Written by PETA
Janez Drnovsek, the Slovenian president who led his country to independence in 1991, died this weekend at the age of 57. Mr. Drnovsek’s prodigious accomplishments included building a stable democracy in Slovenia and preparing the way for his country to join the European Union in 2004. He was also passionate about animal rights: An ethical vegan, Drnovsek urged Slovenians to be kind to animals with the same keen awareness of the suffering of others that gained him a reputation as a champion for oppressed people and a progressive leader who refused to stay silent in the face of injustice. Drnovsek became vegetarian after he was diagnosed with cancer in 1999, and he credited his diet with prolonging his life as he battled the disease over the next nine years. In a 2005 interview, he discussed the philosophy behind his decision to adopt a vegan diet:
“If we think for a moment how man manages animals and what impact he has on animal world, we could say he was not human at all. Just think of all slaughterhouses and production of beef or poultry where conditions for animals are impossible. … It is not that people are bad—they just don't think about it. When the final product is in front of them on the plate, they don't think what was has been before and how it got to this stage.”
Drnovsek was a man of principle, courage, and most of all, compassion, and his example inspired countless people to look with fresh eyes on the world around them and live their lives in a way that showed kindness to all beings. He will be greatly missed.
First of all, Happy Easter from everyone at PETA!
Now, as a little food for thought for the Easter holidays, here's the transcript of the 2007 Easter Message by the Slovenian President (and my new personal hero) Dr. Janez Drnovsek. President Bush, I really hope you're paying attention:
"The Easter Holidays are near. Let’s spend them in peace and good company. You can also renounce the ham, chocolate-eggs should be sufficient for an Easter atmosphere. Would it not be more harmonious if we did not associate religious celebrations directly with ham and other non-spiritual symbols? Do really so many animals have to die when we celebrate higher consciousness and try to develop spiritually? The answer is clear: of course not. Feasts don’t have much to do with spirituality, just the opposite. Even considering that we can try to understand that in some eras, in which food was scarce, religious events were celebrated with banquets, we can now leave such material remnants behind us. True spirituality does not need them, just the opposite, because they show us that religions demanding such identifications got stuck at a relatively low level of consciousness. That’s why we’ll try to celebrate the occasion differently this time. We use the opportunity for a walk in nature, for a cleansing of the spirit, for the search for internal peace. We are friendly to our family, our neighbours and all those suffering in this world. Also to animals. We spare them this time from our lust for meat and we try to overcome historical behavior patterns. We will do something good for our spirit and our body."
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Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.