Powerful Mobilization Against Legislation Banning Vegetarian Schoolchildren from Cafeterias


The decree can be read in French at http://tinyurl.com/DecretCantines.

Powerful-mobilization -against-legislation-banning-vegetarian-schoolchildren-from-cafeteri as Powerful mobilization against legislation banning vegetarian schoolchildren from cafeterias Press Release (October 24, 2011)

 Powerful mobilization against legislation banning vegetarian schoolchildren from cafeterias Seventeen organizations call for a gathering this Wednesday 26 October in front of the French Ministry of Agriculture to demand the repeal of decree 2011-1277 and of the accompanying governmental order that ban vegetarianism from public and private school cafeterias. In less than one week, over six thousand signatures have been collected demanding the repeal of these regulations. Numerous foreign organizations and individuals support the initiative and are preparing to express their dissatisfaction to the French embassies of their countries.

The Citizens’ Initiative for the Rights of Vegetarians (ICDV) points out the contradiction between these acts of the French government and the right of freedom of conscience as established by the United Nations declaration of human rights, which includes the right to live in accordance with one’s beliefs. Powerful mobilization against the recent regulations concerning catering services Wednesday 26 October, at 11:30 am, a protest will be held in front of the office of the General Administration of Food (DGAL) of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, 251 rue de Vaugirard in Paris.

 Additionally, a petition demanding the repeal of decree number 2011-1277 and of its accompanying order has gathered over six thousand signatures in less than one week, many coming from abroad. Numerous foreign organizations, vegetarian or not, have been offended by France’s failure to uphold the freedom of belief and by the measures making it impossible for vegetarian children to nourish themselves properly in school cafeterias. Viva!, an English organization, issued a press release entitled “Having Banned the Burqa, French Now Ban Les Veggies.”

The decrees The decree 2011-1227 of 30 September 2011 and the order of 30 September 2011, published in the Journal Officiel on 2 October 2011, quite simply make vegetarianism illegal in school cafeterias. They do so first by making the regular presence of meat and fish in the meals mandatory, hence preventing vegetarian students from eating in the cafeterias every day; secondly, by making it such that those cafeterias up to now have offered alternative menus are now illegal (1).

The position of the Citizens’ Initiative for the Rights of Vegetarians Numerous people throughout the world are deeply convinced that the consumption of animals and of the products of animal exploitation is wrong. Vegetarianism and veganism are the inescapable practical expressions of this belief. The recent governmental regulations undermine the fundamental individual liberties by limiting the free exercise of personal belief as proclaimed by the United Nations: “Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right shall include freedom to have a religion or whatever belief of his choice, and freedom, either individually or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching.” (2)

