Response to ‘How Vegans Can Plant the Seeds of Acceptance’

Plant based foods

Author: George Jacobs, President of Animal Allies

I refer to How Vegans Can Plant the Seeds of Acceptance (ST 7 Nov).

Everyone can make an important contribution to society, whether we are school cleaners creating a conducive environment for learning, police officers promoting public safety, or grandparents helping to raise new generations.

Our diets provide another way to contribute to society. Putting more plant based foods on our plates defends people’s health by reducing the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes. Reducing consumption of animal based foods also protects the environment, for instance, lowering greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, moving away from meat shows kindness toward the hundreds of billions of thinking, feeling animals who are eaten annually.

As Tani Khara explains, many people are reducing their consumption of meat. Fortunately, in Singapore, we enjoy an increasingly large range of alternative protein sources. For example, we have traditional foods, such as tofu, tempeh, lentils and oats, which are among the most affordable options in any supermarket.

New products are also available, such a Quorn, made from fungus (just like mushrooms), long popular in the UK and now to be found in many SG stores. Plus, more new products are in the pipeline. For instance, 27-29 November at the RETHINK Agri-Food Innovation Week, sustainable protein will be among the foci.

Singapore has long been a model of multicultural harmony, where people live and work together regardless of race and religion. These differences in race and religion include different customs as to food and drink, yet we can enjoy dining together while eating different foods.

For instance, at an Interfaith Dialog on Food at Tampines Hub this past September, a Muslim panellist spoke about going to a pub to celebrate a friend’s graduation. While some of the other celebrants drank alcoholic beverages, he had soft drinks, but all enjoyed each other’s company. And, isn’t that feeling of fraternity what it’s all about, much more than food?

As a member of the growing vegan community in Singapore, I can attest to the fact that we take an inclusive approach. Everyone, regardless of their diet, is welcome at our events, and we join the events of organisations that are not in line with our views on diet. After all, we share a common goal of contributing to a better, more harmonious society.