sustainable food policies and reduce large quantities of animal products from their menus. Some of our recent victories include Gautam Buddha University reducing its use of dairy by 66% and Zostel, Asia’s largest branded chain of backpacker’s hostels, adding vegan menus at 8 locations in India and Nepal.

Read more about our latest campaign successes here.

Our impact in numbers

By steadily increasing the number of vegans we’re laying the groundwork to more quickly reach a tipping point. Here’s our success in numbers:

  • 601 colleges and high schools visited in 18 states.
  • 52,496 students attended classroom presentations.
  • 17,114 people watched virtual reality videos.
  • 1,368,580 people reached with informative vegan leaflets.
  • 12 universities, corporate offices, and hostels joined the Green Tuesday Initiative.

Excited to join the movement? Here’s how.

Our work is possible because of generous supporters. Make a donation today to help animals in India!

We also need dedicated volunteers to help us reach more students and community members to spare more animals from suffering. With just a few hours of your time, you can change several dozen students’ lives forever. Sign up via our Volunteer Form.

India News: Inspiring Students to Try Vegan

We’re wrapping up a great semester of college outreach in India and I’m excited to share some of the highlights with you.

Students Choosing Compassion

So far in 2019, we’ve reached over 400,000 students with the message of veganism!

We’ve shown virtual reality videos to over 11,000 students this year. Students are often moved to tears after watching the videos and tell us that they want to go vegan right away. Our humane education program is also changing hearts and minds across the country, with nearly 22,000 students attending classroom presentations in 2019!

All our outreach is aimed at signing up thousands of people for our 10 Weeks to Vegan program, so they receive information and motivation to make the switch to vegan eating. So far in 2019, we’ve signed up 13,000 people in India!

I love hearing from people who complete the 10-week program and I want to share some of the responses with you:

“It’s amazing to know about all the non-dairy products! I thought I would have to forget all those tasty dishes made from milk, but it seems like I don’t have to!”
— Radhika, Bhopal

“Thank you for adding me to this program. My family and I have been vegan for the last five days.”
— Shailendra, Lucknow

Exciting Campaign Successes

Green Tuesday Initiative is a new campaign to help institutions in India reduce their environmental footprint by making small changes in the food they serve.

Here are some of the exciting victories we’ve had in the last few months:

Lives You’re Changing

Meet Ranik, a student whose life was changed by Vegan Outreach.

Richa Mehta writes from Agra: “Ranik attended my humane education presentation and asked for more information after the session. A few days later, he got in touch with me and told me that he had stopped eating animals that day.

“Ranik has been vegan for two months now with the help of 10 Weeks to Vegan and he regularly volunteers with me. Witnessing this impact is truly motivating!”

Help us inspire more students like Ranik by donating today!


Aneeha Patwardhan
Director of Programs, India

Hyderabad Trekking Club Goes Vegan to Reduce Environmental Footprint

Starting in September, Hyderabad Trekking Club (HTC), one of the most popular trekking and travel companies in India, will only provide vegan food during their treks to reduce their environmental footprint. The company organizes over 220 treks across India for nearly 8,000 people every year.

We initiated a partnership with HTC as part of our Green Tuesday campaign, which aims to help institutions reduce animal-based foods in favor of vegan options. Animal agriculture is one of the largest contributors of human-made greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation, water pollution, and air pollution. Worldwide, meat and dairy production uses 83% of farmland and produces 60% of agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions.

“While connecting people to the wonderful nature, we try to reduce our carbon footprint as much as possible,” said Srikanth M, cofounder of HTC. “Going vegan is one of the best ways to reduce our environmental impact on the planet!”

“Globally and in India, institutions are reducing their use of animal products and choosing plant-based foods to fight climate change,” said Richa Mehta, India Campaigns Manager for Vegan Outreach. “This initiative by HTC will encourage people to think about the impact of their food choices on the environment.”

About the Green Tuesday campaign
Green Tuesday Initiative is a new campaign by Vegan Outreach to help institutions reduce their environmental footprint by making small changes in the food they serve. So far, we’ve collaborated with ten institutions in India.

Outreach Coordinators Who Wowed Us This Spring

The spring semester was full of exciting change and success. Along with continuing to leaflet and show virtual reality videos, we shifted our focus to signing people up for our 10 Weeks to Vegan program which our surveys have shown to be very impactful.

