23/12/2017 Society
Special Report

Argentina: In the country of the barbecue, every day are more vegans

In Argentina, vegan restaurants and fairs, groups that fight for the rights of animals and sanctuaries of animals rescued from the animal exploitation industry begin to multiply.

Regi, the little veal of the refuge "Los Salvajes" in City Bell, Buenos Aires

Mel Lobo/Los salvajes/LANA



Although there are no official data as in other countries, Buenos Aires has become the capital of veganism in Latin America. Culinary events fill the weekend's agenda, while culinary options expand, as do fairs and ventures that carry food at home.

Buenos Aires already has its first Vegan Supermarket, "Mini Super Vegans", in the street Campichuelo 472. With the image of Apu, the vegetarian Hindu character of The Simpsons friend of Paul Mc Cartney in his facade, has a food court and everything type of vegetable products that surprise: cheeses, mayonnaise, empanadas, milanesas of infinity of vegetables and legumes and the vegan pastry, cakes, donuts, invoices with custard and dulce de leche, but without milk, eggs, cream or butter!

But what is most striking is undoubtedly the vegan butchery, meat that emulates the typical cuts of meat of Argentine roasts: sausages, vacuum, bifes and everything you can imagine, but without guts, blood, or animal fat! All made mostly with seitan, a preparation based on gluten that has a consistency very similar to meat.

There was held on December 8 the last "VeganPaluja" of 2017, the largest vegan festival in Buenos Aires with live vegan artists, cooking workshops, informative talks and a variety of dishes that I never imagined could be done without a single cell (dead) of animal origin.



Restaurants and vegan fairs multiply in Buenos Aires


Meat and machismo in Argentina

Anne DeLessio-Parson is a sociologist at the University of Pennsylvania and during 2016 she was in La Plata, the capital of the province of Buenos Aires, trying to answer a question: how vegetarians live in the land of meat.

 "More and more people, especially young people, join veganism. This happens in many countries of the world, but also in Argentina", says De Lessio-Parson, who adds that these individual decisions have a collective impact that exceeds the scope of food.

But De Lessio knows that the barbecue in Argentina goes further: "it is a difficult subject that transcends the consumption of meat, because it also has the ritual aspect of the talk and the meeting. That's why vegans tend to keep it, but replacing animal meats with vegetables and vegetable meats", says the specialist.

Based on the interviews, Anne De Lessio-Parsons states that women use vegetarianism against patriarchy and that vegan or vegetarian males seem more open, egalitarian and respectful in gender issues than their carnivorous counterparts, as well as more open to talk about these issues and recognize the existence of sexism in patriarchal society.


Massive roast in Buenos Aires

Telam via Ulan/ARCHIVE LANA



Argentina: A country founded by cows

More to the south, where the green plain covered the horizon like a huge sea, which discouraged the most adventurous, in the land where metallic dreams did not prosper, where the civilization of gold was not even sought, where distances, without roads nor hopes built a dispersed society, an animal, closed to nothing, grew free, undaunted in the immensity of the Pampas plain.

Between 1516 and 1541, historical records give Don Pedro de Mendoza, first founder of Buenos Aires, the incorporation of the horse to the nascent city, while his second founder, Don Juan de Garay, the introduction from Asunción (today Paraguay) of herds of cows and sheep.


EBC/ARCHIVE LANA (09/03/2017)


For the first narrator of the origins of the leather civilization, Ruy Diaz de Gusman, would be "7 cows and a bull", herded from Paraguay, by land and by boat on the Paraná river, owned by the merchant Luis Goes, the animals pioneers who populated the green plain.

Beef was the first characteristic food of the region, almost raw, which made possible the subsistence of the first inhabitants of the region of hunger that was Buenos Aires, a whim of the Kingdom of Spain, which sought to consolidate their positions in the La Plata River to prevent the Portuguese from settling in these lands.

Wild cows, wild cattle, fruit of the first Spaniards who fulfilled the mandate to protect overseas positions, founding three new forts, had found fertile land provided with abundant pastures to develop, unlike the first Spaniards, who described this land as desolate and lacking in riches.

The first Spanish inhabitants and their descendants of South America would find in the leather, the first good of change of the region, leaving a tendal of skinned animals in its path.


*"The pains are us, the cows are foreign"

The Argentine economy, and its idea of nationality, is based on the figure of the cow, meat, milk and its derivatives, as an icon of prosperity, its consumption, by the popular classes, is a symbol of social equality.

It is said that with Peronism the chimneys of the factories and the grills of the houses of the most populous neighborhoods are lit, as a symbol that the money in the pocket of the working class allows access to the consumption of meat.


EBC/ARCHIVE LANA (09/03/2017)


In the shanty towns, where the most impoverished sectors live, in times of crisis there is something called "false roast" which consists of grilling beef bones with the remains of meat (which is usually given to dogs) so that the smell of the roast reaches the neighbors and they envy the prosperity of those who can eat meat, even if it is just a farce.

