Omnivores ready to put their steak knives aside can learn the ABC’s of the vegan diet, and the societal benefits to it, this week at the Concordia Animal Rights Association (CARA) organized Veggie Food Fair.
The fair will offer info pamphlets, videos and food sampling from an array of animal rights and pro-vegan groups around Montreal.
From Mother Hubbards to the Jane Goodall Institute, the groups invited reflect animal rights issues from different perspectives, explained Janel Fisher, co-ordinator of the fair.
“When we [CARA] organized this we wanted to get a bunch of groups there that would deal with different issues surrounding a vegetarian diet or animal rights,” Fisher added.
One of these issues, Fisher noted, is the socio-economic reward of a vegetarian diet. Mother Hubbard’s was called in to demonstrate this, with their views on food politics to share with the public. “They [Hubbards] relate vegetarianism to human rights and the politics of food and how meat is associated with a higher socio-economic status,” she remarked.
Also prominent at the fair will be the environmental concerns of the meat industry. One group representing this issue, Earthsave, was originally founded by John Robbins, author of the book, Diet For A New America , which analyzes the environmental, social and health concerns of animal based agriculture.
CARA will be echoing these health concerns at their table, by providing nutrition research to those who are skeptical of vegetarianism. “We try to explain to people [where] you can find protein or other nutrients [and] that you don’t have to eat meat to be healthy,” Fisher said.
In addition to the meat industry, the event will also look at animal testing, which the Jane Goodall Institute will offer insight to, and the fur industry, which will be explored by animal rights activist Benoit Ayotte with a showing of his documentary on wolf trapping in Quebec.
With the controversial nature of animal rights issues, Fisher understands that not all people will agree or alter their views after attending the event. “We [fair groups] can’t change peoples minds [about veganism] or tell them what to do, ultimately that’s their choice,” she said. “What we want to do is present the information [of animal issues] so they can at least be aware of what’s going on to make a conscious choice of what they want to do.”
The Vegetarian Food Fair takes place from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. April 3, on the Mezzanine level of the Hall Building.