In Mongolia, animal dung is collected from livestock and used as fire fuel. I think it's used because some areas they live in are poor in wood - it's used to build gers, but too rare to burn.

This answer about whether honey is vegan talks about honey being an "animal product made by bees for their own use", which wouldn't apply for dung. However, it is an animal product. Is dung considered non-vegan?

Dung isn't mentioned in Is there a canon for veganism?

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    As compared to honey, dung is much more vegan. The animal in question has discarded it and moved on, whereas bees actively collect honey to store for later.
    – DS R
    Commented May 8, 2017 at 16:27
  • Although I much prefer the focus of this question, mentioning “dung” rather than a broader “fertilizer”, it is a possible duplicate of vegetarianism.stackexchange.com/q/587/526 Commented Jun 21, 2017 at 4:42
  • There's over 8 billion animals on Earth that can consent to giving their dung. Unfortunately, it's often dumped in fresh water, mixed with chemicals, and routed into the ocean. I think it would make sense to utilize human fecal matter before considering exploiting the waste of animals who cannot consent to it vegetarianism.stackexchange.com/a/2695/4031 Commented Jul 20, 2023 at 5:45

1 Answer 1


In principle, it's non-vegan, but whether a vegan would hold its use ethical or not depends a bit on the situation (and possibly on the vegan).

Uses of dung

As far as I know there are two main uses for dung:

  • Collecting, processing and using it as fertiliser ("Dünger" in German)
  • Collecting, drying and burning it as fuel

If you use the dung, you justify the keeping of animals

Whenever you follow any of these practices, you're giving animal husbandry a further purpose and economical justification. Disposal of dung would otherwise be a (possibly costly) counterincentive, but if you make it useful, keeping animals becomes cheaper, thus effectively supporting the industry.

This is why some vegans believe that manure should not be used, promoting e.g. Vegan organic agriculture. The same should hold true for other uses of dung than fertiliser, e.g. fire fuel.

This being said, I'm not to judge about Mongolian traditions that developed in scarcity of wood. But if there were two businesses producing the same thing, and one of them burning dried dung and the other wood, I'd buy from the one burning wood for ethical reasons. (Of course if there were a third business running on renewables, I'd buy from them, but that's a different story.)

Wild dung

It's possibly a different matter if you'd just collect dung from freely roaming animals. You're still interfering with the course of nature if you'd do it on a large scale (e.g. trailing behind a gnu migration or similar) and robbing it of natural fertiliser. But you're not directly depriving animals of their freedom for it.

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    Related: vegetarianism.stackexchange.com/questions/292/… Unfortunately Vegan Organic Farms are still uncommon, but they are growing.
    – ecc
    Commented Apr 25, 2017 at 10:43
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    WIth dung comes an assumed intention (on the animal's side) to discard :) Commented Apr 25, 2017 at 11:00
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    @rackandboneman, yes, but with great dung comes great (environmental) responsibility as well!
    – Turion
    Commented Apr 26, 2017 at 10:17
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    "But you're not directly depriving animals of their freedom for it." Well yes you are, because some small animals thrive on those, which you will harm when using the dung.
    – Fatalize
    Commented Apr 27, 2017 at 14:39
  • @Fatalize, absolutely yes, I'd just call it "indirect". Or do you mean animals living in the dung? Hadn't thought of these yet. (Bugs don't bug me that much, personally.)
    – Turion
    Commented Apr 27, 2017 at 15:39

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