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Dr Janez Dmov'ek, President of Slovenia, on being a vegan.

Damjan Likar | 20.04.2006 14:44 | Animal Liberation | Ecology | Health | World

Dr Janez Dmov'ek on the ethics of a vegan diet and the foolishness of the EU in subsidising the meat industry.


My name is Damjan Likar, editor of slovenian magazine Liberation of
animal, and member of The Society for the Rights and the Liberation of
Animals, Slovenia.

I send you revolutionary interview (english version) with dr. Janez
president of Slovenia. He is great friend of animals. He is vegan.

This interview you can put on your website or your animal magazine
free. And
you can send to all animal friends and politicians in your country.

We would like to publish interview also in your media. Can you send me e -
mails from all local and national media in your country?

Best greetings from Slovenia!

Damjan Likar

Dr Janez Drnovsek about vegetarianism and animal rights

Vegetarianism would increase the chance for long-term survival of mankind
In the entire history of mankind there have only been a handful of notable
statesmen who were vegetarians and seriously took a stand for animal
Even today there are very few. Slovenija is one of the few bright
lights in
the world of politics today. By giving this interview the president Dr
Drnovsek has for the first time expressed the message to people, to start
thinking about unimaginable brutality that man is inflicting upon animals.

Why did you become a vegetarian and what changes did you notice as a
Because I feel vegetarian food is better, better quality. We eat meat
because it's the way we had been brought up. I have been a vegetarian
for a
few years and just recently I have become a vegan, which means I don't eat
milk, dairy products or eggs. There is still plenty of choice, varied
vegetable foods, which are sufficient to our needs. I took this step
following my inner feeling. Some people believe that vegan food is very
limited and boring which is not true. It can be very diverse.

Was the main reason for changing your diet your serious illness a few
That was the time I gradually started to change. First step was
omitting red
meat, then poultry and eventually fish.

After changing to vegetarian food do you feel better, healthier?
I feel great - they say I have too much energy.

On World protection of Animals Day (October 4th) you invited members of
Society for Liberation of Animals and their rights for discussions.
What was
I invited them mainly to try and convey the message to general public to
coincide with this day. We don't always realise how we treat animals,
how we
manage them. They are live creatures. As I said people have this set
idea of
behaviour towards animals and as result very rarely question what we
actually cause. If we think for a moment how man manages animals and what
impact he has on animal world we could say he was not human at all. Just
think of all slaughter houses and production of beef or poultry where
conditions for animals are impossible. Animals are transported in lorries
many times without any water which is extremly cruel. It is not that
are bad they just don't think about it. When the final product is in front
of them on the plate they don't think what was it before and how it got to
this stage.

So you decided to become a vegetarian on ethical grounds as well?
The ethics are part of the reason; the other part is the fact that humans
don't need the animal flesh. It is only thinking patterns we follow
that are
ingrained in us. It is probably really hard to change overnight, but
it can
be done gradually. This is how I did it.

You spoke against subsidising mass livestock farming in the media.
What was
your reason for this?
I believe it is foolish, that European Union's main priority is one
percent subsidy of farming especially meat products. The fact that EU
subsidises mass production of meat and poultry is really the main obstacle
from the ethics point of view. Not only that but also from the point
of view
of nutrition. We are frequently reminded by nature i.e. mad cow disease,
recently swine fever, bird flu. It is obvious that something is not as it
should be, something is disturbing the natures balance and that should
be a
warning to us all.

Vegetarian products in shops are more expensive than meat products, which
does not encourage people to buy healthier food. Do you think that more
people would stop eating meat if vegetarian option was cheaper?
That is a factor as well although I believe the main reason to be
of people. It is a question of making people aware of what is
happening and
what are they being part of. I think that is the key. That in turn
leads to
changes in politics i.e. agricultural policy, farming subsidies and future
directions. Instead of using huge resources for mass meat production we
should use it for organic farming of diverse produce from cereals, pulses,
fruit and all the products that originate from these. This would certainly
be kinder to nature as organic production means no use of chemical
fertilizers or additives. It would mean no pollution to the
environment and
no chemical additives in our food. We consume these chemicals every day in
our food and they are harmful. But behind all this are the interests
of big
manufacturers, lobbies, huge profits which are the driving force for these
food manufacturers' conglomerates. Nonetheless I believe that awareness of
people continues to increase in our country and in EU. People are more and
more searching for natural alternatives; they are turning to nature and
becoming more aware of problems regarding animals and animal products.

Would you on the basis of your own experiences recommend people to try
If I do it myself I can't see a reason why I wouldn't recommend it to
others. I have no complaints as I said; I have more energy than I
need. If
nothing else I am living proof that you can survive without meat and meat

How do you view the fact that we all have to pay the same national
contributions? It is well known that vegetarians are a lot healthier and
therefore don't use the health service as frequently.
This is a wider problem; the whole concept could be different. I don't
that is a valid point, because there should be some solidarity, where
healthy people help those, who are unwell. It is true however that
is responsible for their own health. If we consumed less harmful and
unhealthy food, we would considerably lessen the financial burden on our
health service. Of course it is not in everybody's interest if that
were to
happen. What would happen to pharmaceutical industries, huge multinational
companies which make billions from sick people?