“Isn’t it right for the government to ensure that school cafeterias serve well-balanced meals?” “Certainly, so long as alternatives are taken into account,” answers David Olivier, spokesperson of the ICDV. “The decree and order specify that every meal is to include a ‘protein dish,’ which is to be exclusively of animal origins (meat, fish, eggs, or cheese), thus disregarding the abundant availability of forms of plant protein. They also impose dairy products in every meal, purportedly because it is the only way to cover the needs for calcium, disregarding the plant and mineral alternatives. It is quite possible to devise well-balanced vegetarian and even vegan meals, as is regularly done in other countries.” “By imposing such an abundance of animal products under the pretext of offering schoolchildren well-balanced meals, the government spreads the idea that only a meat-based diet can satisfy dietary needs. Furthermore, it places vegetarian children in front of the following dilemma: to consume animals, despite their beliefs, or to eat inadequate meals – sometimes just bread and water ­ which flies in the face of the stated goal of the regulations.” “Whoever is unhappy with the school cafeterias can simply choose to feed their children at home!” “Not all parents of vegetarian children are in a situation that allows them to bring them home for lunch or to hire a nanny,” notes Agnese Pignataro, mother of a three-year-old girl. “To impose such a solution would be to discriminate against the less affluent families. Moreover, by depriving children of the opportunity to socialize in the school cafeteria, this decree makes the children’s beliefs a cause of marginalization. Freedom of belief also implies that the parents have the right to choose for their children an education in agreement with their own convictions.” “Must school cafeterias conform to each and every demand?” “Cafeterias are a service that satisfies a need,” points out Sara Fergé, schoolteacher. “Thus they must adapt to the needs of those who use them ­ the students, the teachers and other members of staff ­ rather than the reverse. That is how it is in other countries, where the cafeterias offer multiple choices every day, including a vegetarian menu, since these choices are designed with the needs of the population in mind. Why is it that what is possible elsewhere seems impossible in France?” Because they prevent vegetarian children from having access to a well-balanced diet in school cafeterias, because they spread the idea that only meat-based meals can be nutritionally well balanced, because they violate the principle of freedom of belief, the Citizens’ Initiative for the Rights of Vegetarians demands the repeal of these laws that impose the consumption of animal products in school cafeterias. Signed by: Animal Amnistie (Toulouse) ; Animalsace ; APSARES ; Aquitaine décroissance ; Association Végétarienne & Végétalienne d’InformationS (A.V.I.S) ; CLAM (Montpellier) ; CLEDA (Paris) ; Dignité Animale (Lyon) ; Initiative Citoyenne pour les Droits des Végétariens ; L214 ; Les Animaux de Maurice ; Mouvement socialiste écologiste et autogestionnaire ; Réseau Antispéciste Poitou Charentes ; NEA (Rennes) ; Respect Animal (Lyon) ; Rêv’Animal ; Vegfest ; Veggie Pride === Contact : David OLIVIER, +33 6 42 06 07 47 Or: contact@icdv.info Further information on http://www.icdv.info/. === (1) Decree 2011-1227 of 30 September 2011 ; governmental order of 30 September 2011, published in the Journal Officiel on 2 October 2011 (http://tinyurl.com/DecretCantines); partial English translation here. (2) Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief, proclaimed by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 25 November 1981 (http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/religion.htm), article 1.1.

Press release from EVU:

The French Government Outlaws Vegetarianism in Schools Whoever believes that animals are not ours to eat is now in France a second-class citizen.

EUROPEAN VEGETARIAN UNION – PRESS RELEASE 14 October 2011 A governmental order issued on October 2, 2011(1)

has determined that all meals served in school canteens in France must contain animal products, and that meat and fish will be served at a certain minimum frequency. This implies that by law from now on no vegetarian can eat at any public or private school in France. Six million schoolchildren are now forced to eat animal flesh, whether they wish to or not. For many families lunch at home is not an option. At best, a vegetarian student will be allowed to leave the meat on the plate, and consequently suffer from inadequate and imbalanced meals. Following a law voted last year by the French Parliament(2),

similar decrees will be taken shortly regarding almost all forms of catering from kindergarten to hospital, prisons and retirement homes. Vegetarianism will then have effectively been banned for a large part of the population. These measures ostensibly aim at ensuring the nutritional quality of the meals. Animal flesh is imposed as the only source of good quality protein and iron and dairy products as the only sources of calcium, in disregard of the fact that all these nutrients can be obtained in adequate quantity and quality from plant and mineral sources. The internationally recognized fact that: appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes(3)

is flatly ignored. No practical considerations warrant a blanket prohibition of vegetarianism even in those canteens where the management is willing to offer vegetarian or vegan alternatives. These decrees are thus an arbitrary violation of the rights of the vegetarian citizens of France. The European Vegetarian Union wishes to point out that the decision that many citizens have taken not to eat animals is not a mere dietary whim or a nonconsequential choice of lifestyle, but follows, for many of them, from deeply held beliefs about the way animals should be treated. A democratic government cannot arbitrarily restrict the beliefs of its citizens nor the practice thereof. The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, which is binding on member states including France, holds that: Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right includes freedom to change religion or belief and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or in private, to manifest religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance.(4)

