10/17/23 Students Offer Vegan Dishes to Classmates Outside Student Centre

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Students, tired of remaining hungry at student cafeterias, have demanded reform for years.

- 19th October, 12pm, outside Student Centre: degustation stall, signature collection for petition

On October 19, starting at 12 p.m., vegan students will be offering vegan dishes for degustation outside the Student Centre cafeteria, promoting the new survey on introducing vegan meals in the student cafeteria and gathering signatures for a petition to introduce vegan meals at all public institutions.

Although Animal Friends Croatia has campaigned since 2001 for the introduction of vegan meals in student restaurants and cafeterias, these still offer only meager vegetarian options. Interestingly, many of the vegetarian options offered by the cafeteria could easily become vegan if certain ingredients were omitted from the preparation process – for example, if soya medallions were breaded without the use of eggs, or if cream soups were made with plant-based milk instead of cow’s milk.

“Dishes containing animal-based ingredients are dominant in our society’s eating culture, so it is assumed that people who eat meat want to eat it in every meal, which is not true. On the contrary, more and more people, especially younger generations, are increasingly aware of the unsustainability of such a diet and are going vegan for health reasons or out of concern for animal welfare. Moreover, many students who are not vegan would like to enjoy vegan dishes as this option has a general appeal,” explained Animal Friends Croatia.

A study by the University of Oxford has shown that a vegan diet has the potential to significantly reduce agricultural land use because substantial portions of land are used for farming animal food. More precisely, animal farming takes up 83% of our total agricultural land, while accounting for only 18% of our calorie intake. Multiple studies have found numerous health benefits of the vegan diet. Multiple studies have reported that vegan food is richer in fiber, antioxidants, potassium, magnesium, folates, and vitamins A, C, and E, and the National Cancer Institute has reported that consuming plant-based food reduces risks of several types of cancer, including stomach, lung, mouth, and throat cancer.

Consequently, young people, instigators of cultural change and social development, increasingly choose plant-based food and given a choice, would rather opt for a vegan meal instead of a non-vegan if an option for a quality meal were available at a student cafeteria. There is no reason anyone should feel discriminated against or deprived because they are unable to get a wholesome meal at a cafeteria thus having to resort to other solutions, either by bringing meals from home or just eating salads and side dishes,” emphasized Animal Friends Croatia.

“I am not sure if the lack of vegan dishes in the student cafeteria is a result of neglect by the relevant ministry or of ineffective implementation of already existing regulations, however, one thing is for sure – we need to reform the current system and introduce vegan meals in all public institutions,” said Ana Špac, social pedagogy student.

“Plant-based ingredients can be found even at the smallest of supermarkets, and with increased demand, their prices have been falling. Moreover, we, the students, would be satisfied even with the simplest of meals such as vegetable broths, legumes, pasta with mushroom sauces, pies, risotto, potato-based dishes, etc. Many ingredients that can be used for quality, tasty vegan dishes are already available at the student cafeteria,” added Dominica Firšt, a philosophy student.
While the student cafeteria in Berlin has already completely gone vegan, in Croatia a committee was set up in 2021 to draft a new Book of Rules on Student Nutrition, however, the procedure was put on hold. Furthermore, there is an ongoing debate in Croatia about the low carbon footprint strategy aimed at gas emission reduction which is most contributed to by animal farming. Introducing vegan meals at the cafeteria could be an effortless way of highlighting the benefits of plant-based food production.



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