A group of Canadian citizens have formed the lobby group “Vegan Option Canada” to help make plant-based food options mandatory in the public sector.
The group, which describes itself as a “collective of committed citizens sharing a common dream and working together to make this dream a reality,” is inspired by legislation passed in Portugal last year. After persistent efforts by the Portuguese Vegetarian Association, vegan options became mandatory in public canteens across the country. Similarly, Vegan Option Canada seeks to amend Canadian law to ensure that vegan meal options are available in all public institutions including schools, universities, hospitals, and care centers for the elderly.
“People’s dietary choices often are not merely preferences and can reflect deeply held ethical beliefs,” notes the group, adding that in the absence of vegan options, a citizen’s “personal integrity and human rights are violated.”
It continues, “The fact that a vegan person is forced to eat animal products can be at best, psychologically traumatic, at worst, harmful to… health.“
Already, the group is engaging public support. A formal paper petition sponsored by Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet MP is circulating around vegan-friendly eateries and events across the nation. The group is aiming toto gain 85,000 signatures before January, when the petition will be presented to the federal government.
A less formal online petition also boasts over 18,000 signatures. This petition, which the lobby group will use as a “bonus reference,” also encourages non-vegans to sign because everyone benefits from a more diverse menu and the possibility of choosing healthier meals.
In the future, Vegan Option Canada also plans to present parallel petitions at the provincial level to address institutions under the provincial jurisdiction.
A VEGAN-FRIENDLY NATION
Veganism was a top searched trend in 2017 according to Google Canada, and a study conducted by Mintel earlier this year showed that more than half of Canadians are opting for vegan alternatives over traditional meat. This followed a Canadian Meat Council-funded study which revealed that the nation is consuming less meat than recommended by Canada’s Food Guide.
Similarly, according to data obtained by Statistics Canada this summer, Canadians are drinking significantly less milk than they once did. Even the government is taking notice, investing $150 million into farms focusing on vegan protein.
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