It all started with a petition circulated by the Portuguese Vegetarian Society.
Garnering more than 15,000 signatures, the petition urged the Portuguese government to mandate that vegan meals be offered in all public canteens, including hospitals, schools, and prisons.
After discussion by the country’s parliament, the petition was drafted into a new law that recently took effect.
Nuno Alvim, a spokesperson for Associação Vegetariana Portuguesa, said of this huge success:
It will promote diversity of eating habits and encourage more people to choose the veggie option as it becomes more widely available. This is, of course, predicted to have a significant impact on the population’s health foremost, but also on animals and the environment in the long run. Promoting the rights of the vegan population is as important as campaigning and informing people to adopt veganism, in our view.
If this were standard in all countries (as it very well should be), it would have far-reaching benefits. Consider what millions more people could do to help curb climate change, for example, by choosing plant-based options.
It’s high time world governments stopped supporting an industry that exploits animals, harms our health, and ravages the planet. Requiring that vegan options be served at public institutions would be a great first step in that direction.
Countries other than Portugal are also making progress. Germany recently announced that it would ban meat from official government functions to set a good example.