The public debate regarding animal rights and the moral status of animals is active in France as in many other countries. Citizens are entitled to choose freely where they stand on these issues, and those who believe that they cannot, in conscience, accept to eat animals must not be discriminated against. A government cannot settle a philosophical, ethical and political debate by restricting the rights of those who disagree with its own positions. For years, the official policy of the French government has been openly hostile to vegetarianism.(5)

 The French agriculture minister, Bruno Lemaire, declared in January 2010 that the government’s aim in determining its public nutritional policy was to defend the French agricultural model and specifically to counter initiatives such as those of Paul McCartney calling for a reduced consumption of meat.(6) The European Vegetarian Union demands that the recent governmental orders outlawing vegetarianism in school canteens be rescinded and that the French government respect the civil rights of its vegetarian citizens.

 Renato Pichler President European Vegetarian Union Niederfeldstrasse 92, CH-8408 Winterthur Fax: +41 (0)71 477 33 78 http://www.euroveg.eu / president@euroveg.eu Footnotes: 1. Décret n° 2011-1227 du 30 septembre 2011; arrêté du 30 septembre 2011. 2. “Law for the modernization of agriculture and fisheries”, published on July 27, 2010. 3. Position statement of the American Dietetic Association 4. Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, article 10.1 5.An example is the site mangerbouger.fr, where the only nutritional advice given to a teenager contemplating becoming a vegan is “By all means, do not follow that diet!”

www.mangerbouger.fr/pro/IMG/pdf/guide_adolescents-2.pdf, page 11). 6.


FlashLeFigaroHaving Banned the Burqa,

French Now Ban Les Veggies Press release from Viva!, sent to english media… 19th October 2011 Having Banned the Burqa, French Now Ban Les Veggies THERE will be no meat-free days in French Schools for six million children following a new decree from the French Government ­ all school students will have to eat meat if they want lunch at school.

Taking a packed lunch is not an alternative as they are also banned. Following a law voted in last year, the French parliament has issued a decree (October) that it is forbidden to serve vegetarian meals to school children and that some animal products ­ fish, dairy, meat or offal ­ must be used in every meal. The ban will shortly be extended to kindergartens, hospitals, prisons, colleges and old people’s homes.

There is no opting out and so eating animals becomes a legal obligation in France and the only alternative is to starve. French agriculture minister, Bruno Lemaire, said in January, 2010, that the Government’s aim for nutrition was to defend the French agricultural model and counter initiatives such as those by Paul McCartney and Viva! calling for a reduced consumption of meat. The Government claims, against a battery of science proving the opposite, that the measures will improve the quality of meals served in schools because a balanced diet is impossible without animal products. “At the same time that a 100-year-old, life-long vegetarian man runs a marathon in Canada, the French Government decrees that a vegetarian diet is inadequate”, say Juliet Gellatley, director of vegetarian campaigning group, Viva! “France must be the only country in the world where the health authorities have given up reading scientific research. Whether it is the BMA, American Dietetic Association or the World Health Organisation, the findings are identical ­ animal products are at the heart of the degenerative diseases that kill most people in the West whilst plant-based diets reduce disease risk and extend life. It is the best start in life a child could have “This is such an assault of people’s freedom of conscience and freedom of choice that it drives a coach and horses through the supposed ideals of the European Union ­ by one of its greatest supporters. It is so extraordinary, so Hitlerian, that it is difficult to believe. Having done it in their own country, we’d better all look out because the next thing will be an EU directive banning vegetarianism along with crooked cucumbers and crosses.

The decree can be read in French at http://tinyurl.com/DecretCantines.

A French-led petition against the decree can be read in English at


For further information contact Juliet Gellatley or Tony Wardle on 07594 943222 or 07864 687057 or 0117 944 1000.

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