Vegetarian for Life

Celebrating progress in recognising philosophical beliefs this International Human Rights Day

Posted by Guest on 08/12/23 in VfL News and Events

On 10 December the world comes together to commemorate International Human Rights Day. Observing International Human Rights Day traces back to the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. It's a day to reflect on the fundamental principles that bind us as a global community.

International Human Rights Day serves as a reminder of the essential rights and freedoms inherent to every individual, such as the freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of one's own choice.

As a society we have made tangible progress in improving our understanding of diverse beliefs and the need to respect and protect them. This change was reflected in the recent case of Casamitjana Costa v The League Against Cruel Sports (2020). The case was brought by Jordi Casamitjana who alleged that he was treated unfairly by his employer – the League Against Cruel Sports because of his ethical veganism.

After examining the evidence, the employment tribunal ruled that ethical veganism is a philosophical belief and thus a protected characteristic under Section 10 of the Equality Act 2010. The tribunal established that ethical veganism satisfies the criteria of philosophical beliefs defined in Section 10 of the Equality Act 2010, because:

‘It is genuinely held, is a belief and not an opinion or viewpoint based on the present state of information available; is a belief as to a weighty and substantial aspect of human life and behaviour; attains a certain level of cogency, seriousness, cohesion and importance; is worthy of respect in a democratic society compatible with human dignity and not conflict with the fundamental rights of others.’

This case serves as an important milestone on our journey towards granting veganism and vegetarianism due regard and legal protection. 

Casamitjana Costa v The League Against Cruel Sports (2020) is significant because it gives guidance on how ethical veganism will be treated before the courts. Hence, affirming that local authorities, public bodies and health and care services should recognise ethical veganism as a protected characteristic.

To make it easier to cater for any service users who require a 'free-from' or 'special' diet, VfL has produced a number of free-to-download resources. These include Dietary diversity in the care sector, and Veg*nism: More than just a diet – which explains ethical considerations beyond diet, such as toiletries, cosmetics, medicine, and bedding.

Happy International Human Rights Day!


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