Katica Spasic is vice president of the IVU affiliated Serbian organisation Freedom for Animals. Additionally, she is a veterinarian who also trained as a nurse. Her hobby is writing, including writing for the "Healthy life" ("Zdrav život") magazine in Serbia - about veganism, natural healing methods, spirituality and natural life and art. Katica kindly agreed to be interviewed for IVU Online News.
What made you decide to become a vegetarian? When did that happen? How old were you at the time?
I liked animals from my early childhood. At 15-16 years old, I decided to stop eating them. Nobody told me about ethical reasons at that time - it was a result of pure love and empathy for animals. I did not want any animal to be killed for my appetite.
I did not have support for my vegetarianism from anybody at that time. I was considered a weird person in a meat-eating society. Many years later, I was so happy knowing that I am not alone in this style of life.
What made you decide to become active in promoting vegetarianism?
It was my desire to make this planet to be a better place for living. It is the best way for people, as well as for animals and nature in general. And this is also very important for ethical movement for protecting animals.
What sustains your desire to be active?
My activism is sustained by my wish to do something for a better life, for nature and future - not to be just a silent watcher.
What is an obstacle that you face in remaining active in promoting vegetarianism? How do you overcome this obstacle?
In the "Freedom for animals" organization ("Sloboda za životinje", Serbia, www.sloboda-za-zivotinje.org), all the members are volunteers, and there is never enough time and money for promoting vegetarianism and all the other activities. But, we are big enthusiasts; our enthusiasm helps us to do more in these circumstances.
What is one of your organisation's accomplishments that makes you especially proud?
There are many accomplishments. For instance, in last few months "Freedom for Animals" has become the representative for V label in Serbia. It is a label for vegetarian and vegan food products, catering and restaurants.
This label makes it easier for vegetarians to know which food products may be safe to eat, and saves vegetarians the trouble of deciphering ingredient lists which may be opaque, incomplete and written in very small print.
The idea about the small print is captured in the following joke:
Meat-eater: Did you hear about the new study saying vegans are more likely to go blind? I guess it's because you don't get the proper nutrition.
Vegan: Nah, it's just from reading all of those tiny ingredients lists.
How do you try to maintain good relations and enthusiasm amongst your organisation's members?
We try to keep positive emotions... and we do not press anybody for anything. Maybe it is not good in some ways, but this way, people are free to decide if they can and want to do something for our goals.
What is one way that your organisation cooperates with other veg organisations?
There are different ways. One of them is attending veggie summits organized by EVU (European Vegetarian Union), if one of us is able to come there.
How does your organisation reach out to people who are trying to become veg or who are newly veg?
Promoting vegetarianism is one of our main goals, so, we are realizing it in a few ways: organizing public promotions, veggie festivals and picnics, by our website (educational texts), by media, publishing educational booklets, videos for internet and TV stations, etc.
Please share another vegetarian joke with us.
Q. What's the best way to keep milk fresh?
A. Leave it in the cow.
Freedom for Animals, Serbia, is an associate member of the International Vegetarian Union - www.ivu.org