With World Vegan Day on November 1, World Vegan Month will kick off, aiming to raise awareness of the health, environmental and animal cruelty issues involved in the production of meat, dairy, fish, eggs, leather, etc. wool and other products derived from living beings.
Dozens of activists in England, Brazil, Australia and India have contacted Omri Paz for consultations in recent days, he tells ISRAEL21C, after establishing Vegan Friendly in 2012 to promote and improve the vegan lifestyle in Israel.
Referring to the latest statistics that 5% of Israelis are vegan, 4% vegetarian and 8% flexitarian (semi-vegetarian), Paz says that “We are considered the most vegan country in the world, things are happening here earlier than others. place. »
For example, Domino’s Pizza, which Israel chose to test its first-ever dairy-free pizzas following a Vegan Friendly Facebook campaign in 2013, sponsored the world’s largest vegan festival hosted in Israel in October 2014.
Currently, the Vegan Friendly logo appears at 1,500 Israeli eateries and 6,500 products, including Adidas new leather-free shoes, which also debuted in Israel.
Another example is this TV commercial of a couple in a supermarket buying meat for a meal. The woman refuses a frozen package and asks the butcher for extra fresh lamb. A smiling assistant appears and hands the bewildered woman a cuddly live lamb
« Do you want minced meat or packaged? » he asks, and it is clear she will not eat that lamb.
35 percent of the Israeli population saw this TV commercial from the Israeli non-profit organization Vegan Friendly. An independent survey found that about 150,000 Israelis said the ad had influenced them to stop or reduce their consumption of meat.
The commercial was translated by vegan activists abroad into languages such as Cantonese, Hindi, French, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese.
“As of August 2019, about 50 new companies joined each month that were certified as ‘vegan friendly’ or 100% vegan,” says Paz.
Even during the current coronavirus pandemic, the number is growing. The Giraffe restaurant chain of nine restaurants is one of the last to add a vegan menu.
In addition, more than 30 companies – including Microsoft Israel, AppsFlyer and Helen Doron ESL Learning Centers – have joined the new Vegan Friendly workplace certification program.
This means that these companies are committed to providing vegan options in their kitchens, cafeterias, off-site events, employee gifts, and even office furnishings (no leather). “And the essence of the business cannot be something that exploits animals,” adds Paz.
But then how come Israel has become the unofficial vegan capital of the world?
According to Paz, this is because of the combination that Israel is a small country with strong social media; a culture that encourages people to voice their opinions; and « really effective vegan organizations with revolutionary campaigns. »
The majority of Israeli vegans cite moral reasons as motivation, Paz added.
« Jewish values are also a factor, » believes Professor Richard Schwartz, president of the Israel-based interfaith Association of Ethical and Religious Vegetarians.
« We are supposed to be a light to the nations, » said Schwartz, author of books including: Vegan Revolution: Saving Our World, Revitalizing Judaism .
“Animal-centered diets run counter to and contradict Jewish mandates to preserve human health, protect animal welfare, protect the environment, conserve resources, help feed hungry people and pursue peace,” he said. to ISRAEL21c.
Schwartz added, “I hope people will become more aware of the negative health effects of animal products, how animals are treated in the meat and dairy industry, how animal farming contributes to climate threats and world hunger and poverty, and the fact that this terrible pandemic is the result of animal abuse, as well as swine flu, bird flu and SARS. ”
“There is no doubt that Israel is a world leader in veganism,” said Jessica Sandler, recently emigrated to Israel, an adviser to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and his former VP for regulatory testing.
Not only does it have the highest number of vegans in the world per capita and an army supplying vegan meals, clothing and boots to its civilian soldiers. Israel ranks second to the US in lab-based meat and dairy startups, and the prime minister recently appointed an animal activist as an advisor on animal matters. “
To learn more about how Israel is a major source of alternative protein R & D, including vegetable meat, eggs and dairy analogues, as well as cultured (laboratory grown) meat, click here.
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