Digital Vegans: with Happy Cow founder, iPhone apps, London Vegans, and Kerry McCarthy MP
How has the digital revolution changed being vegan? We talk to Eric Brent, founder of leading vegetarian restaurant finder Happy Cow. Diana reviews smartphone apps. Ian finds out how the digital revolution changed his local vegan group in London.
The age of information brings together the Beijing Vegans and the Vegan Club of St. Petersburg in Russia and makes being vegan a lot easier. How has veganism changed? And what are the challenges to older organisations?
Veggie Restaurant Finders
VegDining, also launched in 1999. Looking for places to eat in London, I could see some problems with the interface (the seven districts of London were all called simply “London” and some were impossible to select) and content (it listed Otarian London, which closed in 2011, as “opening in 2010” whereas Happy Cow has removed it).
VegGuide is a project of Minnesota USA group Compassionate Action for Animals along with national US group Mercy for Animals and joined this month by Vegan Outreach. They’ve been going since 2002, share their information via an open API and a Creative Commons share-alike licence; but have no apps. Their content seems up to date.
Most local vegan groups list restaurants; that’s too many to mention here. Listener Stephen Fenwick-Paul has created BunnyGo.ORG [UPDATE 2016: Site now down], which maps restaurants in the UK, and has an iPhone app and API.
Diana mentioned these iPhone Apps:
- VeganXpress with vegan options at major chains (mostly in the US), vegan candy/junk food, wine and beer
- Recipe finders such as The VegWeb vegan recipe finder (gone, as of 2018-06-24)
- VegOut (which Eric said wasn’t being updated; there is the official Happy Cow app)
- iVegan and AnimalFree (gone 2018-06-24) for looking up ingredients
Ian mentioned VeganEasy (gone 2018-06-24) which also uses the alcohol lists from Barnivore.
Some of these, such as Animal Free, are also available for Android. Vegan Eating Out offers a similar fast-food list to VeganXpress, although it includes foods with honey. Eric Brent recommended the barcode-scanning Vegeble for Android (now gone).
Jasmine Singer reviewed a range of apps in January 2011, suggesting that if you’re a software developer looking to “change the world for animals”, an Android app would be a good place to start.
A couple of our contributors appealed specifically for volunteers. Eric Brent would like Happy Cow to develop its Android app, and would like to hear from an Android developer. Stephen Fenwick-Paul is also appealing for folk to help him test his UK restaurant finder BunnyGo [UPDATE 2016: Site now gone].
We link to VeganFeed.com‘s list of other podcasts in our “help” section.
Our thanks to contributors Eric Brent of Happy Cow, Peter Despard of London Vegans, Stephen Fenwick Paul of ActiVeg, Sara from Belgium, and vegan lawmaker Kerry McCarthy MP. Digital media artist Robb Masters wrote our theme.