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Jordi Casamitjana: Sacked vegan calls for lifestyle choice to be recognized like a religion

Casmitjana's legal team plans to compare Veganism to religious evangelism as one of its key arguments planned for the two-day employment tribunal pre-hearing on January 2.

TALIA SHADWELL: ‘Ethical vegan Jordi Casamitjana only dates other vegans, doesn’t sit on leather sofas and doesn’t allow guests carrying animal products into his home. The campaigner is launching a landmark case in an attempt to get ethical veganism added to a list of protected characteristics enshrined in equalities law, in a bid to officially protect vegans from ‘discrimination’…His legal team plans to compare veganism to religious evangelism as one of its key arguments planned for the two-day employment tribunal pre-hearing on January 2.

Mr Casmitjana plans to argue that the vegan movement’s tendency to try to convert more people to the lifestyle means it should be legally recognised as a ‘philosophy and belief system’. He will even produce receipts for vegan shoes and aftershave in court in his bid to argue that veganism is not just a diet- but a belief shared by a growing number of people in the UK.

The trained zoologist is originally from Catalonia, but has lived in the UK for 26 years, and has had a long career in animal protection. He identifies as an ‘ethical vegan’. Dietary vegans and ethical vegans both eat a plant-based diet, but ethical vegans also try to avoid any animal exploitation, such as by shunning clothing made of wool or leather and not using products tested on animals.

Mr Casamitjana’s legal battle began last year after he was sacked from his job with the League Against Cruel Sports after disclosing to other employees that its pension funds invested in firms involved in animal testing. He claims he was sacked as a result of his ethical vegan beliefs. But the organisation has rejected his claims, previously telling the BBC he was dismissed for gross misconduct… The allegations will be dealt with separately in another employment tribunal hearing later next year…

Mr Casamitjana told the Mirror: “Currently many vegans feel discriminated against, despite the growth of the movement. “If I am successful I hope it will make other vegans feel more confident expressing their beliefs and helping raise awareness for other people to consider this way of living and ensure all ethical vegans are better protected from discrimination. The impact of securing legal protection for ethical vegans in the UK is likely to generate ripples in other countries, potentially sparking new legal protection for vegans elsewhere. “This can only have a positive impact on animals, the environment and public health”…

The case comes as veganism’s popularity rises, with the number of consumers around the UK following a plant-based diet quadrupling between 2014 to 2019. Marketers have leapt on the growing trend, with the range of vegan products on offer in supermarkets and eateries booming nationwide in recent years. According to the Vegan Society, 600,000 people in the UK identified as vegans this year- amounting to 1.6 per cent of the population – and up from 150,000 people in 2014′. SOURCE…

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