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Why Israelis are leading the vegan revolution

Animal rights and vegan activist Tal Gilboa was appointed special adviser to Israel's prime minister on all animal matters. No other country in the world has a position like hers.

ABIGAIL KLEIN LEICHMAN: On November 1, World Vegan Day will kick off World Vegan Month, aimed at raising awareness of the health, environmental and animal cruelty issues involved in the production of meat, dairy, fish, eggs, leather, wool and other products derived from living beings. Omri Paz, who founded Vegan Friendly in 2012 to promote and enhance the vegan lifestyle in Israel, says dozens of activists in England, Brazil, Australia and India have contacted him for consultation in recent days.

“We’re considered the most vegan country in the world,” Paz tells ISRAEL21c, citing the latest statistics that 5% of Israelis are vegan, 4% vegetarian and 8% flexitarian (semi-vegetarian). “Things are happening here before other places”… Why has Israel become the unofficial vegan capital of the world? Paz says it’s a combination of being a small country with strong social media; a culture that encourages people to voice their opinions; and “really effective vegan organizations with revolutionary campaigns.” The majority of Israeli vegans cite moral reasons as their motivation, Paz adds.

Prof. Richard Schwartz, Israel-based president of the interfaith Society of Ethical and Religious Vegetarians, believes Jewish values are a factor. “We’re supposed to be a light unto the nations,” says Schwartz, author of books including Vegan Revolution: Saving Our World, Revitalizing Judaism. “Animal-centered diets violate and contradict Jewish mandates to preserve human health, safeguard the welfare of animals, protect the environment, conserve resources, help feed hungry people, and pursue peace,” he tells ISRAEL21c…

Jessica Sandler, a consultant to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and its former VP for regulatory testing, tells ISRAEL21c… “There’s no question that Israel is a global leader in veganism,” she adds. “It doesn’t just have the highest per capita of vegans in the world and a military that provides vegan meals, clothing and boots to its citizen-soldiers. Israel is second only to the US in lab-based meat and dairy startups and its prime minister recently appointed an animal activist as adviser on animal matters.” That activist, reality TV celebrity Tal Gilboa, tells ISRAEL21c she knows of no other government that created a position like hers. “Really, I’m not sure there is a country that is as easy to be vegan as in Israel,” she says. SOURCE…

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