Meet the Politician Fighting for the Rights of California Vegans
Vegetarians and vegans are faced daily with the difficulty of how to find the best meals to eat, especially when they visit public canteens. There are a few meat-free items on the menu from which they can choose what to eat. As a result of this, Los Angeles council member, Paul Koretz moved the motion that entertainment, canteen, and travel venues should always include at least one vegan dish on their menus; a bill if when passed will go a long way benefit everybody, both vegans and non-vegans. If this pill is passed then we will see “captive dining audience” such as zoos, sports arena, airport terminals, movie theaters offer non-meat options on their menus.
Vegetarian options will help the Earth
A new study from the University of Oxford has been able to prove that vegan eating lifestyle resulted in the single greatest impact on the environment, and encouraged more people to adopt plant-based diet as it could cut greenhouse-gas emissions from food sources by around 70 percent. For industrial meat production, we have been cutting down the rainforest to create more farmland to grow the greens that feed the cattle which produces the methane gas that is the cause of majority of the issues we have had with climate change and other troubles such as an unhealthy environment.
Paul Koretx has consistently been pushing for the rights of vegans so that they are treated just like every other person when they are in public places and when they attend parties and function where meals will be served. He was asked certain questions in the course of pushing his bid to see vegans being put into the picture of things when they decide to eat out. Some of the questions are as follows;
Do you think your average constituent is aware of this?
When Paul Koretz was asked if his constituency were aware of the benefits that can come from embracing the vegan eating lifestyle; he replied “I guess only a reasonable percentage of vegans and vegetarians are aware, but not the average person, t’s part of the education that has to be done around climate change”.
Some people also think vegetables aren’t healthy but these people are just in the minority. The benefits of vegetables are enormous and it is recommended by doctors that it should form a major part of human diet.
Right now, the motion doesn’t say what would qualify as “vegan.” Like, would a tiny pack of pistachios count? That’d be a pretty easy way to satisfy your legal obligation.
Technically restaurants could do that, but the intention is to have a protein-rich entrée. So, an actual choice of a meal for people instead of just a snack.
Meaning you want them to serve more warm food?
No, it could include anything from beans to lentils, peas, seeds tofu, protein-rich vegetables like spinach, broccoli, asparagus, artichokes, Brussels sprouts. If there can be at hamburger or vegan hot dog on the menu, then the requirement has somewhat been satisfied.
How would the measure be enforced? With fines?
Not through fines, we hope to achieve this through the L.A. County Health Department.
You personally identify as a “reducetarian,” correct?
To become a vegetarian or vegan doesn’t just happen overnight it takes time because it is a gradual process. To help people achieve this switch, we have the movement that we call reducetarianism which is set up to not see yourself as being a bad person even if you are not vegan but to help you try as much as possible to eat less and less meat until you can eventually do without eating meat and you can become a vegan. My wife is vegan, my daughter is vegan, and I still eat fish and occasionally chicken, but I am trying to eliminate all of those.
What has the public response been like so far? I’m going to assume your office has gotten barraged with a fair number of complaints.
We have had only few complaints, many of which were generated by right-wing radio, which opposes even the concept of being vegan. I’ve had people who call me to ask can’t we have meat on every vegan restaurant menu?”, but it’s just ridiculous. I have met quite a large number of people who have met me on the streets and they thank me for doing what I do.
The soda industry has spent millions to stop local sugary-beverage tax efforts. Are you preparing for a pushback by the meat and dairy industries if this gets serious traction?
From the look of things, it looks like that’s already happening. We have seen vendors and restaurants change their menus on a regular basis, and this is why we are agitating for at least one vegan dish to be included on their menus. We have been working with a few of them and trying to let them see what we see and why we think this we make the environment a better place to live. I am sure we will get pushback.
Whichever way you see it Paul Koretz has stood in the face of challenges from other members of the council to push for what he thinks will be good for the vegan and vegetarian community; it remains to be seen how soon his ideas will become effected.