Transitioning to sustainable, compassionate, vegan, plant based diets should be a priority for Australian food policy, a national vegan group said in its submission to the National Food Plan today.
"The development of a National Food Plan is an opportunity to reflect on our use of animals for food and consider alternative diets and food systems that could promote compassion, sustainability and good health," said Greg McFarlane, Director of Vegan Australia.
"The Green Paper simply treats animals as resources to be exploited. Missing entirely from the paper is any acknowledgment of the rights of animals. There is now a growing body of scientific evidence indicating that animals feel emotions, such as pain and pleasure. The government has a responsibility to uphold the rights of all sentient beings, both humans and other animals." said McFarlane.
"There is sound evidence that vegan diets are nutritionally adequate during all stages of the lifecycle. In fact science supports a low-fat, plant-based diet for optimal health," said McFarlane.
The vegan group's submission recommends that the National Food Plan aim to:
- Ensure all Australians have access to affordable and adequate fresh fruits and vegetables and other plant foods irrespective of income by 2015.
- Improve the health of Australians and lower the burden on the health system by reducing the incidence of dietary related diseases.
- Use Australia's land resources more effectively and sustainably.
- End the use of animal agriculture systems within the next 20 years by building up and supporting Australia's fruit, vegetable and grain producers.
"We have known for some time now that climate change is a real threat to Australia's food supply, yet we continue to produce and consume greenhouse gas intensive meat and dairy products that only contribute to the problem."
"Animals are suffering and being killed in order to meet our unhealthy and unsustainable appetite for meat and dairy products. We really need to question our practices and begin the necessary changes as soon as possible."
"It is crucial that the Australian Government initiate regulatory reforms and develop innovative measures to facilitate the uptake of plant based diets. This should include the setting of targets for the reduction and eventual elimination of meat and dairy consumption".
"Australians deserve to be educated about the many benefits of plant-based diets and supported by government. A good first step is to make sure fruits and vegetables and other plant foods are accessible and affordable to all Australians, including those living in regional and remote communities."
Read submission here
Media contact: Greg McFarlane
Vegan Australia is a non-profit national organisation that aims to promote veganism to the broader Australian public. Vegan Australia envisions a world where all animals live free from human use and ownership. Compassion is the foundation of Vegan Australia - compassion towards animals, people and the earth. Vegan Australia believes that the starting point for people to put this compassion into action is to become vegan and to encourage others to become vegan.
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