A protester wearing a vegan shirt
Ethical vegans avoid any exploitation of animals. This includes products that test on animals, zoos and aquariums, and even some vaccines.

U.K., meet your newest religious belief: Veganism. 

A court in the U.K. just ruled that veganism constitutes a genuine philosophical belief, protected by law. 

The case was brought by animal rights activist and ethical vegan Jordi Casamitjana, who was let go from his job at the League Against Cruel Sports, an animal rights charity. Casamitjana claims he blew the whistle on the organization's pension funds, which he says were being invested in companies that experiment on animals, an obvious violation of his belief in ethical veganism. His former employer claims he was let go for gross incompetence.

So Casamitjana brought his beef to court, hoping to get a ruling that his two decades of ethical veganism is tantamount to a “philosophical or religious belief”, a protected class in Britain under the Equality Act of 2010.  Last week, the courts agreed that ethical veganism does indeed meet the high standards of philosophical or religious belief, and should be protected.

What is Ethical Veganism?

In the world of veganism, there are ethical vegans and dietary vegans. The difference, primarily, is motive. Dietary vegans eat a plant-based diet and don’t eat animal products, including meat and dairy. This is often and primarily done for health reasons. Ethical vegans take that a step further, also opposing any products that exploit animals in any way. That includes the obvious, from avoiding wearing fur, leather, wool, and silk, or avoiding make-up brands that test on animals. But most ethical vegans also avoid some things you might not even think about, like avoiding zoos and aquariums, or even avoiding certain vaccines, like the flu vaccine, which is sometimes grown in the egg of a hen.

Veganism has grown in both popularity and acceptance in recent years. What was once a very niche diet is now very mainstream. In most cities, there is at least one vegan restaurant. Even large chains, cognizant of the growth of vegan and vegetarian customers, offer plant-based alternatives. 

Currently, anywhere from 2% to 7% of the U.S. population identifies as vegan

Don’t Have a Cow, Man

So how did veganism grow from diet to philosophical belief? The bar to qualify as a religious or philosophical belief under the U.K.’s Equality Act is quite high. The belief must be "worthy of respect in a democratic society, compatible with human dignity and not conflict with the fundamental rights of others."

It was a gamble, but Mr. Casamitjana’s case paid off. After a two-day employment tribunal, Judge Robin Postle ruled that Casamitjana’s ethical veganism does indeed meet the high standards of philosophical or religious belief, and is therefore now protected against employment discrimination.

With Casamitjana’s success in the courts, the U.K. will be one of the first countries in the world to have legal protections for vegans.

What do you think? Should veganism seriously be compared to belief in God? Does this ruling make a mockery out of the beliefs of others? 

Is veganism comparable to religion?

27 comments

  1. Robert Walters's Avatar Robert Walters

    If the UK court found that his ethical vegan beliefs met the standards for recognition, so be it. What happened about his job?

  1. Gary James Thomas Garrett's Avatar Gary James Thomas Garrett

    Veganism being declared a religion is not as ridiculous as discriminating against vegans. It's the oppressors that find ways to categorize people so they can belittle them thus proving (in their own little sick minds) that they are superior. Yes this is silly but it is the empowered ones that seem to always find some way to denigrate others because of (fill in the blank) in order to "prove" their superiority. They prey on people that are "different" and whatever laws are necessary to protect "the different" are only necessary to protect people from these oppressors.

  1. Ernest Clarence Mason Jr's Avatar Ernest Clarence Mason Jr

    In typical fashion everyone believes that any belief that isn't their own belief is fringe or silly. Given the wide variety of beliefs represented in the Universal Life Church, we should be embarrassed to be less than fully accepting of this ruling.

  1. Annie Macleod's Avatar Annie Macleod

    I have no problem with some vegans considering themselves 'ethical vegans' and having it recognized as a religion.That is, as long as they don't try to impose their religion on anyone else, just as Christianity, Hinduism,Judaism, Islam etc should not try to impose their beliefs on others. For example, flu vaccine may well be grown inside eggs but as a senior citizen, I prefer to have a flu vaccination once a year and be protected from illness and possible death than worry about the egg becoming a chicken or whatever other reason they have for not accepting this. Live and let live is my motto. I have been a vegetarian for most of my life but I still value the life of a human being above that of an animal. I believe we are their caretakers and should treat them with kindness and compassion but not to the physical detriment of a human being. Some of my family are vegans but they wouldn't try to impose their beliefs on me any more than I would try to impose mine on them.

    1. Linda Salavarria's Avatar Linda Salavarria

      I am a vegetarian for over 20 years and have never imposed my beliefs on any one, even my own child. I have never met a vegan or vegetarian who acts like that either. BUT I constantly meet people who question MY ethics and my diet, even to the point of trickery. What are you talking about?

  1. Tom's Avatar Tom

    Respectfully...everyone should take the time to understand what is meant by "We are all children of the same universe"...Peace...Tom B

    1. Yvonne's Avatar Yvonne

      Hear hear. Well said x

  1. Linda Salavarria's Avatar Linda Salavarria

    READ THE ARTICLE! The decision falls under the protected class as a "philosophy" or religion. Ethical Veganism is truly a life philosophy. I am vegetarian for ethical reasons - I do eat cheese and eggs and wear leather - and it is a VERY conscious ethical decision. Vegans are actually more consistent in their ethics than most "religious" folks I've met. They live their philosophy and ethics with everything they do. These are truly people who value ALL life on earth.

