The Center for Peace, Non-violence and Human Rights in Osijek, Croatia has awarded the Krunoslav Sukić peacekeeping award to the president of the Animal Friends organization.
Luka Oman, president of the Croatian animal protection organization Animal Friends, has received the 2018 Krunoslav Sukić award, a special recognition for the advancement of peacekeeping, non-violence, and human rights. At the ceremony, held at the National Theater building in Osijek, the Center for Peace, Non-violence and Human Rights awarded a handful of honorees, and recognized Oman’s pioneering work promoting animal rights and veganism in solidarity with animals, other people, the planet, and future generations.
The center pointed out that Luka Oman has, over the course of 17 years in the Animal Friends organization, shown extraordinary selflessness and dedication to others. He has demonstrated an unwavering level of commitment to his work, whether lobbying for animal rights on a national level, paving the floors of animal shelters, wading through flooded areas in Gunja to rescue stranded animals, preparing vegan food to feed large groups, or simply changing an older lady’s kitchen tap and taking her dog to the vet. The evening’s organizers described Oman as ”modest and reserved, always ready to direct his boundless energy towards the betterment of the state of things and towards the creation of a world without violence, cruelty, or the abuse and elimination of those lacking power.”
Among his many achievements ”not just for the sake of animals, the Animal Friends organization and Luka himself, but rather for all our sakes,” the organizers have singled out the successful banning of experimentation on beagles at the veterinary college of Zagreb University, as well as bans on raising animals for their fur, killing animals in shelters, using and keeping wild animals in circuses, and keeping dogs chained up. These successful bans are among Oman’s many other notable activities and campaigns, including his work promoting a sustainable vegan lifestyle through the ZeGeVege festival for 11 consecutive years.
Describing Luka as a contemporary voice of conscience, they added that ”Luka is leading by example and showing us how to transform our very concept of peace and peacekeeping from a human-centered understanding towards a holistic one; he’s asking us, as a civilization, to claim responsibility and bring into question the spectre of unconscious yet ubiquitous cruelty towards animals, reflected in the way we raise them for food; he’s demonstrating to us that only through compassion and solidarity towards animals and nature as a whole will we be able to fully comprehend the extent of our responsibility for the planet and for future generations – a point of view which is backed by science, seeing as we’ve already established the environmental harmfulness of raising animals for food, and shown that even small changes in our dietary habits are effective ways we can all help deter global warming.”
Luka Oman has said that he is deeply honored and has expressed gratitude on behalf of the entire Animal Friends organization. Oman stated, ”I am happy to see that selflessness and dedication to animal rights are being recognized as essentially linked to human rights and the progress of society as a whole. For the past 17 years, the Animal Friends organization has been directing people’s attention towards a widespread and simultaneously ‘invisible’ injustice present in society, which is practiced on a daily basis – the treatment of animals as objects, as food, fashion accessories, test subjects, or means of entertainment. It’s sad that in the 21st century, in a time when we all claim to love and respect animals, we still treat them this way. Although we love our dogs, we have no problem eating pork. Despite loving cats, we’ll have no quarrels buying cow-skin boots. The knowledge that there are alternatives out there that don’t involve hurting animals just makes it all the more sad.”
Despite the worrisome situation we find ourselves in, Oman goes on to say that ”the way we mistreat animals will backfire on us, because we’ve created an unsustainable system – killing cows, pigs, chickens and fish on a massive scale to produce meat, eggs and dairy – this process is not just damaging to animals, it will ultimately be decisive for the fate of humanity as well. The food industry is a destructive force on our planet, more so than any other industry in fact. If we don’t change our way of life and stop using animals in this way, consuming huge quantities of natural resources in the process, the fate of future generations will be bleak. However, I believe in society and I believe that we will stop treating animals as instruments, which will in turn be reflected in the advancement of human rights and the prosperity of all living beings.”
The Center for Peace in Osijek created the Krunoslav Sukić’ award for peacekeeping, non-violence and human rights in 2009 in honor of one of its founders, peace activist and philanthropist Krunoslav Sukić, whose academic career, worldview, and actions in life were always motivated by a recognition and acknowledgment of the inherent dignity, integrity, and rights of all humans, as well as all living beings, and all of creation.
Guided by these founding principles, and their personal judgment, the Award Committee chose to honor Luka Oman on the 10th anniversary of the Award, for his contributions in creating a world without violence, in hopes of spreading the ideals of peace, peacekeeping, equal rights and non-violence towards all living beings and the planet itself.
Featured image: Luka Oman is presented with the Krunoslav Sukić’ peacekeeping award. This image and all images in this story credited to Animal Friends Croatia.