International Vegetarian Union (IVU)
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Report from Spain

from EVU News, Issue 2 / 1996


In a country where the penal code provides no sanctions against the torture of animals for pleasure, the campaign for a more compassionate way of life continues to be an uphill struggle. Nevertheless, the movement continues to gather strengh and to attract an incrasing amount of interest.

The Spanish Vegan Society's debut at Biocultura, a major international health fair in Madrid, was a great success with seemingly endless queues of people eager to sample the tasty, attractive and healthful food provided by international chef Jean-Claude Juston, a small band of helpers and an ingenious machine, which turned out giant baked potatoes to be served with delicious vegan toppings. The stall also provided a focus for those seeking information and a selling point for the society's magazine, veganismo, tee-shirts, books and other merchandise.

The increasing interest in the veggi way of life was apparent in the growing number of people including those responsable for institutional catering wishing to learn how to cook vegetarian and vegan food. Back at his pictureque home in the remote village of Mecinilla in the Alpujarra mountains between Granada and the coast, Jean Claude welcomed guests from all over Spain and indeed the world, to take part in his increasingly popular cookery courses or just to enjoy the superb mountain walks and delicious food, all at a very moderate cost. There is no smoking in the house and all food is vegetarian or vegan, so those coming for other courses such as flamenco or photography are automatically introduced to the pleasures and benefits of gourmet green cuisine.

In April a further major step forward in putting the movement on the map was when the president of the Spanish Vegan Society was invited to speak for about 15 minutes on the popular prime-time TV programme El Semaforo. The word vegano/vegana definitively took its place in the Spanish language when the programme was broadcasted to more than 6 million viewers first on a Friday evening and then on a Saturday. The resulting flood of letters and requests for information has been quite a lot to deal with, but is it encouraging to see so much interest in what until recently was a movement that many people had never even heard of.

Last, but by no means least, the campaining against barbaric national pasttime of bullfighting continues, with regular demonstrations in Madrid and elsewhere. Progress is slow due to powerful vested interests, but surveys show that the majority of Spaniards would not object to its being banned and if the millions of tourists who visit Spain would boycott the bullfight rather than being tempted to go just once the whole thing would collapse a lot sooner. In this context, it was heartening to hear of Max Farrugias activities in Malta aimed at persuading travel agents and their customers to boycott bullfighting when visiting or organising package tours to Spain.

Further information from:

Francisco Martín, Associación Vegana Española, Apartado Postal 38.127, 28080 Madrid (Spain)
Tel +34-1-331 99 60 / Fax. 34-1- 332 14 16 email: frmartin@ctv.es

Jean Claude Juston, Apto Postal 126, 184000 Orgiva
Tel/fax +34 58766150