05/20/09 Reaction to the Article "Carrot as a Stick"

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Slavonska avenija 4
10000 Zagreb

Dear Mr. Ogurlic,

We are writing to you regarding the article "Carrot as a Stick" written by Pavao Pavlicic and published in Vecernji list on May 18, 2009 on page 32. In this article many untruths, insults and accusations have been told against parents who raise their children according to the principle of compassion towards all living creatures, including animals, with many of them nourishing their children as vegetarians precisely for reasons of health from the health reason.

It is always surprising when someone gives so many ungrounded public statements without scruple, not even thinking to educate oneself about the particular subject before that. The position of the American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada, which conducted a detailed and thorough study which concludes that "well-planned vegan and other types of vegetarian diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including during pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence," is well-known. Furthermore, the study states that "appropriately planned vegetarian diets are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases." Experts from the British Nutrition Foundation share similar positions. To get an objective expert opinion we do not even have to go to the more developed Western countries where the rights of vegetarians and the recognition of advantages of meatless diet are on the significantly higher level. Croatian National Institute of Public Health published in the Croatian Magazine for Public Health (Vol. 3, No. 9, January 7, 2007) an analysis of the food of one kindergarten in Rijeka which offers vegetarian meals to its children. The analysis showed that the vegetarian diet fulfilled recommendations of the Food Standard for the Food Planning in Kindergartens.

The right to a meal is a basic human right. In Croatia there are more than 150,000 vegetarians who still do not have the right to a vegetarian meal in all public institutions. This disputable article illustrates prejudices against a different lifestyle, which are unfortunately present also amongst the intellectuals. These prejudices are obstacles in achieving equal rights for everyone. At the same time, the Belgian city Gent introduces one day a week when only vegetarian meals will be served. This decision was made because, according to the 2006 FAO report, livestock is responsible for global greenhouse gas emissions and global warming more than the whole world traffic combined. This information was also published in Vecernji list on May 13, 2009.

The accusation that parents who do not want to feed their children additives, artificial food colors, hormones, grinded hooves and animal remains are abusing their children would be funny in its absurdity if it were not sad, because it portrays how big the intolerance to people who do not share the same point of view is. This uninformed attitude also indicates the level of food culture and ecological conscientiousness in Croatia.

Such accusations deserve a public apology to all parents for spreading prejudices and insulting those who feed their children according to the principles of vegetarianism, thus enabling their children to grow and develop normally and protecting them from various health disorders and sicknesses induced by the diet based on meat.

Unfortunately, in spite of the efforts of associations and the media to objectively educate and awake the public about other diets and their advantages for human health and environment protection, we still come across individuals who spread prejudices and under the veil of so-called-arguments present personal views which sometimes turns into insulting.

Yours sincerely,

Luka Oman
President of Animal Friends




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