With the end of the year approaching, it is a good time to thank all our donors and volunteers for their continued support and provide an update of our activities in 2019 as well as a forecast for 2020.
A large part of 2019 was spent launching the Vegan World Alliance. This was something we had been working on since 2018 and we finally went public in 2019.
While in the business world shareholders are active and demand efficiency, mergers and acquisitions when appropriate, in the charitable sector donors are too busy and the majority of our stakeholders are voiceless. In the business world there are laws to prevent the formation of cartels, but these laws do not exist in the charitable sector since we are working for the public good and not to increase profits. The burden rests on us to be as efficient, if not more efficient, than organizations and for-profit corporations.
We will continue to expand the Vegan World Alliance in the future so that we can more efficiently achieve our charitable purpose and broader vision.
Unfortunately, we had to withdraw from ISO as it became clear that the industry representatives that were present in the working group had no intention of cooperating with vegan organizations to learn what is suitable for vegans; instead they wanted to dictate what is suitable for vegans. Regrettably, it was not only large industry representatives but also at least one organization claiming to represent the interest of people who self-identify as vegans but who also supported industry efforts to make the killing, torture and cruelty of animal testing in foods suitable for vegans.
While Netflix has a certain percentage of members that self-identify as vegans, they do not go around claiming to represent vegans and intervening in matters such as this. However, some other organizations do exactly this. Therefore, as we consistently say, we encourage people who self-identify as vegans to make sure they are members and/or support only organizations that align with their own ethical belief.
We will continue to work with the Vegan World Alliance and its members to develop a global vegan standard. We welcome any industry members to contact the VWA if there is a wish to cooperate. Our doors have always been and will always be open for cooperation.
In the meantime we ask consumers to be vigilant and not give any weight to certifications from organizations they do not trust. We have seen countless examples of products certified by organizations that would not comply with the draft standard of the Vegan World Alliance.
Unfortunately, it became very clear quickly that this organization’s main purpose was to distribute our government’s grant money. The plans for this organization beyond the disbursement of taxpayer’s money are vague at best and every member of the organization is someone who can in some way benefit from this money. There was no member that could not directly or indirectly benefit from the government’s money and even non-industry members such as ourselves would not have the right to vote like other members.
Once again this initiative was mainly for show, even some of the money that was awarded went to projects that were unsuitable for vegans, such as developing feed for animal agriculture. Unless this organization undergoes drastic changes, we will not be participating.
This is another great example that shows how industry at large is not ready to cooperate with vegan organizations to develop plant-based products suitable for vegans, respecting our ethical concerns. We hope 2020 will be the year when we can truly start working with industry to further our charitable purposes and our vision.
For many reasons, we spent more time in 2019 digging deeper into issues and doing our own investigative research and statistics. This is what we will continue to focus in the future: Shedding light in dark corners of society and dissecting large scientific reports.
Unfortunately, news has changed and not always for the better. News is now mainly infotainment and highly polarized. It is no longer unbiased, balanced and accurate but serves only to further a narrative. As such, we spent time in 2019 and will spend more time in 2020 correcting mainstream media whenever appropriate and possible.
We will need more volunteers to do this as the amount of alternative facts in the news is staggering, many of which will never be corrected. The media concentration in Canada is the worst of the G8.
We are not talking about privately owned corporations, just correcting the CBC would be a full-time endeavour for many volunteers. A great example of alternative facts on CBC was our complaint to the CBC Ombudsman about incorrect information the Dairy Farmers of Canada had been trying to feed Canadians without success, so instead they turned to the Dietitians of Canada and the CBC to spread their lie.
We will continue to at least try and correct the CBC whenever we have the resources to do so and it’s deemed necessary. We will discuss this in more details and correct the false and misleading information in two upcoming in-depth coverage to be released in January 2020.
This year saw many issues with products being labelled as vegan that were not vegan certifiable. We are still waiting for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to update their site. We have been told the process is ongoing, but we haven’t been given a specific date for the rollout. We have not seen the new text, but we will not accept the government redefining the word vegan that would result in products in the marketplace labelled vegan that are unsuitable for vegans.
This is not a new issue in Canada, and it’s a symptom of a much larger problem that is compounded by veganism. In this country, our labelling laws do not provide enough information for consumers to be able to make an informed choice. For example, it is impossible to know in Canada whether a fruit or vegetable has been waxed with animal by-products since it is not a requirement to indicate coating ingredients on the label.
We will continue to work on ensuring that only products that are suitable for vegans are labelled vegan and making sure consumers have as much information as possible to make informed choices.
We also want to take the time to thank Unsplash and all their contributors. A vast majority of the stock photography on this site comes from this platform and their contributors and it perfectly suit our needs.
As we move into 2020, we will continue to work on the goals above and new ones shaped by the interests of our volunteers. With the Vegan World Alliance, we hope to work on a plan to achieve zero animal agriculture within a reasonable time frame. We have some concrete milestones and various standards to get us there.
As a charitable organization, we depend on the generosity of others to continue our work; due to your continued support, all of this was possible. We want to thank everyone for their generosity! Anyone who wants to offer their time will always have a place with us. If you would like to volunteer, please let us know. We have many positions to fill and there is sure to be something that’s a great fit for you as we shape the future of veganism.
As a charitable organization, we are prevented from running a for-profit business, and we are very fortunate that many people are interested in making a difference so we can focus on our charitable goals together. With your continued support and interest and as new volunteers join us, we will add additional projects. Please contact us today to get involved!
We look forward to working together in the new year.