By Ghanim al-Sulaiti
As ‘The Year of the Vegan 2019’continues, four countries have taken a huge step for the industry by uniting to form an alliance, known as the ‘Vegan World Alliance (VWA)’. The alliance aims to promote vegan values on a global scale. The VWA consists of four activist groups from The Netherlands, New Zealand, Canada, and Australia.
The alliance envisions a world in which all people agree that all animals (human and non-human) are or maybe sentient beings that are subjectively aware of, and able to value their own lives. VWA says “Everyone understands that animals therefore should not be treated as property and that every form of use or exploitation of, or harm to, animals is morally wrong.”
The countries will work together on the promotion of veganism, thereby supporting the creation of a vegan world.
One of its first initiatives is a standard for food labels suitable for vegans. The organisation notes that many countries have no legal definition of what vegan food is. As a result, the alliance has already begun to work on drafting a standard with regards to foods suitable for vegans. Across the globe there are conflicting definitions of ‘vegan’, which creates confusion for consumers and vegan food makers. In addition, in many countries there is no legal definition of the word vegan, which leaves some products claiming they are vegan, despite the product not being genuinely vegan.
Providing clarity around this issue through “International Organization for Standardisation” is an important first step for vegans around the world and will lead to more trust when purchasing plant-based products.
New Zealand, a member of the alliance, released a report from the Ministry of Health last August suggesting the entire health sector should adapt plant-based menus to cut carbon emissions. Similarly, the Canadian government updated the nation’s food guide at the start of the year, emphasising plant-based protein as part of a healthy diet and nearly scrapping dairy entirely.
Making it easier to go vegan is in the best interest of the Earth. A broadly healthier diet could save five million lives a year, a vegetarian diet seven million; but a vegan diet would have the biggest impact, preventing eight million deaths from chronic diseases, scientists studies have shown. A vegan future would also free up space and resources for growing food.
Driven by the need to tackle climate change, rising obesity and diabetes, even the Chinese government have firmed new guidelines aimed at getting the nation’s 1.3 billion people to reduce their meat consumption by 50 percent by 2030 — a ‘vision 2030’ that should be adopted in several countries, including Qatar, as it’s in the best interest of the people, and the planet.
The author is an expert in vegan wellbeing and health. Instagram handle: @Ghanim92
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