Ethical veganism has become a philosophical belief, allowing it to fall under the Equality Act and potentially offering vegans better protection against discrimination in future. Veganism has always been embroiled with a damaging rhetoric that endorses stereotypes; ethical veganism avoids all products that involve animals, whereas dietary vegans focus solely upon avoiding animal food products.
Due to this specific organisation, ethical veganism has been seen as a structural belief system. These recent events have sparked the debate of whether veganism, especially ethical veganism: has it gone too far?
The court’s decision was pushed forward by Jordi Casamitjana’s case, where he was dismissed from his job with the League Against Cruel Sports after he raised awareness that the charity’s pension fund was being invested into corporations involved with animal testing. The second part of this employment tribunal will determine the nature of the treatment Casamitjana received from the League Against Cruel Sports, who say that he was dismissed for gross misconduct unrelated to his beliefs.
This Morning’s interview surrounding ethical veganism encapsulated many people’s outlook of veganism and the lifestyle it supports. The interviewees – Joey Armstrong, a vegan activist, and Rachel Carrie, a game hunter and meat eater – were involved in a tense debate surrounding the campaigns that veganism endorses, and the effect it is having upon the meat and farming industries as it lost £184 million.
Of course, people become vegan for varying reasons: climate change, love for animals, dietary requirements, health and so on. Although, it does often revolve around the care of animals.
The heated debate touched on the sincerity of Veganuary or ‘Vegan Mondays’ and the necessity of these campaigns. It also touched upon the health benefits of veganism: ‘vegan diet can be healthy for all stages of life,’ stated Joey Armstrong. He spoke over Rachel Carrie, as she mentioned her vegetarian diet made her anaemic, saying that it was ‘an anecdote, not science’.
Armstrong’s stance throughout the interview remained to be very staunch and unforgiving towards those who do not adhere to a vegan diet, often enhancing the stereotypes of vegans been forceful in their views. He appeared as the stereotypical vegan, although it is clearly due to his passion for the conversation.
These campaigns allow people to try the vegan diet comfortably, without full conversion and without the guilt of lapsing or any amount of pressure. It allows people to understand that subtle actions can result in change and have an impact.
The fall in meat sales was also addressed, as Carrie enforced the idea of maintaining a balance, especially through the ecology and biodiversity of an area. Veganism, rather than being solely focused upon the dietary requirements, has become a social issue as it now encapsulates actions of everyday life. However the interview ends in a positive note, as Armstrong offered options to viewers’ diets, without fully converting to veganism. Rather than buying dairy milk you could buy oat, almond, rice or soy and buy plant foods. This deviates from the norm of believing that the vegan lifestyle is all or nothing; it allows one to make small changes in their life.
The debate encapsulates how many began to believe that veganism may have gone too far. Many stereotypes have become tied to the vegan lifestyle and it has now been regarded as a movement. Vegans are often seen to be militant and to force their views upon others.
Although it is a lifestyle that has never had sinister intentions, or damaging actions, and therefore should not be seen as a form of vindictiveness or a forceful movement. The protection of the Equality Act allows ethical vegans to follow the lifestyle, whilst breaking away from the restrictive stereotypes established to form a toxic image of them.
Being vegan has begun to develop a new image of a healthy, caring lifestyle where one feels compassion to every animal and the world around them; which is important now than ever, especially with the pressure of the current climate crisis.
Correction 29 January 2020:
A previous version of this article implied that the League Against Cruel Sports discriminated against Mr Casamitjana for his beliefs, something which the charity strongly refutes, and inaccurately suggested that the tribunal was over when it is in fact ongoing, when it stated the following:
“The court’s decision was pushed forward by Jordi Casamitjana’s case, where he was dismissed from his job with the League Against Cruel Sports. He was fired after he raised awareness that the charity’s pension fund was being invested into corporations involved with animal testing.
Casamitjana believes he was fired for exposing the actions of the charity and interweaving it with his beliefs, even though this was refuted by the charity. Now, under the Equality Act, vegans can no longer be fired or discriminated against for their beliefs.”
The statement initially included the introduction, “If a person identifies as vegan, they can no longer face discrimination”, is also inaccurate, as the protection was afforded to Casamitjana in a hearing related to him alone and does not extend to all vegans.
The Student regrets this error and has since amended the article.
Image: via flickr.com