For non-human animals, all countries are bad. All „humans“ who are not vegan condone and pay for animal abuse in all the gruesome forms it exists. From meat and dairy, eggs, to leather, fur, torture for entertainment, and experimentation on animals – it is all built on a mountain of suffering, mutilation and murder.

The title, therefore, does not mean that other countries on the European continent are a safe haven for the innocent victims of human hate and desire for domination. Far from it. Yet, most other countries take strides towards the evolution of empathy, and towards a ban of the most egregious torture practices, however slow the evolution is. Germany is at the forefront of vegan food and raising awareness on the Animal Holocaust (and Berlin was just voted No. 2 on the Top 10 Vegan Cities list by HappyCow). The UK even more. Switzerland, France‘s neighbor, even had a referendum to ban factory farming! It wasn‘t banned (sadly), but more than 30% of residents voiced their opposition, and I have no doubt they will get there soon. Hell, even Bosnia and Herzegovina (my country of origin) recently witnessed its first ever vegan festival, organized in the capital city by VivaBiH, the national Vegan Association.

So, why exactly is France the worst? Surely there has been some progress here, as well?

The short answer is: no. No, there hasn‘t. Sure, it has some vegan options. Sure, there are associations raising awareness on the plight of non-human animals. But when taking into account the place of France in the grand scheme of Europe, its constant urge to become leaders on this continent in all aspects of life, including the evolution of the human thought („We are the birthplace of modern democracy!“), its representatives and the actual level of evolution are pathetic.

The core of the „French identity“ is founded on the suffering of our fellow Eathlings so much that people here take pride in the cruelty and torture they inflict upon them. Take for example foie gras: while it is illegal in several developed countries in the world, and even King Charles recently banned it from the British Royal Court, naming it “torture in a tin”, here it is celebrated and adored. People mock others who do not enjoy in an effort to portray them as simple peasants of poor palate. Let me remind my readers that this awful „delicacy“ is made by force feeding ducks and geese multiple times a day so that their liver gets sick (hepatic steatosis), after which it is eaten as a whole or ground up. The birds are confined in crates so small they cannot move. The workers shove long metal tubes down their throats, which also causes organ failure, injuries to the birds‘ beaks and throats, pneumonia. Moreover, Animal Equality notes that „the wire cages can cause foot and leg injuries, and the intense confinement is mental misery for these normally curious and sensitive animals.“ Of course, at the end of this unimaginable torture (think the „Gluttony“ murder from the movie Se7en, lasting for weeks), the poor birds are violently slaughtered. All that is foie gras.

The French have made their whole identity on cruelty and torture. The more cruel the practice, the better it is for the „food“ they consume, and the „entertainment“ they watch. Who cares if bullfighting originated in Spain! They gleefully stole the practice of killing innocent animals for barbaric thrills and made it their own. Empathy is considered weak and unaristocratic, and if there‘s one thing the French desperately want to be, it‘s the aristocracy of Europe and the world. Being cruel is being sophisticated. Inventing torturous devices is being more intelligent than others who are „beneath“ them. And after literally decades of waiting for the bill to ban bullfight to arrive at the French Parliament, yesterday it was pulled from the debate. The pro-torture representatives sent over 500 ridiculous amendments to stop the ban, even though the majority of regular French citizens (77%) oppose bullfights. A stolen torture masked as the foundation of tradition and identity is defended yet again. The Dark Ages are alive and well here, and the inquisition of animals is endless.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is France. The worst European country for animal rights bar none, because it forcefully wants to superimpose the notion of nobility and culture unto hateful dominion, unto pain and unto unimaginable suffering. A country of despicable acts, of atrocious parliamentarian games, of identity smeared with blood of the innocents. A shameful land, a disgraceful identity. No culture.

I am ashamed and enraged to be here. But in the word of Banksy, „From this moment, despair ends, and tactics begin.“ With my activism, and along other activists, I will do everything in my power to usher this country into true Renaissance, one founded on empathy and liberation of all victims, regardless of the species. As Aymeric Caron, the representative who proposed the bullfight ban bill, said yesterday: „What’s just happened today, isn’t an end… but it’s just a start.“

/Image courtesy of: Animal Equality; Lisa Markkula / Peta France/


In my last post (and also the first official Vegan Vignette), I used the term „vegans” seen through a diet, in the sense of an animal-free plant-based diet, and to an extent, a whole-foods, animal-free plant-based diet to support the argument which I elaborated on there. However, I didn’t refer to it as “plant-based” and in that sense, it would seem that veganism is “just” a diet. I’d like to clarify something here: Veganism is NOT simply an abstinence from meat, dairy, eggs and other animal „products“. It is an ethical stance against animal abuse, mutilation, rape and slaughter of trillions upon trillions of animals around the globe. That includes experimentation on animals, hunting, circuses, bullfighting, horse riding, and all other aspects of human activities that include animals apart from saving and taking care of them without wanting anything in return, and leaving them alone. Animals are not here for us, but with us, and have the same rights as we do.