What is your view on hunting?
Hunting as killing animals in the name of sport is unethical. If you are
referring to the part of the hunting organization that looks after nature
environment and wild animals, for example helping with feeding in the
winter - it is very useful. Hunting which is by definition just
chasing and
killing of animals is of course completely unethical.

What is your opinion on live animal testing?
This is a well known dilemma which has recently been in forefront of
politics in Europe, in Great Britain. You have to ask yourself would you
like it if you were the subject of such testing. During the second
world war
my father was an inmate in the concentration camp in Dachau, where he was
subjected to such medical experiments together with thousands other
He didn't like it one bit. Some people would say it is necessary for the
progress of science but I am sure that in most cases alternative
methods can
be used without the need for animal testing.

Where do you think the brutal treatment of animals originates?
It comes from low level of people's awareness.

And looking historically?
It is difficult to pinpoint the exact time in history. It is a question of
respecting life in general. Animals are live creatures with feelings.
Everyone who has a domestic animal or a pet knows that animals have
feelings. The world's religions often speak about respecting life but they
only mean human life and sometimes not even that. Looking back in the
Ages Catholics proclaimed for a long time that native Red Indians
which were
enslaved by the Spanish and Portuguese do not have a soul. This meant that
they weren't treated as living creatures with feelings. Then they changed
their mind and proclaimed that black people don't have souls. Centuries of
black slavery followed. All this happened with the blessing of the Church.
Today nobody accepts this anymore. We can see how historical conscience of
people is changing despite the opposing views from some institutions at
different points in time.

It's nearly Christmas. For millions of people it is time for
happiness, love
and peace. For millions of animals it is a time of terrible cruelty at
slaughter so that our tables can be laden with carcases. And all this to
celebrate the birth of a man who loved animals, protected them and didn't
kill them. What is your view on this?
Jesus would be turning in his grave if he knew that mass slaughter of
animals is carried out every year in his name. His deliverance is based on
absolute respect of life and it is very difficult to imagine that he would
accept millions of living creatures being killed in his honour.

Are you aware that all vegetarians (including you) are cursed by the
and are condemned to eternal hell?
Fortunately people who say this don't decide who goes to hell and who

All the world leaders always emphasise their endeavours for world
peace. Do
you think peace is connected to our relationship to animals and
of people without the need for killing? Tolstoy said "As long as there are
slaughter houses there will be wars"
If a person's conscience is highly developed they will not kill or be
to animals. You can not expect from such person to go to war and kill
for a profit. People who do not kill and eat animals have a greater chance
of finding a way to live in peace in harmony. Everything is interconnected
in one's conscience. On a higher level one comes with the other. Making
people more aware is the key.

How do world's politicians view this?
The world's politicians are no more aware of this than most people. I have
noticed that in many cases ordinary people are ahead of politicians.
We see
a lot of non govermental organizations championing causes that are not
priorities of governments. Be it our treatment of animals, environment or
climate change. This push for change is coming from ordinary members of
society. When the critical mass of people accepts an idea, when
majority of
people expect and demand change only then will the politics respond. Sadly
politicians are not the ones to encourage others to be conscious but
they follow public opinion of the moment. When they see the public support
slipping they reassess their priorities.

Tolstoy is just one of many "great minds" of mankind, who publicly
spoke for
vegetarianism. Let me name a few: Pythagoras, Leonardo da Vinci, Nikola
Tesla, Albert Einstein, and Mahatma Ghandi..These people are
recognized for
their great works and achievements, they are often quoted in
recognition of
their genius. Why do you think that mankind does not want to hear about
animals and vegetarianism from these great people for example this daring
saying from Albert Einstein "Nothing will increase our chances of survival
on Earth as significantly as will switching to vegetarian food." How would
you comment on this quote from the genius physicist?
Certainly the chances of long-term survival of mankind would increase.
Everything is connected. Better quality food is somehow connected with
higher level of consciousness. It is a parallel process if we can do
one we
can do the other. However it is unreasonable to expect from people with
lower levels of consciousness who are cruel to animals, to end wars,
to stop
manipulating others, to help eradicate world poverty. In short as long as
consciousness level is low all the disagreements in the world today will
remain and possibly increase to the point of annihilation of humans.

Are the people who say they love animals, but they eat meat, real animal
I think that people do love animals, their pets, but somehow they
automatically eat other animals. If they had to slaughter a cow before
could have a steak, they would think twice. Meat products are so
altered in
appearance that people don't associate them with real animals.

Some ladies wear animal fur in winter. What is your view on this fashion
Again it's the question of consciousness of people. People often
automatically accept the behavioural patterns without questioning
them. Only
when you question something, you can change your point of view and become
more aware of what you are buying.
Where do people get the right to slaughter, incarcerate and torture
and at the same time demand peace and all the rights for themselves?
Is this
sanctioned in the constitution?
It is not sanctioned as such, of course the lawyers and legislators will
tell you it is not barred; but it is indeed assumed it is legitimate.

From unofficial source I've heard that even your dog Brodi is
vegetarian. Is
it true?
You've been informed well. You'd better ask him personally. I'm not
authorised to answer in his name. (laughing)

Resource: Magazine Liberation of animals, january 2006,
Edited by The Society for the Rights and the Liberation of Animals,
Slovenia, ,
Damjan Likar

Damjan Likar


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