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European Vegan Summit 2022 Findings

By Lena Anna Kuklińska | European Vegan Summit / Green REV Institute

There is a way to save the planet and the animals. The breakthrough has come.

The first such event in the world, which was set to connect dots on the map of environmental protection, animal and human rights, the European Vegan Summit, took place online September 15-18, 2022. The presence of European lawmakers, leaders in the areas of science, business, academia, media and activism; made headlines all over the continent. The organisers, Green REV Institute, take it as a sign of what some of the journalists writing quizzical posts fear the most – that the Summit solidified and accelerated what is inevitable; a transformation of the food system that moves away from unethical, unsustainable products of the past. The first edition was the first stretch in this run, but the organising team is determined to reach for more.

“We are witnessing the catastrophe. This is the catastrophe on the plates. I know it still sounds controversial for politicians and decision makers. What politicians and decision makers still don’t understand or don’t want to understand is that if you look at the climatic or social impacts, including health and economic ones, there is no bigger political problem than animal agriculture” said Member of the European Parliament Dr. Sylwia Spurek in her opening speech. These words were reflected in every of the 17 held discussions. The need for swift change in the way we produce, advertise and sell our food and other products impacting the planet was illuminated in most topics that were raised; veganism as a human right, certification for vegan and planetary food, the future of global trade relations. And this is not mere coincidence. 

Findings from the 2022 European Vegan Summit

The climate cataclysms that we are growing accustomed to – as horrific as such easing into tragedies truly is – with the most recent flooding in Pakistan, ought to remind us that our planet is screaming for help. The youngest generations are growing up with the vision of a doomsday on the windscreen. Very few dare to question the palpability of anthropogenic climate change, yet the steps taken by those who have the power to influence the lives of masses can be compared to a fainthearted school pitch jog rather than an adequate, strenuous run in the marathon that past generations have brought upon us.

Nevertheless, which was crucial for the organisers; the fight for animals was not overshadowed by the climate concerns – even though these are related, of which Anita Krajnc, Executive Director of the Animal Save Movement, reminded the audience; “Even if we ended fossil fuels today, the food system alone will send us over 1.5 degrees Celsius warming” she said presenting the premises of the Plant Based Treaty.

We must fight our battle for tomorrow but we cannot do it neglecting what should be the basis of our existence – compassion, love and brotherhood/sisterhood with animals. We do not have the ‘moral ticket’ for treating the wellbeing and lives of animals as secondary. And if one somehow does not see it by themselves, research comes to open their eyes. “There is growing evidence that interhuman violence and violence to animals are significantly correlated – and that the violence to animals increases interhuman violence. The main support comes from the increased levels or intensity of violence to both humans and non-humans in the rural compared to urban communities” explained Professor Andrzej Elżanowski (Warsaw University), “It seems rather obvious that the routine, legal violent practices of animal production, such as killing of animals by farmers, for example cutting off the heads of living birds with axes, facilitate violence towards everyone, both technically and psychologically.”

The discussions at the Summit not only advised what ought to be done, but they simultaneously exposed what is not sufficient – and this is, surprisingly or not so much, the politics of the European Union in particular. “The Plant Based Treaty not only can, in my opinion, but should be a benchmark for new EU policies” said MEP Dr. Sylwia Spurek. The European Green Deal has never been adequate, and as the time passes, this becomes more and more clear. The Summit showed that not only we can gather what should be done to prevent the worst, but also that we already have so many solutions to the most pressing dilemmas or questions. What is halting us is the lack of courage, lack of open thinking and lack of compassion of the decision makers. And even just for the unique chance to listen to the few progressive, brave politicians from around the world – such as MEP Dr. Spurek, MEP Manuela Ripa, MP Emma Hurst, MP Mai Kivelä, Councillor Ziggy Klazes – it was worth tuning in for the European Vegan Summit. You can still watch the recordings of the sessions on the platform Beyond Animal.

In the session ‘China and Mercosur. Is a green EU policy possible?’ Peter Carter, an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change expert, said “The most important thing you can do now to save the planet is go vegan’. And, repeating the words of Georges Hayek, the founder of Lebanese Vegans, ‘The job of every vegan is not to keep their veganism to themselves – but to spread the message.

That is why the first edition of the European Vegan Summit was certainly not the last one.  It was a loud and heard wake-up call. “It was the long-awaited breakthrough for Europe – and its power will echo in the other parts of the world. That is why we are not stopping here” says Lena Anna Kuklińska from Green REV Institute. “In the upcoming weeks you can expect exciting announcements” she adds.

The European Vegan Summit 2023 is an event you must mark in your calendar. For the animals, for the planet, for us all.

Quick facts

  • Green REV Institute partnered with 53 organisations and businesses from around the world for the European Vegan Summit.
  • The event was under the patronage of the European Parliament.
  • The event was held thanks to the sponsors: VegFund and A Well-Fed World.
  • Among the excellent panellists, there were 66 female and 36 male speakers.
  • The expert board consisted of 19 women and 16 men.
  • The speakers and experts come from 5 continents – Europe, Asia, North and South America and Oceania.
  • Almost 1400 participants from all over the world registered for the European Vegan Summit.