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Vegans Begin to Stir the Pot in France

In the past few years, French vegan activists and “antispeciesists” such as 269 Life France have organized physical actions against butchers and breeders.

NADYA CHARVET: ‘France has been slow in recognizing the vegan movement, which is not surprising given a renowned culinary tradition notable for fois gras and rich cream sauces… Until recent years, only a small group of French activists have promoted veganism — a way of life that aims to prohibit killing or abusing animals for use as food, for clothes, in cosmetics testing or for other purposes. Some activists take part in high-profile actions, from attacking butcheries with fake blood to releasing animals from farms and slaughterhouses.

These tactics repel much of French society, but at the same time that society is beginning to embrace the notions of vegan diets and protection of animals. In fact, some of the French media hailed the rise of veganism as the movement of the year 2018—evidence that a campaign pursued most notoriously by militants is well on the way to becoming a social phenomenon… The European Parliament election of late May confirmed the rising popularity of the French vegan movement.

The Greens (EELV) received nearly 20% of the votes in France, putting the party in a strong third place position. (Among French political forces, the EELV has been a leader in addressing issues such as the treatment of animals.) Even the Animalist Party, which focuses on animal welfare, far exceeded the votes that commentators had predicted for the European Parliament. It obtained more than 2% of the votes in France, outpacing several other small parties…

Many vegan activists draw attention to the movement through educational rather than militant means. For example, in late May, members of Anonymous for the Voiceless (AV) held a large demonstration in Paris to support their cause… In the past few years, French vegan activists and “antispeciesists”  such as 269 Life France have organized physical actions against butchers and breeders. (Antispeciesists oppose differentiating among species based on the purpose of a species. For example, they say pigs and pet dogs should receive the same treatment because they experience the same pain when they’re abused)…

The more radical moves have created intense backlash. At the end of May, Minister of Agriculture Didier Guillaume assured the National Assembly (the lower house of parliament) that severe measures would follow… The Macron government has stepped up legislation aimed at vegan activists… In May, a large police operation was launched against vegan and antispeciesist activists… Those who oppose veganism in France are as vocal and impassioned as the vegan activists themselves’.  SOURCE…


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