In a landmark case, a United Kingdom judge ruled on January 3 that ethical veganism constitutes a philosophical belief and is now protected under anti-discrimination laws.
As part of an employment tribunal, taking place in Norwich, the ruling came in a fierce case between Jordi Casamitjana, 55, and his former employers, the League Against Cruel Sports, a group that campaigns against blood sports, such as recreational hunting, according to Jakarta Post.
Now, veganism will be afforded the same protections as a “religion or belief,” and one of the nine “protected characteristics” under the 2010 Equality Act, reported the New York Post.
Casamitjana said that the decision to protect ethical veganism on philosophical grounds will “will influence the life of many vegans.”
Outside the courtroom, Casamitjana told the BBC, “I’m really, really satisfied and I hope all the vegans out there that have been supporting me — there have been many helping me in my crowdfunding — I hope they now feel their little donation has been properly used and all the vegans will benefit.”
“Veganism is a philosophical belief and when you look at my life and anybody else’s life who is an ethical vegan, you will see it,” said Casamitjana. “This is a positive belief, it’s not a negative belief. And therefore a positive belief is bound to be protected.”
The judge, Robin Postle, determined that ethical veganism met the adequate qualifications to be protected under the 2010 Equality Act, although Casamitjana’s case for wrongful dismissal still continues.
Casamitjana claims he was fired from an animal welfare charity for raising the alarm about his former company’s pension fund investment in organizations which practiced animal testing.
Postle labeled veganism “important” and “worthy” of regard in a democratic society, going onto say: “I am satisfied overwhelmingly that ethical veganism does constitute a philosophical belief.”
On the case, a League Against Cruel Sports spokesperson said: “Although an interesting point of law, this hearing was preparation for the real crux of the matter: why Jordi Casamitjana was dismissed.”
“In view of its animal welfare value, the League did not contest the issue of whether ethical veganism itself should be a protected belief, with the League maintaining that it’s irrelevant to the core reason for the dismissal.”