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    Panel to Judge Whether Veganism to Be Philosophical or Religious Belief - Prof

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    The case is brought by Jordi Casamitjana who claims he was sacked by the League Against Cruel Sports after raising concerns that its pension fund was being invested into companies involved in animal testing.

    He claims he was unfairly disciplined for making this disclosure and that the decision to dismiss him was because of his philosophical belief in ethical veganism. 

    Sputnik spoke Dr Jeannette Rowley, from International Vegan Rights Alliance about this landmark case.

    Sputnik: Tell me about this tribunal case?

    Dr Rowley:  I can't go into details of the case itself, but one of the first things the tribunal will do is to determine whether veganism is a philosophical belief that comes within the legal meaning of the Equality Act.

    Sputnik: Is there the case though that if this is ruled for veganism it could open the door for other cases for those who eat meat?

    Dr Rowley: This is an interesting question; there is a legal test for the protection of the Equality Act. The legal test is that the belief in question must be genuinely held. It is a belief not an opinion. The belief must be weighted and substantial aspect of human behaviour. The belief must be cogent and serious, cohesive and important. It must be worthy of respect within a democracy and not incompatible with human behaviour and dignity and it must not on the fundamental rights of other people.

    READ MORE: Veganism is the Thing

    If we ask the same question of meat eaters, butchers or slaughterhouse owners. We have to ask this question, is the belief cogent, is it serious, is it cohesive, is it important and is the belief in meat-eating worthy of respect in democratic society. Is it compatible with human dignity, these questions are important when you're talking about whether a meat eater could take a case under the Equality Act for protected belief. 

    Sputnik: Depending on the ruling what will it mean for veganism as whole going forward?

    Dr Rowley: Well Veganism is already important in law, early in the 1990's we heard a case at the European Court of Human rights on veganism, and this was a case by a British prisoner against the UK government. The government didn't contest it and veganism could be in the scope of the legal meaning. Since then we've heard in a case Lord Walker commented that vegetarianism is a non-controversial example of what constitutes a belief in a legal meaning.

    READ MORE: Meat Row: Twitter Ponders French Butchers' Plea for Protection Against Vegans

    We've also had a case who lost his job and in that case we heard in court his belief, his vegan belief derive from the sanctity of life in animal welfare, his belief effect every area of his life. What we deem to be the case already is that Veganism would come within the Equality Act but the outcome of the case, which we expect it to be positive outcome, it will mean veganism is recognised more formally. 

    The views expressed in this article are solely those of Dr Jeannette Rowley and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.

    Related:

    UK Tribunal to Decide if Veganism Should be Protected Like Religious Belief
    Veganism is the Thing
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    philosophy, religion, veganism, vegan, United Kingdom
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