The dedicated community outreach coordinators below inspire us with their incredible work for animals. They’ve spread a message of compassion to hundreds of thousands of people, making a huge impact in bringing us closer to a vegan world.

Let’s take a look at the great work they accomplished this past spring!

Brian Chavez

Brian [above, middle] started leafleting with Vegan Outreach in Southern California and has traveled all over the U.S. to spread veganism. Brian uses his unique style to have meaningful conversations with students about veganism, and as a result, obtained a whopping 8,907 10 Weeks to Vegan signups this spring semester. On top of that, he also handed out 20,996 leaflets and showed 228 virtual reality videos at 43 different campuses!

Miguel Marron

Miguel received a Vegan Outreach leaflet at his college, then started an animal rights club, volunteered for Vegan Outreach, and is now an employee. While he’s busy celebrating his quickly approaching 15th “veganniversary,” we’re celebrating that he signed up 3,888 people for 10 Weeks to Vegan, handed out 33,965 leaflets, and showed 329 virtual reality videos in the northwestern U.S.!

Perla Anerol

Perla reached more than 80,000 people in just her first year of working with Vegan Outreach. Now in her second year, she continues to engage thousands of students in central Mexico. This spring, she received 3,734 10 Weeks to Vegan signups, handed out 18,231 leaflets, and did 488 virtual reality showings.

Saurabh Sonkar

Saurabh has a talent for getting volunteers from outside of the animal rights movement involved in our work in India. He was this semester’s top leafleter, handing out 72,118 leaflets! He also did 2,361 virtual reality showings and signed 3,305 people up for 10 Weeks to Vegan.

Nzinga Young

Nzinga believes a vegan lifestyle has countless benefits for human and nonhuman animals and works to promote these benefits to people from different backgrounds. For example, this spring she tabled at an event for artists in New York where everyone was so blown away by the Impossible Burger that everyone who tried it signed up for 10 Weeks to Vegan! Those were just a few of her total of 2,714 signups this spring.

Stacy Shepanek

Stacy does it all—from leafleting, virtual reality showings, coordinating community events, and presenting to hundreds about veganism throughout South Carolina, North Carolina, and Tennessee. This spring she leafleted to 8,728 people, did 235 virtual reality showings, and got 1,762 10 Weeks to Vegan signups.

Jackie Va

Jackie [right] does outreach in California through organizing a variety of engaging events to provide information and encourage others to adopt a vegan lifestyle. Her enthusiasm and knack for engaging people helped her sign up 1,553 people for 10 Weeks to Vegan and hand out 3,661 leaflets this spring.

Emmanuel Marquez

In addition to supporting outreach by numerous volunteers in Mexico, Emmanuel Marquez showed virtual reality videos to 867 people—bringing his total to more than 5,000 over the past two years! He also handed leaflets to 27,375 people and got 1,527 10 Weeks to Vegan signups.

Ben Umholtz

Ben volunteered with Vegan Outreach in the past and became an official employee at the start of this spring semester. He already made a huge impact in the greater Ohio area during his first semester with VO, signing up 1,452 people for 10 Weeks to Vegan and distributing 29,125 leaflets.

Victor Flores

While managing our Community Events department, Victor also did his own outreach in New Mexico and Texas. He handed out 2,997 leaflets and signed up 1,363 people for 10 Weeks to Vegan. In addition to this, he also organizes community meals, feeds vegan food to those in need, holds restaurant events, and has convinced some businesses to add vegan items to their menu.

Steve Erlsten

This list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning our GOAT—Greatest of All-Time—Steve Erlsten! Steve began leafleting in an official capacity for Vegan Outreach in the fall of 2013—and he hasn’t stopped since! He became VO’s greatest leafleter this past spring semester, having personally handed out over one million pro-veg leaflets and adding 19,275 to his total this spring. Congratulations, Steve, and thank you for your dedication!

These activists’ work is far from flashy—they wake up early, lug heavy boxes, and remain on their feet for hours at a time. We’re happy to be able to celebrate them any chance we get. Thank you for helping us do so! And thank you, of course, to the donors whose generosity made this work possible!

