Energy Company Ecotricity has launched a 'vegan electricity' tariff that it has branded the world's first.
According to the company, the majority of consumers - including vegetarians and vegans - are unaware that electricity and gas are often made using the by-products of the meat and dairy industries, including animal body parts.
Ecotricity hopes to highlight what it calls the 'secret ingredient in the nation's power supply' by launching its new vegan-friendly package, which is backed this up with Vegan Society registration for its electricity, with gas to follow.
According to Ecotricity - a longstanding policy of refusing to buy electricity or gas from animal related sources - the use of animal by-products in power generation is 'euphemistically described' by one of the Big Six energy companies as 'recycling'.
"The practice of using animal by-products and even dead animals to make electricity and gas in Britain is widespread, not just among the Big Six, but among smaller and even ‘green' suppliers too. It's a relatively well-kept secret, typically disclosed only in regulatory materials," says the company.
Dead salmon from factory fish farms in Scotland, and pig slurry from a factory farm at the centre of animal cruelty allegations are just two of the examples of animal use by power companies.
In a statement sent to Plant Based News, Dale Vince, Founder of Ecotricity, said: "For millions of Britons there's a secret ingredient in their power, energy companies big, small, brown and green are using the by-products of factory farming to make electricity and gas.
"That's not against the law, but it shouldn't be a secret, any more than the ingredients in the food we buy should be secret - energy suppliers need to come clean.
"We need clear labelling of energy sourcing so that people can make informed choices."
'Suprising and shocking'
According to Vince, who is also Chairman of vegan football club Forest Green Rovers, a large - and growing - number of people across the country make consumer choices aimed at avoiding animal exploitation - but end up 'unwittingly supporting the meat industry with their energy bills'.
"It's a surprising and rather shocking new frontier for the issues of veganism and animal rights," he said. "It's not just the Big Six guilty of this – many independents and those who call themselves ‘ethical' or ‘green' are doing it too, rather shamefully.
"So today we're launching a vegan version. While our electricity and gas have been vegan for as long as we've been able we're backing this up with registration from the Vegan Society so that people can be clear. Electricity and gas might seem to be an unlikely place to find the things many of us want to avoid – but it's there."
Chantelle Adkins, Head of Business Development at The Vegan Society, added: "Animals are needlessly used in almost every area of life, and electricity is sadly not an exception.
"As vegans, we strive to avoid all animal use; it's disheartening when we're not able to do so.
"We hope that by highlighting the use of animal by-products to generate electricity we can help people realise just how widespread animal use is in our society and inspire them to avoid it."