The Vegan Society welcomes news that the government will not proceed with human rights reforms

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» The Vegan Society welcomes news that the government will not proceed with human rights reforms

The Vegan Society welcome the UK government’s announcement that it will not be proceeding with human rights reforms that would have undermined or severely weakened legislation that currently protects the rights and beliefs of vegans. 

In 2022, The Vegan Society raised concerns about government proposals to replace the Human Rights Act 1998 with a British Bill of Rights. The proposals introduced new measures to and changed or removed provisions of the Human Rights Act 1998 that would have impacted on the rights of vegans in the care or control of state bodies. UK courts would have been able to draw on various examples from other countries where veganism is not fully protected, weakening the position of vegans in the UK.  

One proposal was the introduction of a new 'permission stage' under which those seeking to defend their right to freedom of belief would need to obtain permission to have their case heard. Under this proposal vegans claiming unlawful interference with their human rights would have to show that they had suffered “a significant disadvantage” before case could be heard in court. 

Following their concern over the potential impacts to vegan rights, The Vegan Society have expressed relief at the recent government announcement on 27 June that they will not to proceed with the reforms.  

Dr Jeanette Rowley, chair of The Vegan Society’s International Rights Network, commented on the scrapped proposals, saying:  

“The potential impacts of the proposed reforms on vegans cannot be understated. I am delighted that the Bill has been scrapped and we will continue to refer vegans to existing protections that support their right to practice veganism free from unlawful interference and discrimination in all public sector contexts.” 

In response to the government’s decision, Sean McHale, member of The Vegan Society’s Rights Network, said: 

"The proposed reforms never concerned furthering human rights but were only aimed at people and rights the government finds inconvenient, particularly prisoners and those who wish to advance the right to freedom of belief. 

The reforms would have affected vegans in many different aspects and environments - they would have restrained the right to follow their beliefs in education, prisons and any setting in which there is allocation of provision by the state. This would have led to widespread discrimination against vegans. 

Article 9 of the Human Rights Act 1998 has led to recognition of the right to freedom of conscience and belief for vegans. It is crucial that the right to assert that recognition is maintained by the continued existence of the human rights act." 

For more information vegan rights, visit The Vegan Society International Rights Network

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