/Vegan orders & homemade meals/

However, the animal abuse spin machine has certainly been trying hard to hijack the term „plant-based“ to dillute it and make the message seem less clear. This is true for all countries, regardless of their level of development. Part of the success relies on the innate lack of clarity of the term. In countries like my native land of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the term „plant-based“ is usually translated as „bazirano na biljkama“ or „biljna prehrana“ (plant diet), but the term „based“ or „bazirano“ is in itself non-exclusive to other things and actually implies simply a foundation, upon which it is not unusual or it’s even expected to have something else in it.

The same can be said for English and other languages. In Cambridge Dictionary, the term “plant-based” is defined as the following: “consisting or made completely of plants, or mainly of plants“. Rule vs usage? Not really in this case. Take for example the phrase „based on a true story“ at the beginning of many famous Hollywood films. Does it mean the film is the truth, the only truth and nothing but the truth of what happened? Not at all. The linguistic foundation of this term is faulty because it can be understood in terms of percentages, and that’s not what an ethical stance is. For example, you cannot say that child well-being is also good even if it’s partial, meaning, say, abusing a child just in the evening, instead of the whole day. Due to this muddleness*, it can be perceived that a lot of other, animal „products“ can be seen as acceptable and as such easily added into a „plant-based“ meal. In addition, words like „mostly“ and „predominantly“ are being thrown around a lot around this term, and I don’t think it’s doing any good in terms of clarity of the anti-speciest message. This lack is easily used by non-vegans to try to undermine the tenets of veganism.

In highly developed countries, the animal abuse lobby efforts go along the same lines. The food giant Tyson even had a „plant-based“ range that was advertised to all people (read: vegans) receptive to the message, but wasn’t vegan at all! Fellow vegans, we know that a title means nothing, because we still need to check the label for ingredients. Certain sources (here, here and here, among others) make a clear distinction between a vegan and a plant-based diet, and my guess is that this dillution of the term is additionally supported by medical texts that view a plant-based diet along the same lines as the paragraph above. There are many of them out there, and for most medical researchers, the term „vegan diet“ is the only one understood in ethical terms. We’ve seen a heightened interest of mainstream audience in the health consequences of a classic diet, rising exponentially after the influential WHO report on processed meat and red meat as carcinogens, and the spillage of confusing terminology and dillution of the vegan message in terms of “plant-based” probably began globally at the same time. This was also around the same time that I started understanding the difference between the term „plant-based“ and “vegan”, because unfortunately, the first was being perceived and deliberately used incorrectly more and more by people and companies unperturbed by ethics. As a linguist, I am constantly trying to analyze my linguistic output to be as clear as possible and correct, in particular with animal rights activism, and this is no different. We need to be aware of this.

That being said, I understand the concerns about conflating veganism with just a diet. However, it is certainly the biggest fight and the threshold of veganism, because, for many other forms of abuse, mutilation, torture and slaughter, there are far less people supporting it (take for example, the issue of bullfighting, or eating dogs and cats in certain parts of Asia – there are many people in the Western world who are actively against it, while still not being vegans themselves). The definition of a correct, ethical diet should therefore be undeniably clear. Perhaps we could reinforce the term “plant-based” with the adjective „anti-speciest“? “Completely”? We will see. What is certain, however, is that what we put into our bodies needs to be completely animal-free, because that is the only right thing to do. Animals are sentient beings and it is morally and ethically wrong to do anything to them that causes pain, suffering, anguish, disease, and unease. Go vegan – and be on the right side of history.

/Images courtesy of WeAnimalsMedia.org from various farms/

*We see deliberate efforts in sowing confusion in other areas – for example, we have to pay attention to the terms „vegan“ and „cruelty-free“ in cosmetic and sanitary products, because, even though logic dictates they are the same, the first means „no animal substances“ and the second „not tested on animals“.