Vegetarianism in Errinundera
In the dreamtime legends of the Oo (the indiginous inhabitants of the Errinundrian forest) the union of the forest spirit, Errinu, and the mist spirit, Undra, begat the moving things of the forest floor, ie water and animals, including humans.
The Oo draw two fundamental implications from this world view:
- 1) that all animals have equal status; and
- 2) the world was not created for the benefit of humans.
As reasoning beings, the Oo conclude that the use of animals should be kept to an absolute minumum so as not to abuse their duty of care towards the forest. With protein substitutes becaming widely available during the twentieth century, the Oo renounced the killing of animals altogether.
The other large ethnic group - the Zu-vendi of the Snowy River valley - though not vegetarian like the Oo, were strongly committed to the preservation of their environment.
There were many environmental abuses under the usurper monarchy (1889-1905) and the puritanicy (1905-1941). The great mass movement that grew during the puritanicy adopted many of the philosophical principles of Oo beliefs, unsuprisingly, as many of its leaders were from the forests.
With the 1941 liberation, environmental conservation became a central tenet of the Errinundrian constitution, although without a requirement for vegetarianism out of respect for Zu-vendi culture.
The centre of meat production in the nation had been Rodger River, a city where Zu-vendi and Oo had completely assimilated. The meat industry was dominated by companies closely associated with the puritans. Within 12 months of the liberation the Rodgerers adopted vegetarianism in reaction against the industry and torched the company's buildings.
The destruction of the Rodger River meat industry electrified the nation and galvanised the new leadership. Cities, towns and villages mandated vegetarianism and trashed offending businesses. On 6 February 1958 the last town of the nation adopted compulsory vegetarianism. The day is commemorated as V-day.
For examples of how seriously Errinundrians take their vegetarianism see these Errinundrian news media archives: