Go Vegan Scotland attended an evening event on veganism and plant-based production and consumption at the Scottish Parliament on 24th January 2019, which was hosted by the Vegan Society and sponsored by MSP Richard Lyle. All MSP’s and their staff were invited, along with a number of others with an interest.
At the event Barbara Bolton spoke briefly about the urgent need for Scotland to start to view the related matters of animal rights, environmental destruction, food justice and the right to health as matters of social justice. She also drew attention to the joint Go Vegan Scotland and Vegan Society petition currently being considered by the Scottish Parliament Petition Committee, which calls for guaranteed plant-based options in the public sector.
A recording of that brief talk (3 mins) can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IIHOFVC6szY
"What we’re proposing is at least one fully plant-based option on every menu and in every canteen in every state entity in Scotland, every day. But the plant-based option would be available for everyone, not only for vegans. That would cut through bureaucracy, avoid the need for individual requests or, as is often the case, a lengthy back and forth with a school or hospital trying to persuade them to provide.
This would be a very important step in recognising everyone’s right to access healthful plant-based food and the urgent need for us all to shift to plant-based production and consumption if we’re to have any hope of addressing our destruction of the environment and biodiversity.
It would also ensure we’re meeting our legal obligations. The vegan moral conviction that it’s wrong to use and kill other animals is protected under law as a fundamental belief. Vegans have a right to live in a way that avoids using and killing animals and the right not to be discriminated against. Currently many vegans are being discriminated against indirectly, because the general provision is not suitable for them, leaving patients in hospital hungry and children missing out on school meals. The proposed legislation would ensure that vegans have access to suitable food in every public entity in Scotland every day.
Aside from the legislation being put in place, one of the best outcomes we could achieve through this campaign is for Scotland to start seeing these issues as matters of social justice. Animal rights, ceasing the destruction of the environment upon which we all depend, food justice and the right to health, these are all social justice issues. Scotland leans towards social justice and that is reflected in our parliament, and it is critical that we start to see these issues as sitting in that social justice sphere."
Mark Banahan of the Vegan Society spoke about the urgent need for us to switch to plant-based production and consumption for the environment, climate change and health. The Vegan Society have released two Grow Green reports, the first of which highlights the issue in terms of animal agriculture’s impact on the environment, and the second of which outlines how climate change can be tackled through plant protein agriculture: https://www.vegansociety.com/take-action/campaigns/grow-green
Guests were given the opportunity to sample some of Scotland’s plant-based food, from Nutcrafter Creamery, Faceplant Foods, Harmonium and Cook Jerk Vegan Pies. Craig Tannock of Harmonium, Mono, Stereo, The Flying Duck, the 78 and the Old Hairdressers, spoke about the history and success of the plant-based sector in Scotland.
One important development to arise from the evening event was Richard Lyle MSP volunteering to help set up a Vegan Cross Party Group in the Scottish Parliament, which could be a very useful space for discussion of vegan issues and potential policy changes.
In terms of the petition, we're waiting to hear from the Parliament Petition Committee, which had undertaken to write to all Scottish Local Authorities and Health Boards to enquire about their current vegan provision. See our session with the Committee here: https://www.goveganscotland.com/single-post/2018/12/02/Appearance-before-Scottish-Parliament-Petitions-Committee---Petition-for-Plant-Based-Food
We are gathering in some personal testimonies from vegans with recent experience of issues in hospitals and schools, which will be submitted to the Committee in support of the petition. We would also like to have as many vegans as possible at the next Petition Committee hearing to show support for the proposal. If you have a recent personal experience or if you would like to attend the next hearing to show your support please email email@example.com
More information about the petition:
Vegan Rights in the UK:
Self-help steps vegans can take:
We have a moral obligation not to use or kill other sentient beings.
We have a moral obligation to reject animal agriculture because of its devastating impact on the environment and biodiversity.
We have a moral obligation to reject animal agriculture because of the key role it plays in world hunger.
These intersecting moral obligations mean that we should all be vegan.
These intersecting moral obligations mean we must switch to plant-based production and consumption.
We must act individually, at a community level and at a governmental level.