The Intersection of Law and Vegan / Plant-Based Food Accessibility

2018-01-16

Call for Papers. Issue 1, Summer 2018.

The Intersection of Law and Vegan / Plant-Based Food Accessibility

Submission guidelines
    • Papers are to be written in English.

    • Please use the OSCOLA referencing system. 
      Website: Oscola
      Guide: Click Here
      Quick guide: Click Here

      Abstracts of 200 words should be sent to [email protected] by 28th February 2018.
  • Full written papers between 2500 and 5000 words must be sent to Jeanette Rowley no later than 31st May 2018.

Conference theme

A well-planned, plant-based, vegan-friendly diet supports healthy living in people of all ages, and during pregnancy and breastfeeding. On these grounds, The British Dietetic Association (BDA) has a constructive working relationship with The Vegan Society.          

The BDA is not the only organisation to recognise the benefits of the plant diet of vegans. The American Dietetic Association has long since noted the immediate and long-term health benefits of the vegan diet and declared that it is suitable for all age ranges. Recently, the Canadian government has issued new guidance detailing the benefits of a plant-based diet, and the recent Scottish Consultation Document promotes better access to fruits and vegetables, acknowledging that poor diet is associated with significant harms to public health and wider socioeconomic performance. In addition, schools around the world are providing children with plant-based foods, doctors are encouraging people to adopt a new approach to eating, and the market is becoming saturated with plant-based food options. Our conference partners, Plant-Based Health Professionals UK, are no strangers to the health benefits of eliminating animal products from the human diet, and although this knowledge has been around for some decades, it is only just beginning to enjoy a mainstream profile.

This support for the dietary aspect of veganism draws attention to the long-standing concerns of vegans and highlights the problematic nature of dominant food norms. For example, vegans have long campaigned for clear food labelling and suitable food provision in public authority institutions, such as schools, care homes, hospitals and prisons. Vegans have also contested the idea that their diet is restrictive, represents an ‘extreme’ worldview, or is a manifestation of eating disorder.  How food is promoted and advertised is recognised in the recent Scottish Consultation document as a significant driver of consumer behaviour, but there are EU restrictions on the use of words to describe plant-based ‘milk’ and ‘cheese’ products: restrictions that support the promotion of unhealthy ‘food’ products and perpetuate animal exploitation. In this illogical context, the British Advertising Standards Authority upholds that advertisements highlighting the inhumane facts of dairy farming are not misleading.

The Vegan Society identifies that eating and its relationship to animal exploitation is, in broad ways, a matter of social justice. The vegan conviction that nonhuman animals have a right to life and freedom is protected in the UK by laws that originate from international human rights: The Council of Europe and the UK Equality and Human Rights Commission recognise this fact. In addition, the case law of the European Court of Human Rights makes it very clear that food accessibility, in relation to ethical orientation, is no trivial matter. Judges have decided consistently that the right to food according to ethical conscience concerns an important principle of human rights.

In the light of the health sector’s promotion of the vegan diet and the recognition of veganism in the European system of human rights, this first issue  seeks to explore the intersections of food accessibility. The aim is to critically assess gatekeeping and identify the openings and barriers to the successful transition to plant-based eating norms. We invite relevant papers on these issues, including, but not limited to:

  • The legal status of veganism in your country and its relationship to vegan food accessibility in public institutions.
  • The obligations of food service providers.
  • The regulations that prohibit marketing vegan products using words such as ‘milk’ and ‘cheese’.
  • Food labelling, including critical perspectives on the way ‘meat’ is labelled and advertised.
  • The EU REFIT Platform and action under Priority 4 to begin prepatory work to establish a legal definition of vegan food. 
  • Advertising challenges for the vegan community.
  • The right to culturally acceptable food and the (lack of) provision of vegan infant formula.
  • Problematic background discourse to vegan legal cases.
  • The intersection of human and nonhuman rights in food discourse.