Vegan Vs Vegetarian Naming

Posted On
July 27, 2018
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The 2018 between the New Zealand Vegetarian Society (NZVS) and its Christchurch branch has highlighted the controversy around vegetarian versus vegan naming conventions. 

The newly established Christchurch Vegan Society (CVS) wishes to rebrand with a more ‘vegan’ centred approach while the NZ Vegetarian Society feels the term ‘vegetarian’ encompasses both veganism and vegetarianism equally.

Here at Vegetarians NZ we believe veg*n’s are a diverse bunch of people all with differing opinions, beliefs and reasons behind their choices – it is essential that we respect each other’s right to make individual choices. What’s important is that we share the same goal – inspiring people to think more about the treatment of animals, environmental effects and health effects. 

Types Of Vegetarianism

Understanding the differences between the levels of vegetarianism can help us gain a greater appreciation for this debate and why some feel the distinction is necessary.


Whether for environmental, ethical or health related reasons (or a mixture of all three) vegans do not consume any animal products. This includes any items containing animal by-products like gelatin, lanolin or beeswax. This means no red meat, pork, chicken, fish, honey, dairy or eggs.

Some vegans also choose not to purchase clothing, household items or other everyday things that are made from animals. For example, leather or wool products.


While the term vegetarian is commonly used to describe those who choose not to eat the meat of animals and their by-products, the actual real-life application of vegetarianism often takes a broader approach. The majority of vegetarians tend to focus more on the diet side of the equation, with more flexibility when it comes to everyday products and household items that are made from animal products, products such as leather and wool.

  • Ovo Vegetarian. These types of vegetarians eat eggs but no meat or dairy products.
  • Lacto Vegetarian. These types of vegetarians eat dairy products such as milk and cheese, but no meat or eggs.
  • Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian. These types of vegetarians eat dairy products and eggs, but no meat.

Pescatarian (sometimes spelt Pescetarian)

Although not technically a type of vegetarian, Pescatarian’s tend to restrict meat consumption to seafood only, so no red meat, pork or chicken. Also sometimes called “semi-vegetarian”.


The Pollotarian also follows the semi-vegetarian concept, restricting meat consumption to chicken or other poultry. No red meat, pork or seafood.


While technically not vegetarian, the term flexitarian is used to loosely describe those who choose to eat many of their meals meat-free.


The term veg*n refers to all types of people on the vegan to vegetarian continuum.


A phrase that is becoming more popular when referring to veg*nism, the term ‘plant-based’ also embraces both the vegetarian and vegan communities.

For more information on becoming a vegetarian check out our article on ‘Going Vegetarian’ or if you are interested in finding out more about farm animal cruelty in New Zealand take a look at this one on the Voiceless Animal Cruelty Index. Already a vegetarian and thinking about going vegan? See this  helpful guide to purchasing vegan products in New Zealand.

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