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All meals served in France’s public and private schools must include animal products declares a new government order issued on October 2nd, 2011 according to the European Vegetarian and Animal News Alliance.

French Parliament voted on the law that now essentially insures that six million school age children in France no longer have the option to choose vegan or vegetarian meals. Similar rulings will soon be in effect for hospitals, prisons, retirement homes and catering, cites a statement issued by EVANA. “The public debate regarding animal rights and the moral status of animals is active in France as in many other countries. Citizens are entitled to choose freely where they stand on these issues, and those who believe that they cannot, in conscience, accept to eat animals must not be discriminated against.”

Known as a country that loves to eat—especially animal products—the law effectively bans vegetarians from eating in major public venues, bringing up issues surrounding the European Union’s Charter of Fundamental Rights–binding for its member states—which includes France. The Charter states “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right includes freedom to change religion or belief and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or in private, to manifest religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance.”

In January 2010, France’s agriculture minister, Bruno Lemaire, declared the government’s aim in redefining its public nutritional policy was positioned to defend the French agricultural model, which has a large emphasis on animal products.

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Image: manuel | MC