The Citizens’ Initiative for the Rights of Vegetarians (ICDV) points out the contradiction between these acts of the French government and the right of freedom of conscience as established by the United Nations declaration of human rights, which includes the right to live in accordance with one's beliefs.

Powerful mobilization against the recent regulations concerning catering services

Wednesday 26 October, at 11:30 am, a protest will be held in front of the office of the General Administration of Food (DGAL) of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, 251 rue de Vaugirard in Paris.

Additionally, a petition demanding the repeal of decree number 2011-1277 and of its accompanying order has gathered over six thousand signatures in less than one week, many coming from abroad. Numerous foreign organizations, vegetarian or not, have been offended by France's failure to uphold the freedom of belief and by the measures making it impossible for vegetarian children to nourish themselves properly in school cafeterias. Viva!, an English organization, issued a press release entitled “Having Banned the Burqa, French Now Ban Les Veggies.”

The decrees

The decree 2011-1227 of 30 September 2011 and the order of 30 September 2011, published in the Journal Officiel on 2 October 2011, quite simply make vegetarianism illegal in school cafeterias. They do so first by making the regular presence of meat and fish in the meals mandatory, hence preventing vegetarian students from eating in the cafeterias every day; secondly, by making it such that those cafeterias up to now have offered alternative menus are now illegal (1).

The position of the Citizens’ Initiative for the Rights of Vegetarians

Numerous people throughout the world are deeply convinced that the consumption of animals and of the products of animal exploitation is wrong. Vegetarianism and veganism are the inescapable practical expressions of this belief.

The recent governmental regulations undermine the fundamental individual liberties by limiting the free exercise of personal belief as proclaimed by the United Nations:

“Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right shall include freedom to have a religion or whatever belief of his choice, and freedom, either individually or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching.“ (2)

“Isn’t it right for the government to ensure that school cafeterias serve well-balanced meals?”

“Certainly, so long as alternatives are taken into account,” answers David Olivier, spokesperson of the ICDV. “The decree and order specify that every meal is to include a 'protein dish,' which is to be exclusively of animal origins (meat, fish, eggs, or cheese), thus disregarding the abundant availability of forms of plant protein. They also impose dairy products in every meal, purportedly because it is the only way to cover the needs for calcium, disregarding the plant and mineral alternatives. It is quite possible to devise well-balanced vegetarian and even vegan meals, as is regularly done in other countries.”

“By imposing such an abundance of animal products under the pretext of offering schoolchildren well-balanced meals, the government spreads the idea that only a meat-based diet can satisfy dietary needs. Furthermore, it places vegetarian children in front of the following dilemma: to consume animals, despite their beliefs, or to eat inadequate meals - sometimes just bread and water – which flies in the face of the stated goal of the regulations.”

“Whoever is unhappy with the school cafeterias can simply choose to feed their children at home!”

“Not all parents of vegetarian children are in a situation that allows them to bring them home for lunch or to hire a nanny,” notes A. P., mother of a three-year-old girl. “To impose such a solution would be to discriminate against the less affluent families. Moreover, by depriving children of the opportunity to socialize in the school cafeteria, this decree makes the children’s beliefs a cause of marginalization. Freedom of belief also implies that the parents have the right to choose for their children an education in agreement with their own convictions.”

“Must school cafeterias conform to each and every demand?”

“Cafeterias are a service that satisfies a need,” points out Sara Fergé, schoolteacher. “Thus they must adapt to the needs of those who use them – the students, the teachers and other members of staff – rather than the reverse. That is how it is in other countries, where the cafeterias offer multiple choices every day, including a vegetarian menu, since these choices are designed with the needs of the population in mind. Why is it that what is possible elsewhere seems impossible in France?”

Because they prevent vegetarian children from having access to a well-balanced diet in school cafeterias, because they spread the idea that only meat-based meals can be nutritionally well balanced, because they violate the principle of freedom of belief, the Citizens’ Initiative for the Rights of Vegetarians demands the repeal of these laws that impose the consumption of animal products in school cafeterias.

Signed by:

Animal Amnistie (Toulouse)



Aquitaine décroissance

Association Végétarienne & Végétalienne d'InformationS (A.V.I.S)

CLAM (Montpellier)

CLEDA (Paris)

Dignité Animale (Lyon)

Initiative Citoyenne pour les Droits des Végétariens


Les Animaux de Maurice

Mouvement socialiste écologiste et autogestionnaire

Réseau Antispéciste Poitou Charentes.

NEA (Rennes)

Respect Animal (Lyon)



Veggie Pride


Contact : David OLIVIER, +33 6 42 06 07 47


Further information on


(1) Decree 2011-1227 of 30 September 2011 ; governmental order of 30 September 2011, published in the Journal Officiel on 2 October 2011 (; partial English translation here.

(2) Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief, proclaimed by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 25 November 1981 (, article 1.1.