In the recent post on the Vegan Manifesto I mentioned I hadn’t heard that vegans rights were going to be considered a matter of equality so I had a little look. It seems that Harriet Harman is a fan of equality, which is nice.
Of course I’ve heard of her but I didn’t realise quite how ‘important’ she is. From her site
In 2007 Harriet was elected as Deputy Leader of the Labour Party. She has since been appointed by the Prime Minister to serve as Chair of the Labour Party, Leader of the House of Commons, Secretary of State for Equalities, Minister for Women and Lord Privy Seal.
So perhaps it’s not so surprising she is into equality. The proposed Equality Bill singles out vegans as meriting protection from religious discrimination.
The draft code 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.
But the code adds that beliefs must “attain a certain level of cogency, seriousness, cohesion and importance”, clearly veganism complies to this caveat which would rule out protection from discrimination for the likes of Jedi-ism (Star Wars based religion).
It seems that the press is hinting that the ‘super-quango’ (the Equalities and Human Rights Commission) involved in preparing the Equality Bill are a bit ‘loony left’. But a spokesman from the commission explained:
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.