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Vegan Week 2010

Veganism – an ethical lifestyle

Veganism is a way of life  aimed at limiting to a minimum our participation in the exploitation of nonhuman animals. The most important aspect of veganism is the vegan diet since it is for food that the biggest number of animals is exploited. Therefore, such diet means rejecting animal products for ethical reasons. In other spheres of life veganism is just as consistent and rejects e.g. the breeding of animals for fur, using them in experiments, for entertainment, etc. This consistent and progressive idea and practice is becoming more and more popular in the world also because it offers various benefits to the environment.

Veganism as a lifestyle arises from the idea that humans shouldn't treat animals as resources or means to one's ends because nonhuman animals – sentient beings – have the same (as ours) interest in avoiding suffering and protecting their life. Veganism as an ethical position does not limit itself to humans and is intended to promote the development of non-animal products that benefit not only humans but other animals and the environment.


VEGAN WEEK – ethics, animal rights, human health and vegan cooking - the official website

Vegan Week 2009

  • In 2009, Empatia decided to start a new annual event – Vegan Week. We printed leaflets and posters and invited people from all over Poland to enroll in our Vegan Week participation list in order to get our materials (free of charge) and distribute them during vegan demos, lectures, show films etc in their own towns and villages.
  • We held our Vegan Week 2009 mainly in Warsaw. The opening event was  a „carrot pyramid” happening, where we talked about veganism as the right ethical choice people can and should make. During the week we gave two presentations with respect to the ethical aspect of veganism, one about the history of veganism and the other about animal rights in practice. Darek Gzyra discussed among other things the beginnings of the Vegan Society founded in 1944 as well as the short history of veganism in Poland and Katarzyna Biernacka concluded that practically every aspect of animal industries shows complete disrespect to even the most basic interests animals have, so discussing animal rights within the context of these industries is a contradiction in terms and the only meaningful way to address animals in a just way is to stop exploiting them altogether and go vegan. We also wanted to show that the vegan diet can be healthy and delicious, so we published on our website a translation of the Statement on Vegetarian Diets issued by American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada in 2003 and invited Małgorzata Desmond, a dietitian, to give a presentation „Diet and cancer” on the advantages of a low-fat vegan diet. We also invited Jola Słoma and Mirek Trymbulak (authors of cook books and fashion designers) to give us a vegan cooking presentation and we had a vegan grill with lots of delicious vegetables. You can see and read our photo report about it here

Vegan Week 2010
This year, we hold Vegan Week a second time. We also send out free leaflets and posters to activists in Poland. Our main events are held in Warsaw, but our members are also involved in the organisation of the Vegan Week in Toruń and Katowice.

  • ethics
    On the day preceding the Vegan Week, we discussed veganism as the best lifestyle in ethical terms during an hour-long radio program dedicated to this event. This year 's events naturally include the ethical issue throughout the week, with one presentation that focuses on the problem of moral schizophrenia (the term was coined by Gary Francione, professor of law and author of a theory of animal rights) and its manifestations in everyday life.The presentation will be given by Darek Gzyra and Katarzyna Biernacka.
  • human health
    Since the vegan diet is still considered to be restrictive and unhealthy not only by ordinary citizens but also by doctors and dietitians in Poland, we are going to have a press conference in the Children's Health Centre in Warsaw to present a translation of the 2009 update of the Statement on Vegetarian Diets issued by the American Dietetic Association. The conference is mainly addressed to the media and doctors. A short presentation of the Position Statement by Małgorzata Desmond – dietitian – will be followed by a session of questions from the public.
  • human and nonhuman animal rights
    Since we believe that there is a strong connection between human and nonhuman animal rights, we've decided to organise two debates. One about feminism and animal rights preceded by a presentation by Dobrusia Karbowiak on vegetarian suffragettes and the other about fair trade and animal rights. We wish to ask questions about how feminists view the issue of animal rights and why some animal organisations use sexism to promote animal rights. With respect to fair trade, we would like to discuss  with representatives of Polish Fair Trade Coalition how both fair trade and animal rights movement can be informative for each other and why there are many instances where they don't intersect.
  • the delicious vegan diet
    Like last year, we are going to have a vegan grill and a vegan cooking presentation by Jola Słoma and Mirek Trymbulak, who will also discuss and show us cruelty-free fashion of their own design.

Leaflets and posters are available here:

We also write texts regarding animal rights and veganism, some of which we've translated into English. More translations to come.

„Why a Vegan Week” by Darek Gzyra
„Animal Rights ‘the grocery way’, or what is edible and for whom” - an interview with Adam Złotnicki
„Press Release: Lard From Animals”
„Veganism is (at least) 65 years old” by Darek Gzyra

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