Animal rights body PETA India on Friday pushed the Railways to not only go ahead with its plan of observing Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary as a ‘Vegetarian Day’, but to go a step further and offer only vegan food on October 2.
However, the Railways Ministry has kept its proposal of observing Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday as a ‘Vegetarian Day’ in ‘abeyance.’
By choosing not to serve eggs, dairy products, or meat on trains on October 2, will truly be honouring and celebrating Gandhi’s unwavering dedication to ‘ahimsa,’ said PETA India, in a letter to the Railways Minister.
"I am writing on behalf of PETA India and our more than one million members and supporters to request that Indian Railways go ahead with its plan to honour the 150th anniversary of Gandhi Jayanti by not serving meat on trains on 2 October, and that it go a step further by offering only vegan food (which is vegetarian food sans eggs and dairy products) that day," the animal rights group said in its letter.
Another animal protection body Humane Society International India (HIS) has also requested the Railways to not only serve vegetarian food in trains but also remove any animal derivative and promote vegetarian food at least once a week.
"Mahatma Gandhiji was committed to leading a life of compassion and ahimsa, which is why he wrote about leaving eggs and dairy products off our plates as a way to protect animals from violence. Were he alive today, he would most certainly be vegan," the letter written by Manilal Valliyate, Chief Executive Officer PETA India, said.
In the letter, PETA India said that being the pioneer of non-violence and the chief of the Indian independence movement, Gandhi taught to be kind to all animals.
While referring to Gandhi's autobiography, 'The Story of My Experiments With Truth', PETA India said India's Father of the Nation wrote, "It is my firm conviction that man need take no milk at all, beyond the mother's milk that he takes as a baby.
The animal rights group said that a day of vegan eating can only help human bodies, as being a consumer of animal milk and eggs ‘wreaks havoc’ on human health and body, whereas the plant-based foods are free of all unnecessary cholesterol and fat linked with poor health outcomes such as strokes, heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
"Cardiovascular disease is India's leading cause of death, with strokes in third place. The country also has more people with type 2 diabetes than any other nation, and our cancer rate is spiralling out of control," it said.