The so-called vaccine oligarchy is the most historically powerful and influential sector in Argentina, like the oil industry of the United States, in its figure the powerful business man is summarized, today eclipsed by soy producers, but who are part of the same chain of animal exploitation.

Very few know it, and less wonder, but the production of transgenic soy fumigated with glyphosate, the main export product of Argentina, is destined to be animal feed, mainly pigs and cows, from markets such as China, mainly from feedlot, animal feedlot enclosed in tiny cells where they can barely move.

Clive Mallard, an animal rights and vegan activist who lives in Buenos Aires, says that this is the world's main environmental problem: "we are transforming vegetable proteins into animals, feeding animals instead of feeding people, we believe that a diet based in products of vegetable origin is the diet the world needs to end hunger and global warming".

On this, Clive says something that few know, the relationship that animal exploitation has with climate change: "In the first place, the causes of forest clearing, is to allocate land for grazing and sow feed for animals, mainly soybeans and corn, which in turn requires a large amount of water, and the fertilizers that are used have nitrogen oxide (N2O), much more harmful than carbon dioxide itself (Co2) when evaporating, the N2O is also generates in the treatment of animal waste. "


EBC/ARCHIVE LANA (09/03/2017)


Clive continues with his apocalyptic list of evils: "methane gas, also with greenhouse properties much greater than CO2, is created by the decomposition of organic matter that comes from cattle and the rest of the livestock sector (chickens and pigs ) ".

"We are infecting the sea with waste from the animal industry, mainly blood and viscera, drying the rivers for intensive agriculture to feed animals, a kilogram of meat represents 15 thousand liters of water for its production, with the increase of the world population and the problem of global warming is no other option than a world with clean energies, but also, that turns to a diet based on plant-based foods, against the suffering of animals, our health and the environment, "says Clive.


Save, the rescued veal that moved Argentina


Save, the newborn veal in a cage truck, in Argentina it is forbidden to send pregnant animals to the slaughterhouse

Buenos Aires Animal Save/LANA


The sanctuaries of animals rescued from the animal exploitation industry in Argentina are not as many as the activists would like, but they are several, and increasing.

The maintenance costs and the time and work they require are not for anyone. Mel Lobo and Yonatan Leguiza created the Refugio Los Salvajes, in City Bell, a residential area on the outskirts of the City of Buenos Aires, where in addition to cats and dogs, they have pigs, chickens, cows, bulls and calves, all saved from industries that are based on animal suffering and exploitation.

In the case of calves born from cows destined for dairy exploitation, these are often discarded, cruelly murdered in mass graves at birth, or at best, separated from their mothers with two days of life, then that they receive the first colostrum, since their milk will be for human consumption, to later go to fattening to be slaughtered.



Save, the veal born in a cage truck, minutes after being rescued by activists

Buenos Aires Animal Save/LANA


At the shelter Los Salvajes came in December "Save", a calf born in the cage truck that was transporting his mother to the slaughterhouse.

"We realized that something was happening while we were doing the vigil at the doors of the Morón slaughterhouse and a row of trucks full of animals, waiting at the entrance, and we noticed that the driver of the last of the vehicles was walking from one side to the other, talking to We went over and told us that one of the cows had given birth to her baby on the trip, we could not believe it, we slowly walked to see her, and there she was, among many others: newborn, huddled in the floor full of dirt, dung and pain", says Federico Callegari (39), the newspaper La Nación, activist of Buenos Aires Animal Save, a movement that aims to witness the reality that farm animals suffer on the way to the slaughterhouse for be able to make it visible and spread it.

The Argentine Law 14346 of Ill-treatment and Acts of Cruelty towards animals prohibits slaughtering pregnant animals and being transported in that state. So, when the opportunity presented itself and without hesitation, the activists rescued the little girl and put her out of danger.





Against the clock, the activists carried out a campaign on the networks to save Tormenta, the mother of Save: "We asked the cattle rancher and the owner of the slaughterhouse, in a show of humanity to respect the life of a mother and her right to raise her daughter over money, and let them live in freedom, together, as it always should have been, "Callegari said in distress.

But it was too late. The cow was slaughtered, like many others. "They are peaceful, social beings and they want their families, they feel pain and they suffer and they know perfectly when they are safe, and when they do not, they are very afraid when they take their family members, when they are taken to them, when they travel in piles, shaken by the ride of the truck, full of desire to flee, and when they meet the last human, who will steal their lives, "Callegari said tearfully to the newspaper" La Nación ".

Save is a symbol of the struggle that many carry out for the rights of animals and today they fight for their lives.

* Phrase belonging to a song by the Argentinean folk singer-songwriter Atahualpa Yupanqui