Last year, the first VeggiePride was organised in Paris by some French people. It was a great success, bringing together many veggies from France (and Belgium). They have thus decided to have the 2nd VeggiePride on the 18th of May 2002 and expect to gather several hundreds of veggies on that occasion. Web: www.veggiepride.org.
Veggie Pride, festival of vegetarian and vegan pride
To declare our pride at refusing to have animals killed for us to eat
To refuse to rob sentient beings of their sole possessions, of their very flesh, their very lives; to refuse to take part in a concentration camp system which turns their short lives into a perpetual torment; to refuse to do all this for the mere pleasure of the palate, for the satisfaction of a habit, of a tradition. Refusing to do such things should be plain decency.
History does show us, however, how difficult it is, when barbarity is the social norm, just to say NO.
We wish to declare our pride at saying NO.
To denounce vegephobia
They want us to feel ashamed instead. Vegetarianism is denied, ignored, laughed at, marginalized and even defamed.
Vegetarianism challenges the legitimacy of the confinement and slaughter of billions of animals. Its mere existence breaks the law of silence. That is the reason for vegephobic mockery and hatred.
Of course the sort of harmless vegetarianism that claims to be no more than a matter of private choice is tolerated, such as when vegetarians say they simply don't like meat or are vegetarian because of the health or environmental benefits. But woe betide us if we openly challenge the barbarity of it all!
First we are laughed at. Caring about chickens and cows is deemed to be ridiculous. Mirth represses disturbing ideas without the need for logical discussion.
But if we do not give in, the laughter turns sour. At first we are the butts of jokes, suddenly we become monsters. Traitors to our species since we do not grant people the right to do whatever they want. Unworthy parents since we do not introduce our children to the pleasures of dead flesh. Nazi sympathizers because Hitler loved dogs. An intolerant cult since we do not think like everyone else.
We are accused of being terrorists or satanists; of worshipping nature; of breaking its laws. No argument is too farfetched when it comes to misrepresenting our ideas, putting us to shame and symbolically rejecting us from society.
We refuse to feel ashamed for our compassion. We are proud to declare that we are vegetarians. We are no longer willing to apologize for not wanting to kill. We are here, we are alive and thinking, and we are speaking out.
To proclaim our existence
All over the world millions of humans are saying No to carnage. Most civilizations have wondered about whether eating animals can be justified. But when do you hear about it? Vegetarianism is never mentioned in textbooks and biographies. When Théodore Monod died, the media said all kinds of things about him except that he was a vegetarian.
"I have from an early age abjured the use of meat, and the time will come when men such as I will look upon the murder of animals as they now look upon the murder of men", said Leonardo da Vinci.
By affirming our existence, by showing that we live without meat, we also prove that it is possible to do so. We eat neither cows nor pigs, chicken nor fish nor prawns. And we are as alive and well as anyone else, despite those media-promoted "specialists" whose science mainly consists in denying the facts. Neither vegetarianism nor veganism (which bans all animal products, including milk, honey and eggs) has any particular negative effects on health; current studies actually prove the opposite!
It is not necessary to kill in order to live. Farm animals eat much more food than their dead flesh provides. Despite this, huge amounts of public funds are spent to support animal farming and fishing.
To defend our rights
No rights are granted to animals raised and killed for food, but we - who stand side by side with them - do have rights, at least in principle. We are determined to exercise our rights in full, because they are our rights, and because they are theirs too - the only rights that they may today, indirectly, enjoy.
We have the right to receive decent meals at school, at work and wherever meals are served to groups of people.
We have the right to raise our children without forcing upon them the products of slaughter, without setting aside our own convictions, and without our children being told that their parents are freaks.
We have the same right as everyone else to impartial and appropriate medical information.
We are no longer willing to be accomplices to carnage through the taxes we pay, huge amounts of which are used to support the raising and killing of animals.
We demand the right to refuse any work that involves taking part in the exploitation of animals.
We are no longer willing for our actions and our ideas to be systematically silenced. We demand the same platform as those who attack us. We demand an open debate.
"WE ARE THE MIRROR OF YOUR GUILTY CONSCIENCES AND THIS MIRROR WILL NO LONGER BE KEPT HIDDEN."
Faced with pictures of heaps of animals "destroyed" because of BSE or foot-and-mouth disease, we were alone in not feeling ashamed - at least on behalf of ourselves. We felt ashamed on behalf of other people.
Above all, we were sad. Although we insist on asserting our pride in saying No to barbarity, we feel no satisfaction in it. Animals are slaughtered by the billion. They are considered to be dumb, their cries do not count. We shall keep on speaking out on their behalf until the massacre ceases.
WE ARE ANIMALS AND WE STAND IN SOLIDARITY WITH ALL ANIMALS!
Translated into English by Patricia Tricker