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Vegan animal lovers uncage political aspirations ahead of Israeli elections

Orian Ben-Zion: 5% of Israelis are vegan and 13% are vegetarians. All we’re doing is simply inspiring them and other animal lovers to become involved in politics across the political spectrum.

ANABEL ZAMIR: ‘Israel has the world’s highest per capita vegan population, and that trend is both accelerating and becoming more political… About 1,000 vegans and animal rights activists have recently joined the Labor Party with the aim of backing lawmakers affiliated with their cause… Other parties holding primaries have also seen an uptick in the number of vegans joining their ranks: Likud boasts 800 new vegan fellows and Meretz now counts 700 vegans among its members.

Overall, some 2,500 animal lovers have joined the various parties as part of the Influencing from Within campaign, the brainchild of Vegan Friendly, a nonprofit organization seeking to promote veganism and vegan-friendly labeling in Israel… According to Orian Ben-Zion, the NGO’s project manager, “five percent of Israelis are vegan and 13% are vegetarians. All we’re doing is simply inspiring them and other animal lovers to become involved in politics across the political spectrum. There are animal lovers and vegans on the left, right and center. We aspire to see 2,500 to 3,000 people join each party”…

Vegan Friendly founder and CEO Omri Paz is also optimistic about the results. “I’ve always shied away from politics, and I used to think that nothing could be changed — until I became familiar with the inner workings of this method and the number of laws and initiatives that were passed thanks to regular people joining political parties,” said Paz…

According to Vegan Friendly lobbyist Anna Nemkov, Ben-Zion is responsible for the creation of a committed electorate “that gives me the power I need to wield in the Knesset.” Nemkov said that inspiring 2,500 people to join a political party is an achievement in and of itself… Among the goals that underpin the project, which Nemkov plans on promoting through legislative initiatives in the Knesset, are labeling meat products as carcinogenic, subsidizing vegetarian products, and banning fur trade.

Influencing from Within also wants to see enforcement of the Animal Welfare Law transferred from the Agriculture Ministry to the Environmental Protection Ministry, as well as the implementation of a program to eliminate the phenomenon of stray dogs and animal euthanasia in shelters. Nemkov emphasized the need to work extensively to achieve the desired results and promised this is only the beginning. “I intend to sit in the Knesset, attend every committee meeting, take every bill and make sure it passes every step, until we see it come into force,” Nemkov said’.  SOURCE…

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