Vegans are calling for more protection under Human Rights law, arguing that they should not be asked to do things which conflict with their beliefs.
As reported by the Toronto Star, campaigners in Canada are now confident that ethical veganism will be recognised in this way, after the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) released guidance in December with an updated definition of ‘creed’.
The OHRC states that a person cannot be discriminated on the basis of ‘creed’, which generally refers to religion, but now also covers non-religious belief systems which ‘substantially influence a person’s identity, worldview and way of life.’
Advocates for ethical veganism argue that their own beliefs would be covered under this updated law, and have heralded the change as a big step forward for both human and animal rights.
Speaking to the Star, Nick Wright, founder of Animal Justice, said:
In modern times, more and more people have ethical systems and practices that aren’t rooted in a traditional organized religion. This change is important for ethical vegans, because in instances where accommodation is required they’ll have a legal right to enforce it.
According to Yahoo, the ruling follows several cases where vegans have been asked to go against their beliefs – such as a veterinary student being told to put down a healthy dog in order to learn how to correctly euthanise animals.
Other instances might include a vegan being told to prepare meals containing meat or having to wear a leather uniform at work.
Camille Labchuck, executive director of Animal Justice, added to Yahoo that the recent guidance in Ontario means that veganism is now ‘one step closer to becoming a human right’.