02/13/02 Vegetarian Meals

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A request to Ministries:


Dear Sir or Madam,

In October last year we submitted a request for the introduction of vegetarian meals in public institutions in the Republic of Croatia. We think that public institutions where there are vegetarians, such as hospitals, schools, kindergartens, army barracks or prisons must ensure vegetarian meals for people who follow that kind of diet.

The request followed by a petition with over 3,000 signatures was sent to the ministries responsible for the above mentioned institutions, as well as to the President of the Republic and the Prime Minister. Only the Ministry of Science reacted to our letter and since February 1 student canteens serve vegetarian meals.

Unfortunately, other ministries have not given any reply, nor did the President's Office, even though the requests have been sent several times and have also been submitted to members of Parliament and ministers at Marko's Square.

We are embittered by the treatment of the above mentioned bodies towards vegetarians, that is the citizens of the Republic of Croatia to whom this Government and all ministries do not provide their basic right - the right to a meal.

We are disappointed with your attitude to our requests, that is, your ignoring of our requests and needs.

Since you haven't even replied to our requests and proposals, and have not considered thousands of signatures on the petition that we had been working on for a year in the streets of Zagreb, we don't have a choice but to ask you once again to send us your replies before we resort to more radical steps.

As citizens of this country, we ask for the insurance of our rights and for the termination of horrible discrimination of our attitudes and needs. We are also fed up with your ignoring of our request as if it is a question of unimportant request of only a few.

It is a question of a population of at least several ten thousand people, and some statistics say that there are about 5% of vegetarians, semi-vegetarians, macrobioticians or some other forms of vegetarianism in Croatia. On the basis of what grounds is such a number of citizens with full rights discriminated and ignored, and not given an answer, neither negative nor positive?

With moves such as this, Croatia proves that we are not ready to get closer to Europe, and that the interest of citizens is not a priority neither to the Government nor to individual ministries, and especially not to political parties and members of Parliament, since not one of them have reacted to our problems and requests.

Our requests are not without grounds: currently there are thousands of vegetarians who don't have the possibility of having vegetarian meals in none of the above mentioned public institutions, and Croatian community gives us a great support in our demands.

As an organization that is promoting vegetarianism, we have offered our help to ministries and public institutions in order to find the solution to this problem as soon as possible. We offer the organization of meals, contacts with producers and distributors of qualitative vegetarian food, as well as courses in cooking and preparing vegetarian food to public institutions staff.

If our request will again be ignored and if ministries and the Government don't show willingness for solving the problem, we are going to ask for the replacement of those who are responsible for this horrible treatment of Croatian citizens because they simply chose to be vegetarians. We will also organize a public protest and new petition signing.

The media will regularly be notified on the achieved results and progress or continuation of the present state. So, in the next few days we will get in contact with each ministry responsible for some of the above mentioned public institutions and ask for their explanation and the name of a person responsible for this problem.

Discrimination of citizens at any level is big and serious problem and we ask you to treat it accordingly.



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