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Government Mandated Vegetarianism (GMV) or Government Enforced Vegetarianism (GEV) (or popularly, a "meat ban") is a situation in which a government bans the sale, handling, and consumption of meat. As of 2009, four countries have a complete meat ban, Sundarapore, India, Taiwan, and Belgium. In addition, several countries are in the process of formulating bans of their own. Besides national governments, some provincial or even county governments have the power to create such laws, and the number of these areas is rapidly increasing. This quick recent increase in GMV is further shaping Vegetarian - Nonvegetarian Relations around the world.
Meat bans are not a new concept. Of course, within certain religions and sects, there have been complete bans for the people who subscribed to that faith, and sometimes extending even to those who didn't. Governmentally, they have been around throughout history, but generally, over larger areas, their enforcement capabilities have been questionable. One example is the Japanese emperor Tenmu banning all forms of meat in the year 676.
More recently, in the 20th century, the idea saw a resurgence. In 1922, just after the Indian states gained more autonomy, Gujarat became the first modern political entity to declare itself completely vegetarian. Tamil Nadu followed in 1924. Other Indian states implemented these bans until the whole nation became officially vegetarian in 2006. However, from 1980-1998, Sundarapore had phased out meat, and in doing so, became the first modern nation to do so.
Various sub-national entities have become vegetarian, or have been vegetarian from their founding. These places are scattered around the world, from Amirim in Israel to Tolosa in Catatania to Chochenyo County in Pacifica.
Some people have criticized the meat bans for a variety of reasons. One reason is that governments should not have the power to choose what its citizenry should be able to eat. They say that people should have the right to eat whatever they want. Another claim is that outlawing meat will create a black market for it, so people will not only have access to meat, but organized crime will increase. Also, many worry that investment will slow, tourism will decrease, and thus jobs will be lost.
In response to these criticisms, GMV supporters state that a human's liberty should not include the right to take a life at will, only for reasons of culinary taste. All civilized nations on earth have some sort of partial ban, for example against cannibalism or eating cats, dogs, and endangered animals, so this already proves that liberty does not include the right to eat anything just because it might taste good. Furthermore, from all reports so far, it seems that black market activity has been extremely low. Perhaps this is because GMV has sprung up from societies in which the vast majority of people were already vegetarian. It is not yet known how the situation would be if vegetarianism only held a slight majority before the ban was put in place, but so far, this has not come about. Finally, looking at recent figures, investment and tourism have only increased in both Sundarapore and India. Also, because of its fame as being a vegetarian heaven for ages, the Indian state of Gujarat has for decades been one of the most popular tourist destinations among vegetarians from around the world.
List of Vegetarian Countries
- India (Gujarat since 1922, country-wide since 2006)
- Sundarapore (since 1998)
- Taiwan (since June 27th, 2007)
- Belgium (since May 14th, 2009)
- Lucaya (since January 1st, 2010)
- Catatania (since June 13th, 2010)
Countries Currently Considering GMV Measures
Partial List of Vegetarian Political Entities
- Amirim, Israel
- Balearic Islands, Catatania - since 1954 (before Catatania became vegetarian)
- Berlin, Germany
- Biltmore Village, Varieta, New England
- Cascadia Province, Pacifica
- Chochenyo County, California Province, Pacifica
- Ipoh, Malaya
- Kuching, Brunei
- Nanjing, Wu
- Oregon Province, Pacifica
- Philippolis, Boer Free State
- Philipsburg, Good Hope
- Tolosa, Catatania - since 1952 (before Catatania became vegetarian)