“Vitadacani, along with the organisation Essere Animali e and the Committee against Green Hill, had always participated in the Seitan Festival, organised by Vivere Vegan in Tuscany. We used to give talks, have our stands, we really enjoyed it… and so we started thinking that maybe we could organise a festival also in Milan. We had planned a soft opening, starting with something small, but in 2013, after the first edition, we realised that there were already so many people interested and so much space to host it! MiVeg was born to bring people, through conviviality and vegan flavours, to understand that veganism is not just about consuming vegetable food, but it is also an anti-speciesist lifestyle, a life choice against animal exploitation. Veganism is a critical and political attitude towards a consumerism model: we don’t just avoid eating animals, we are anti-speciesists ready to fight battles and question things every day. Therefore, besides food, the true beating heart of this event are cultural talks and contributions, because for us MiVeg is like a window open onto the world we would like to live in, always starting from the idea that everyone of us can make the difference. We want to knock down the wall of silence about animal exploitation, letting people know animals in all their beauty, sweetness, and specificity. This year we had a VR headset allowing people to experience a 360-degree tour of a sanctuary, meeting bulls and other animal guests. We want to bring people closer to animals, and to break down the prejudices of speciesism, because every prejudice is rooted in ignorance.
If you know animals, you start feeling with them, identifying with them, considering them not just as supermarket products… and maybe this could switch on a tiny spark that will lead to a big change.
Besides being a great opportunity to get people involved and propose them a path of change, which is different for each one, MiVeg is also a precious help for us because all proceeds go to the freed animals.
Since 2018, MiVeg is organised only by Vitadacani, with the support of the Italian Sanctuaries Network.”
THE WORLD I WOULD LIKE TO LIVE IN…
“It is a world without exploitation or cages, where every individual, being human or not, could be themselves and live happy and free.
I think the most difficult thing of all is to remove the cages, including those in our minds and inside us, because besides opening them, and freeing, and saving, with great humility, each one of us must set off on a long inner journey to search and find them. Even I, who have dedicated my whole life to animals, trying to make their life better every day, can still find those cages inside me, every day. Speciesism is so rooted in each one of us that we are not aware of it. Ever since our childhood, we live in a culture allowing some minorities, some individuals, to legally exploit and mistreat and subjugate other individuals just because they are different, because they belong to a different gender, creed, politics, ethnicity, or species. We can’t stand a dog on a chain and run to free it, but we can pass by a death truck on the highway without blinking an eye. That happened to me, too.
It is difficult and painful. At sixteen I was intolerant, I couldn’t understand or justify, I was absolutist, integralist… and suffering. But over time I learnt to see the beauty in order to go on. I manage shelters also for this reason. I believe in animal liberation. The empathy animals give us every day in sanctuaries, the connection with life, along with kindness, respect, non-violence, all these things save us and help us to resist day after day. It’s a very long path and for sure we won’t see its end, but I have learned to be happy when I get home from the shelter. Because I believe in beauty, and the only way I have to stay proactive is to keep making projects. We must keep believing.
The individuals living in the sanctuaries teach us to value freedom, both ours and theirs. I am privileged, because every day I do what I’ve always wanted to. Every day I experience a non-hierarchical world, a barely organised one, and where every individual plays its part and cooperates horizontally with others. In the sanctuary I can have, foresee or imagine the world I would like to live in.”