Our challenges

There are very few court cases concerning veganism. Taking a case to court either at the local or the European level involves a lot of effort, is very time consuming, can be expensive and is likely to involve considerable stress. Although we know that there are many cases involving the unfair treatment of vegans, very few are taken to court for some of the reasons noted above.

court room

In summary

The issues vegans face in their daily attempt to live with according to the ethical conviction that it is wrong to exploit nonhuman animals range from inadvertent unfair treatment to direct discrimination and institutional exclusion. For example:

  • In Hungary, there is a decree that school children eat 'meat' and other 'animal products'.
  • In some countries, Germany and Austria are good examples, legal provisions that protect religious and non-religious beliefs exclude veganism.
  • In the UK, vegans have been excluded from applying for employment, veganism has been cited in a serious case of bullying and a former Justice Secretary ridiculed vegans in parliament.
  • In the UK, the BBC permits unlawful comments and 'jokes' against vegans.
  • Despite veganism being recognised within the UK as coming within the scope of human rights protection, a Public Authority refused to accommodate the needs of a vegan claiming that veganism is not a qualifying protected belief but a mere opinion.
  • Despite the European Court of Human Rights making the provision of food on ethical grounds a human rights priority at the court, prisoners in European prisons still struggle for vegan food.
  • A vegan's employment contract was terminated due to non-compliance with a requirement to have an egg-based vaccination despite not needing it for his job.
  • An employee of a company brought cakes for their birthday at the place of their work and as a 'joke' they offered a ball of bird seeds to their vegan colleague.
  • An employee of a company threw a pen at a vegan colleague of theirs in order to draw their attention to the fact that they were ordering 'bacon' sandwiches.
  • A vegan employee was called 'a freak' by a colleague of his because of his vegan belief and lifestyle.
  • A catering company says to a vegan that they can provide for vegan diet. They even provide the menu in writing. When the vegan asks for the ingredients of a specific item in the menu, it turns out that the 'vegan' menu has ingredients derived from nonhuman animals.
  • A Swiss citizen was not allowed to join the army because he was vegan.
  • A vegan felt that she had to define her ethical lifestyle as Hindu in order to receive a medical test that was suitable for vegans instead of the standard one that used products that come from cows' blood.
  • Vegans have been being dismissed from their jobs because of their convictions.
  • A vegan was forced, by a court, to provide and cook meat for her child.
  • An Italian Minister singled out veganism as a dangerous diet and blamed parents to imposing their moral crusade on their children.
  • Vegans have been refused vegan food from Public Authorities while they were under their care.
  • There are cases in which vegan parents have had their children taken from them because their vegan diet was deemed dangerous for their children.
  • A vegan employee of a Public Authority was refused suitable appropriate safety footwear while the employer allocated a few thousand pounds in order to accommodate the religious needs of a colleague.
  • Legal cases show that veganism is often referred to by the medical profession as an 'extreme diet' and has been accused of being a contributing factor in the malnourishment and death of an infant.
  • In Canada, a teenager requested vegan food and the request was labelled by a doctor as a 'likely manifestation of mental instability'.
  • There are reports of young vegan pupils suffering humiliation in class by their teachers when giving presentations about veganism, and have been forced to perform acts against their beliefs, such as feeding captive animals that were kept on the school premises.
  • In Canada, a vegan explained at a tribunal that her postgraduate studies were unfairly affected because her professor rejected the validity of her thesis that promoted the equality of human and nonhuman moral standing.
  • A prison official stated that the provision of vegan items is a privilege that can be denied.