Ethical veganism is philosophical belief, tribunal rules

Jordi Casamitjana campaigning

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Jordi Casamitjana campaigns to encourage others to become vegans

Ethical veganism is a “philosophical belief” and so is protected in law, a tribunal has ruled for the first time.

The case was brought by vegan Jordi Casamitjana, who claims he was sacked by the League Against Cruel Sports because of his ethical veganism.

But his employer says he was dismissed for gross misconduct.

The judge ruled ethical veganism should fall under the Equality Act 2010 but is yet to rule on Mr Casamitjana’s dismissal.

Mr Casamitjana says he was sacked by the League Against Cruel Sports after disclosing it invested pension funds in firms involved in animal testing.

He claims when he drew his bosses’ attention to the pension fund investments, they did nothing so he informed colleagues and was sacked as a result.

Animal welfare charity the League Against Cruel Sports did not contest that ethical veganism should be protected.

The tribunal’s ruling means ethical vegans are entitled to protection from discrimination.

All vegans eat a plant-based diet, but ethical vegans try to exclude all forms of animal exploitation.

For instance they avoid wearing or buying clothing made from wool or leather, or toiletries from companies that carry out animal testing.

“Religion or belief” is one of nine “protected characteristics” covered by the Equality Act 2010.

The judge Robin Postle ruled that ethical veganism qualifies as a philosophical belief, after satisfying several tests – including that it is worthy of respect in a democratic society, not incompatible with human dignity and not conflicting with the fundamental rights of others.

At the tribunal in Norwich on Friday, the judge said in his ruling that ethical veganism was “important” and “worthy” of respect in a democratic society.

He said: “I am satisfied overwhelmingly that ethical veganism does constitute a philosophical belief.”

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Mr Casamitjana claims he was discriminated against on the basis of his ethical veganism belief

Ruling ‘will inspire vegans’

Speaking outside the tribunal, Mr Casamitjana said: “I am extremely happy. I didn’t expect a judgment today.

“This is a very important ruling for vegans everywhere in the world.

“That will inspire other vegans in other countries that don’t have that protection to develop cases that will lead to that protection.”

Mr Casamitjana describes himself as an ethical vegan and campaigns to get his message to others.

His beliefs affect much of his everyday life. He will, for instance, walk rather than take a bus to avoid accidental crashes with insects or birds.

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