Vegan Manifesto – Equality

House of Commons

With the General Election due very soon, the Vegan Society have produced a manifesto of policies that they’d like ALL political parties to adopt. And very sensible they are too! The cynic/realist in me finds it unlikely they’ll be adopted in their entirety, but that’s no reason to not promote them. The full manifesto can be read at the link above but here’s two I’d like to discuss a little.

  • Work towards better vegan catering in hospitals, schools, care homes, prisons and other publically run places under the terms of the Equality Act. This includes ensuring that local government is procuring vegan food for these establishments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, help food security and ensure healthy diets.
  • Ensure animal-free medication and food supplements including infant formula are available as required by the Equality Act.

I was unaware that the vegan lifestyle was included in the Equality Act. That it isn’t omitted is a great testament to the work of the Vegan Society and others  in publicising veganism. Logically, it follows that publicly run places should cater for Vegans, there is nothing radical in the implementation of these two policies,  it is merely a common sense extrapolation of the Equality Act.

From a personal perspective these policies would make life a lot easier. Not that I am stuck in hospital or prison regularly (or at all, I might add), but if these institutions were to take a lead others would follow. I go to the Villa regularly, I’ve had a season ticket for many years and I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve suggested vegan catering at the ground. I’ve filled out market research questionnaires and there really hasn’t been much improvement.

It doesn’t have to be anything exceptional, the food on offer is pretty awful. But it would be nice to be able to get at the very least a cup of black coffee at a winter match. Some vegan fast food would be good, while something healthy and vegan would be fantastic!

I’ve been vegan since 1995 and things have improved a great deal.  Initially, people would look at me like I was mad, because I wanted to know the ingredients of what I was going to eat. I’ve always considered it a perfectly reasonable question. Food labeling and the availability of ingredients in meals has improved greatly, more due to increased awareness of allergies than the issue of equality.

Hopefully, once the ball is moving these policies could be adopted in cinema’s, restaurants and the like.

Furthermore, how nice would it be to know that first aid provision was completely vegan friendly?  Or that the supplement I am interested in is vegan, or there is at least a vegan alternative. In the past I’ve had to wade through books in Holland & Barretts searching for vegan versions of glucosamine or ginseng supplements. To simply be able to pick something up and tell instantly it is vegan would be fantastic. Not only for the sake of convenience but under the Equality Act this convenience should actually be implemented as a point of law!

So come on politicians do your job!

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