Hostel Chain Zostel to Launch Vegan Options at Eight Locations in India and Nepal


Zostel, one of the largest hostel chains in Asia, will serve vegan food options at cafeterias in eight of its locations: Agra, Gokarna, Jodhpur, Rishikesh, Udaipur and Varanasi in India, and Kathmandu and Pokhara in Nepal.

We initiated a partnership with Zostel as part of our Green Tuesday campaign, which aims to help institutions reduce animal-based foods in favor of vegan options. Expanding on the success of Zostel’s November 2018 launch of vegan options in its cafeteria in Agra, the initiative aids people with varied food choices.

“Zostel has always been about letting individuals make their choices and follow their hearts,” said Dharmaveer Chauhan, Co-founder and CEO of Zostel. Chauhan continued, “With the help of Vegan Outreach, we provided our chefs and the community with information about vegan food and its preparation. Being able to offer such options to travelers from all over the world would never have been possible without the Vegan Outreach team. We are thrilled for this initiative and look forward to continuing this campaign towards sustainable travel while unlocking the world for everyone to experience as they desire, freely and fearlessly.”

This menu change at Zostel’s eight locations will result in more plant-based foods being accessible to thousands of people.

“Globally and in India, people are adopting a vegan diet as a healthy and sustainable alternative for themselves and the environment,” said Richa Mehta, India Campaigns Manager for Vegan Outreach. “This initiative by Zostel will not only cater to numerous vegan tourists travelling in India, but also set a milestone for the inclusive and sustainable hospitality industry.”

Impact of 10 Weeks to Vegan


10 Weeks to Vegan is a weekly email series from Vegan Outreach containing tips, recipes, and resources for those interested in learning more about veganism. To assess the effectiveness of our program, we surveyed participants before and after they began the email series.

The pre-test is emailed to participants the same week they sign up for 10 Weeks to Vegan. We send the post-test approximately two weeks after people have finished the entire 10 Weeks to Vegan series. To encourage participation, we offer a $50 Amazon gift card to two randomly chosen participants per month.

Response Rate

We first started sending out the U.S./Canada pre-test in September 2018, and as of late June 2019, it’s gone to 39,350 people. Of those, 2,787 participants completed the survey, for a response rate of 7.1%.

So far, we’ve sent the post-test to 1,649 people. Of those, 309 completed the survey, for a response rate of 18.7%.


Below are the results from the 309 participants who received the U.S./Canada version of 10 Weeks to Vegan and took both the pre-test and the post-test.


At the time of the pre-test, 262 people self-identified as non-vegan (either meat-eater or vegetarian) and 47 self-identified as vegan. After completing 10 Weeks to Vegan, 203 people self-identified as non-vegan and 106 people self-identified as vegan. In other words, 23% of those who identified as non-vegan at the start of the program identified as vegan after completing it.

Self Identify

Food Intake

New Vegans

Although some participants identified a certain way (as described in the Self-Identification section above), their reported food intake didn’t always line up with those labels. The pre-test asks how often participants ate various animal products in the last month and the post-test asks how often in the last week. When we take into consideration participants’ reported diet, we see that there was actually a net gain of 16 vegetarians and 34 vegans.

Food Intake

Elimination of Categories of Animal Products

We also looked at how often people ate certain animal products when they started 10 Weeks to Vegan compared to after completing it. There were statistically significant reductions in all categories of animal products.








Reasons For Signing Up

Participants cited various and often multiple reasons for signing up for 10 Weeks to Vegan. For most, their motivation behind signing up for the program fell into a few main categories:

  • Health (65)
  • Help with transitioning to veganism (65)
  • Recipes (55)
  • Insight into veganism (45)
  • Animal welfare (39)
  • Environment (33)
  • Reduce animal product consumption (20)

Breaking Down Results by Signup Source

We also looked at whether results varied based on how we signed people up for the series (for example, college outreach vs using online ads). Of those who had completed the post-test survey, 133 people signed up in-person and 176 signed up online. Overall, those who signed up online showed greater change.

