Exploring Vegan tattoo activism

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There are so many ways of effectively advocating for the vegan lifestyle. Street outreach, direct action, vegan food, fitness endeavours to name but a few. Vegan clothing displaying animal rights themes and representing organisations are also becoming increasingly popular. Anything that helps to make veganism more current and mainstream is advantageous for the movement. 

Some individuals though feel the need to go one step further and permanently make additions to their skin. Vegan tattoo designs vary widely. Some depict animals and others rallying cries to be active and continue this fight for animal liberation. 

Image credit: Kelly Violet

Tattoos like this represent a political manifesto and a strong animal rights themed agenda. They are another way of giving the animals a voice and demonstrating a strong desire for change. The vegan symbols indicate commitment and a sense of collective. 

Vegan Tattoos: Your Cruelty-Free Guide

Activists that have such tattoos are also making a permanent statement to themselves: they will continue with their activism and their veganism. It has become a large part of their identities and they will continue to work for a vegan world. 

Image credit: Kelly Violet

40,000 tattoos for animal liberation 

Alfredo Meschi, an Italian writer and activist, has the highest number of vegan-themed tattoos. His entire body is covered with 40,000 small crosses in honour of the number of animals killed each second in the world. 

Meschi said “The era of ‘present moment art’ begins. And in the present moment, we all need to face the biggest challenge of our history – saving a planet that is dying and interrupting a holocaust of sentient beings. The first step in accomplishing these two perspectives is becoming ethical vegans. And we can do it now. Every second counts” as quoted by Livekindly in 2020.

Image credit: Massimo Giovannini

Such a high volume of tattoos raises questions and curiosity. Meschi has turned his body into a piece of art-based activism; it has gained him international attention and a platform in which he can speak for the animals. When anyone asks him what his ink represents, he can inform them about the horrors of animal agriculture. 

As such, tattoos become another form of effective activism and a means of raising awareness. Even a small ‘V’ has great significance. 

Vegan Ink 

Tattoo ink isn’t always vegan. Some inks contain animal-derived ingredients such as glycerine, shellac, gelatine and bone char according to PETA. Tattoo aftercare can also contain dairy products and beeswax. 

Vegans should remember to specify that they want vegan-friendly ink when booking a tattoo and to source their own plant-based brands for aftercare. Tattoos can be made vegan very easily without sacrificing quality. 

If you need any more information, please check out our cruelty-free guide to vegan tattoos. 


*Cover image: kellyviolence

Sean Barrs
Sean Barrs
Sean is a vegan activist and academic. He is writing his English Literature PhD thesis on the politics of diet. He is also an ultra-runner and a proud member of Vegan Runners UK. In the past, he has written for numerous publications including Plant Based News. He came to The Vegan Review to help promote the work of others, he is especially interested in writing on individuals who advocate for the vegan lifestyle through sports and other forms of activism.