Lithuanian military will offer vegetarian menu after receiving religious complaint

The Lithuanian military will now offer vegetarian options in its mess halls after receiving a complaint from the Hare Krishna religious movement in Lithuania, reports 15min.lt.
Conscripts in their mess hall
© I. Budzeikaitės nuotr.

The international Hare Krishna religious movement, which has its own branch in Lithuania, requires its adherents to maintain a vegetarian diet, which would be incompatible with the meals currently offered by the Lithuanian military.

Once the leader of the Lithuanian military, Lt. General Jonas Vytautas Žukas, signs the order authorizing an alternative vegetarian menu and the recipes used to prepare it, vegetarian meals should start appearing in Lithuanian military mess halls by the middle of this year.

Currently, both conscripts and professional soldiers are offered menus that include meat, fish and eggs.

Equal Opportunity Ombudsperson Agneta Lobačevskytė terminated her office's discrimination investigation, but has ordered the military to provide a report on their progress towards implementing the vegetarian menu by 1 July 2016.

In a press conference about the decision, Minister of National Defense Juozas Olekas expressed a desire to reorganize some military units based on dietary preferences; "Perhaps we'll concentrate the vegetarian kitchens or forces in a single place... just for those who have certain dietary tendencies or inclinations," he said. "There are tens of places where the troops serve, so offering and serving these menus at every mess hall to one or two soldiers wouldn't be very appropriate or efficient."

According to the minister, vegetarian field rations do currently exist, meaning that vegetarian soldiers can eat during active exercises. At mess halls, vegetarian soldiers are often offered extra servings of vegetables.

The minister indicated that, to his knowledge, there are two vegetarian soldiers in the Lithuanian military.

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