Vegans to get protection against discrimination

Vegans are to be given the same protection against discrimination as religious groups, according to reports.

The Sunday Times claimed equalities minister Harriet Harman would be championing a move to protect vegans, along with teetotallers and members of cults and "new religions".

The paper said a code of practice explaining the legal implications of the equality bill said that religions need not be mainstream or well known for their adherents to gain protection. A belief need not include faith or worship of a god or gods, but must affect how a person lives their life or perceives the world.

The code, drawn up by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, singles out vegans as meriting protection from religious discrimination. It says: A person who is a vegan chooses not to use or consume animal products of any kind. That person eschews the exploitation of animals for food, clothing, accessories or any other purpose and does so out of an ethical commitment to animal welfare.

A spokesman from the commission told the paper: This is about someone for whom being vegan or vegetarian is central to who they are. This is not something thought up by the commission. Parliament makes the law, the courts interpret it and the commission offers factual and proportionate guidance to organisations where necessary. We are providing guidance on the implications of the equality bill.

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