02/01/02 Vegetarian Meals
As a result of a two-year work of certain individuals, Animal Friends, the Student assembly, the Student centre and the Ministry of Science, the vegetarian meals for vegetarian students have been introduced into the Student centre in Zagreb. Animal Friends considers it a great success, because we submitted the request for introduction of vegetarian meals to the Ministry of Science more than two years ago, when we were still individual students, and last year, when we had founded Animal Friends, we submitted it again as an organization.
Before the members of the Student assembly were relieved of their duty, we negotiated with the assembly that gave us a great support and presented our proposals to the Minister Kraljevic, as well as received an affirmative answer. After the members of the Student assembly had been relieved of their duty, we could no longer count on their support and all negotiations were suspended. The vegetarian meals, although accepted over two years ago, had to wait for the diet rules to be introduced, and afterwards some time more before they were finally introduced.
But today, on February 1, 2002, the vegetarian students are able to eat the food they want to eat at least in one of the student restaurants. We consider this a big success for the vegetarian community and hope that it is the first step in introducing the vegetarian meals in all public institutions in which there are vegetarians.
As a group of individual vegetarians, on the World Vegetarian Day, October 1, 2000, we launched a petition for introduction of vegetarian meals into public institutions, which, after Animal Friends had been founded, we submitted to the Member of Parliament, the Prime Minister, the Ministers and the President of the Republic of Croatia on the same day in 2001. During one year of petition signing, we collected over 3,000 signatures and realised how great a support the public gave us. The largest number of signatures was collected on the information stall on the World Vegetarian Day last year, when we also handed out over 10,000 leaflets. We decided to submit the petition and requests of the Animal Friends to all Ministries in charge of public institutions.
We also offered our help in organizing the meals, supplying the food and providing the courses for cooking the vegetarian food to the employees of public institutions.
Unfortunately, only the Minister Kraljevic replied to our requests with a positive solution and sent to us a proposal of the menu for student restaurants. The other ministries we turned to, especially the office of the President of the Republic, constantly ignored our requests and avoided any answer whatsoever.
Hereby we would like to thank the Minister Kraljevic and the whole Ministry of Science for having treated our association democratically. The Ministry of Science is the first ministry that abolished the discrimination of persons committed to a vegetarian way of living and showed that the choice can be given to all citizens, in this case the students. Only by such moves can we come closer to Europe that we aspire to so much, because in the whole Europe, the vegetarian meals were introduced into all institutions a long time ago.
We will repeat our requests soon, but we will also organise more serious protests because of the disrespect of vegetarians rights. We believe that our civil right is to be able to eat in the public institution that we stay at, that our children stay at, and that we will probably find ourselves at. After the Student restaurants, we request that the vegetarian meals be introduced into schools, kindergartens, hospitals, jails, the army, and other public institutions in which there are vegetarians.