Vegan Rights in the UK:
Promoting Animal Liberation Using Vegan Rights
by Dr Jeanette Rowley and Barbara Bolton
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The legal protections afforded to vegans in the United Kingdom (UK), and in
the European Union (EU), are not well known or understood. Vegans are
people who hold the moral conviction that it is wrong to exploit and kill nonhuman
animals unnecessarily. Vegans in the UK have the same protections
as those who hold religious beliefs. In the same way that someone who holds
a religious belief has the right to manifest that belief, by living in accordance
with it, so too do vegans have the right to live according to their moral
conviction. Just as it is unlawful to discriminate against or harass someone
because of their religious beliefs, it is unlawful to discriminate against or
harass vegans because of their convictions.
These protections are little known and rarely used, and the main purpose of
this book is to disseminate the key information about our rights to other
vegans living in the UK, so that they are aware of the rights they hold, how
those rights apply in common situations, and what remedies are available to
them in the event of breach. It is important that they have this information in
order that they can more knowledgeably assert their rights on behalf of
themselves, their children and, ultimately, on behalf of non-human animals
whose rights we recognise by living vegan.
This book develops themes contained in the guide: ‘Vegan Rights: Questions
and Answers,’ published in 2014 and expands upon the topics introduced
there by looking in more detail at the content of specific rights, discussing
relevant court decisions from Europe and the UK, and predicting how a court
may apply vegan rights to particular situations.
Widespread change, to help bring about animal liberation, will require a
significant element of self-help by those of us who are able to do so, and our
aim is to assist vegans to advocate for change. With that objective, this is the
first publication to provide example letters covering some of the most common
situations encountered by vegans in the UK, to assist them in advocating for
their rights with employers, schools, local authorities and service providers.
Each letter and email will be worthwhile, increasing awareness of: (1)
veganism and what it really means; that it is not a diet or a lifestyle, but rather
a way of living in recognition of the rights of other animals; (2) the needs of
vegans; to be able to avoid animal exploitation in all its forms, and (3) the legal
requirements with respect to vegans. If we all advocate consistently for our
rights, keeping our focus at all times on non-human animals, we can use
vegan rights to promote veganism and respect for the rights of vegans at the
It is also our hope that this book will also be read by employers and relevant
people within government entities and private service providers, in order that
they understand what the law requires, ensure they are taking the protected
vegan conviction into account and avoid rights breaches.
The authors have written this book in their own time, as part of their voluntary
vegan advocacy work. We have no pecuniary interest in this project. We
assert no copyright over this book, which may be reproduced and shared
freely; we ask only that we are credited in the usual way when use is made of
our work, whether in full or in part.