    I personally think this is a great and deserving decision by the UK.

  1. Tom's Avatar Tom

    Respectfully, i see problems with this being a "protected class"...then public restaurants can be accused of dsicrimination, if they do not offer vegan food...i am a vegetarian for 46 years, and i still think this is a bad decision...Peace...Tom B

    1. Ren's Avatar Ren

      Not really .. for instance, a Jewish, Muslim, or Hindu person may not sue BBQ places that serve only pork entrees.

  1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

    All hail to the god Vegan, or even the Flying Spaghetti Monster. They can’t be any less effective than all the other man made gods.

  1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

    Lolol what a bunch of hogwash!Being vegan is now like a religion in england? Are they mad? There is no such thing as a Vegan or Vegetarian and never will be. Its a medical fact that the area around your face sheds dead skin cells when you sleep. Now these cells get on your pillow and blankets and when you move they get stirred up. And you still have to breathe as such you ARE breathing in dead skin cells, which are considered meat; and your body is digesting them. So unless you sleep with a vacuum over your face to suck up the skin cells, then you DO eat meat no matter if you want to acknowledge it or not.

    1. Kelsie Lynn Davis's Avatar Kelsie Lynn Davis

      Wow, this is possibly the dumbest thing I have heard in a while. By this logic, we would all technically be cannibals.

      1. Tom's Avatar Tom

        Kelsie...well said...to make an argument in this fashion is "missing the forest for the trees"...Peace...Tom B

      2. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

        maybe you should ask your doctor. And then when they confirm what I have told you then you can come back and apologize. And that goes for you as well Tom B

      3. Yvonne's Avatar Yvonne

        Well said. And the person should have saiid Uk not England.

    2. Ernest Clarence Mason Jr's Avatar Ernest Clarence Mason Jr

      That's a complete misunderstanding of ethical veganism. This is the definition of veganism:

      Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.

      That's not half as complicated as everyone wants to make it, and you will note the words "as far as it is possible and practicable". Objections that include matters which are not possible or practicable to avoid simply ignore the definition.

      As to the dead skin cells, I as a rational being, capable of giving consent to the use of my dead skin cells, do give my consent. Thus is it not exploitation and everyone may breath my dead skin cells to their heart's content.

      1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

        Still does not stop what comes naturally when your body flakes off dead skin cells and you breath them in and ingest them. And sorry but you dont give any consent as you couldnt stop this natural happening even if you tried. So your post makes sense only to you

        1. Ernest Clarence Mason Jr's Avatar Ernest Clarence Mason Jr

          That was tongue in cheek, I'm sorry you didn't see that.

          The fact remains that you still don't understand Ethical Veganism. It isn't about not eating meat, it's about not exploiting animals. Remember the phrase in the definition of veganism: "as far as is possible and practicable"?

          Eating insects is also not vegan, yet there are a certain number of insect parts allowed by law in all food, even food considered vegan. Vegans know this but it is not possible nor practicable to avoid the insect parts. Thus it is a non-issue, much like the dead skin cells. Vegans merely do not DELIBERATELY use any animal products.

  1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

    Talk about "One flew over the cuckoo's nest." This one really takes the cake, and runs with it.

    1. Yvonne's Avatar Yvonne

      It’s all Hogg wash!! Lol 😂

  1. joe's Avatar joe

    So now any fringe belief is a religion?

    1. Paige Frances Holland's Avatar Paige Frances Holland

      Pretty much.

  1. Paige Frances Holland's Avatar Paige Frances Holland

    Anything can be a religion nowadays.

  1. Rod Gesner's Avatar Rod Gesner

    While He won the Protection for Vegans fight;it says nothing about his employer counter argument that he was let go for "gross incompetence" i can think of 3 obvious issues at play here: 1 if he was spending more time investigating, protesting ; his employers Pension funds investments; Ie.. Disrupting! rather than working on the cause of Raising funds and awareness to stop Cruel animal Sports (the purpose of his Job) Time to move on. 2 Many ethical Vegans Do Not have a ballanced diet and therefore may not be as capable of doing their job..3 if he is like most Ethical Vegans I have met? They can't keep their Mouths Shut and are as obnoxious as Xtian Fundy Evangelicals.. I wouldn't want to work with either type... so again he won the recognition but did he get his Job back or compensation? and how could he "Ethically" continue to take money especially the Tainted Pension money; from Such an "Unethical Employer"?? By the Way I Support the Legislation against Cruel animals Sports as Well as Cruel/Violent human Sportsitis a Sickness of our society that we still have Football, Hockey Rugby; as a replacement for Roman colloseum Sports and Boxing MMA WWF real or Simulated Death sports of ANY SORT ..!

  1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

    I wouldn't even attempt to touçh this subject with a ten foot cucumber!

  1. Yvonne's Avatar Yvonne

    ENGLAND IS NOT UK ITS ENGLAND!

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:
Don't have an account yet? Create Account