16 Jul 2018

Croatian vegans fight for animals

A growing community of vegan activists in Croatia is trying to catch up with their European counterparts in the protection of animal rights. 

Lidija Pisker
Lidija Pisker NewsMavens, Balkans
Croatian vegans fight for animals - NewsMavens
Woman with cows, PixaBay

Why this story matters:

Even as a young boy Robert Međugorac felt killing animals was wrong. Growing up in the agricultural Croatian region of Slavonija, he witnessed the slaughtering of pigs, cows and chickens almost every day. He often argued about it with his father and tried to help neighborhood animals.

The decision to stop eating meat followed soon after he left his family home to study in the Croatian capital of Zagreb, he told me when I first met him in Zagreb in November of last year.

Now 42, Robert is a vegan of almost two decades of experience, a father of five vegan children and a passionate activist who organizes numerous online and offline activities for advancement of animal rights. And he’s a member of fast-growing community of vegans fighting a battle for the protection of animals in Croatia. 

Like Robert's father, a majority of Croatians do not consider animals as sentient beings, but rather as food, toys, means of transportation and what not. This makes the battle for animal rights a very difficult one. 

Details from the story:

  • Croatia and surrounding Balkan countries are considered to be among the most "vegan unfriendly" parts of Europe. The local cuisine relies heavily on meat and dairy, leather is a beloved fashion trend, and the majority of citizens do not consider animals as sentient beings. 
  • But more and more Croatians have decided to quit using animal products -- including meat, dairy and honey and products made of leather or wool -- and become active proponents of what they see as a “cruelty free” way of living.
  • The growth of veganism in Western Europe, where the movement is slowly becoming mainstream, has been considerably assisted by social media, and this has also helped numerous Croatians to go vegan.
  • Likewise, Croatian vegans massively use the Internet to promote veganism. There are numerous blogs, Facebook profiles and Facebook groups where vegans give advice about how to become one, discuss ethical dilemmas around it and meet each other.  
  • In parallel with online activism, many vegans take the battle for animals to the streets. They organize fundraisers for animal sanctuaries, street marches and protests, and street performances. 
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