A European Citizens’ Initiative VEGAN MEAL aims to ensure that vegan food is available in all places that sell food in an effort to encourage sustainable eating.

Last October, the European Commission registered a European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) titled European Citizens’ Initiative for VEGAN MEAL, which is now open with the aim of collecting one million signatures.

The initiative calls for legislation to explicitly make vegan alternatives always available in private and public spaces selling food and drinks in Europe.

The European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) is a mechanism that enables EU citizens to participate in the development of the EU. The Commission will have to react if a European Citizens’ Initiative receives one million statements of support within one year from at least seven member states.

It is noteworthy that the Commission could decide to take the request forward or not and will be required to explain its reasoning. The European Citizens’ Initiative for VEGAN MEAL deadline is on the 5th of April, 2024.

Great benefits for the planet

The organizers, represented by the Italian citizen Paola Sgarbazzin, say: “The European Citizens’ Initiative for VEGAN MEAL asks for the introduction of the vegan alternative in the sale of food and beverages to the public in Europe by law with the hope that the participation of European citizens leads to the approval of an EU law with great benefits for the planet, i.e., in mitigation of the climate crisis, extinction of wild species, deforestation, better use of land, defense of marine life, food waste and malnutrition.”

The VEGAN MEAL initiative states:

  • Vegan alternatives must be available in schools, canteens, hospitals, bars, restaurants, pizza parlours, sandwich bars, ice cream shops, and motorway service areas to respect vegan choices and be kind to animals.
  • Increasing the consumption of plant-based food is one way to fight the climate crisis. It would reduce pollution from production, distribution, and storage, and therefore energy savings, as well as reducing contamination and alteration of the planet.
  • A vegan diet is a sustainable choice that is cheaper than other diets. It avoids the exploitation and killing of animals and changes the production and employment activities associated with it, creating a fairer world for everyone involved.

Not contrary to EU values

By accepting this new initiative, the Commission accepts that requesting vegan meals is neither frivolous nor contrary to EU values. Creating laws that make them compulsory is within the power of its remit, says vegan zoologist and author Jordi Casamitjana. In 2020, he was involved in a case where the UK accepted ethical veganism as a protected philosophical belief.

“The European Citizens’ Initiative VEGAN MEAL for those who are vegan, for those who would like to become vegan, for those who respect the right to find always available the vegan alternative everywhere in European countries, and to take action for climate change offering more plant-based food to the EU consumers in their daily life,” states the initiative on its website.

Original source: https://vegconomist.com