Based on the question which asked participants to self-identify, we found that:

  • 9% of participants who signed up in-person identified as non-vegan during the pre-test and as vegan at the post-test
  • 33% of participants who signed up online identified as non-vegan during the pre-test and as vegan at the post-test

After assessing how often people ate certain animal products when they started 10 Weeks to Vegan compared to after completing it, we found that:

  • 7% of participants who signed up in-person were categorized as non-vegan during the pre-test and as vegan at the post-test
  • 21% of participants who signed up online were categorized as non-vegan during the pre-test and as vegan at the post-test

Additionally, we broke down results by animal product consumption before and after completing 10 Weeks to Vegan and found the following:

While we want the highest conversion rate possible, it’s the absolute number of vegans that is the most important metric for us. When doing outreach, our tactic is normally to sign up anyone who’s willing, even if they haven’t been previously primed to be interested in going vegan.


This research indicates that Vegan Outreach’s 10 Weeks to Vegan series is having a great deal of success in motivating and helping people to become vegetarian and vegan.

Top Indian University to reduce milk usage by 14% in cafeterias


Students at Lovely Professional University, Jalandhar—one of the largest private universities in India—worked with Vegan Outreach and the school administration to change the cafeteria menu. The new menu will introduce two non-dairy beverages and reduce the use of dairy milk by 14.3% in the next six months!

This change will not only make a big impact by reducing the suffering of dairy cows in India but also help the environment and make afternoon tea more enjoyable for the residential students. The students approached Vegan Outreach to bring its Green Tuesday Initiative to the campus in Jalandhar which has the world’s largest residential capacity with over 30,000 students.

The Green Tuesday Initiative is a new campaign by Vegan Outreach to help institutions in India reduce their environmental footprint by making small changes in the food they serve. So far, Vegan Outreach has collaborated with six educational institutions in North India. Help us reach even more institutions by making a donation by May 31st—it will be matched dollar-for-dollar for twice the impact!

If you’re a student or a working professional in India, please write to us at [email protected] to bring the Green Tuesday Initiative to your campus or company.

5 Million Vegans

Adult US Vegans

In May, the Vegetarian Resource Group released the results of their Harris poll estimating the number of U.S. adult vegetarians and vegans (1). Rather than asking individuals to self-define their eating behavior, they classified vegetarians and vegans by asking people to identify foods they never eat.

The poll found that 4% of U.S. adults are vegetarian (including vegans) and 2% are vegan. Applying their results to the U.S. adult population shows that 5.1 million adults consider themselves to be vegan (2). This is up from VRG’s 2016 poll which estimated 3.7 million U.S. adults to be vegan (3). Between polls, the adult U.S. population increased by about 3.5% while the U.S. adult vegan population increased by about 37%.


2. How Many People Are Vegan?

2. US Population by Year. Found U.S. adult population to be 254,000,000 as of December 2018.

3. The Vegetarian Resource Group Asks in a 2016 National Poll Conducted by Harris Poll


Save the Date—April 10th for National Day of College Outreach

Be part of a nationwide event to empower college students to go vegan!

On April 10th, activists like you will hand out leaflets on local college campuses, spreading the message of veganism and promoting our 10 Weeks to Vegan challenge. This fun volunteer opportunity is for everyone—not just college students!

Whether you leaflet on your own or recruit a group of friends to help, it’s bound to be a rewarding day of outreach with a big impact for people, animals, and the environment.

Complete this short form to sign up and claim your local campus!

Campaign Success—Panda Express to Add Vegan Options!

Panda Express to Add Vegan Options

Panda Express, the country’s largest fast casual Chinese food restaurant chain, will be removing the chicken broth and animal-based seasonings from its Eggplant Tofu and Chow Mein dishes. This change follows our national campaign which spurred nearly 5,000 petition signatures and hundreds of requests via social media for vegan menu items. 

By adding plant-based dishes, Panda Express joins a long list of companies catering to the growing demand for vegetarian and vegan food. In The Economist article “The year of the vegan,” correspondent John Parker writes that, “Sales of vegan foods in America in the year to June 2018 rose ten times faster than food sales as a whole.” Carl’s Jr., Taco Bell, TGI Fridays, and A&W are among the companies that have added vegan food to their restaurant menus.

While seemingly small, this change by Panda Express will make a big impact. Not only will the chain contribute less to animal suffering by using more plant-based ingredients, but it will send a powerful message to other chains—this is financially beneficial and if we can do it, so can you. Both menu items will be vegan by the end of February, but we recommend checking with your local store before you order them.