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Clown law: Why has a provincial English tribunal declared ‘ethical veganism’ a ‘protected characteristic’?

Damian Wilson
Damian Wilson
is a UK journalist, ex-Fleet Street editor, financial industry consultant and political communications special advisor in the UK and EU.
is a UK journalist, ex-Fleet Street editor, financial industry consultant and political communications special advisor in the UK and EU.
Clown law: Why has a provincial English tribunal declared ‘ethical veganism’ a ‘protected characteristic’?
The case of the vegan who sued the animal cruelty charity sounds like a joke set-up, but a low-level court's decision to grant the lifestyle the same protections as established religions makes a mockery of employment law.

For a landmark decision that could have decades-long ramifications, the whole affair has reeked of a low-budget farce.

We have a titan of the justice system, Judge Robert Postle, who sits on an employment tribunal in Norwich (Norwich!) deciding that, yes, "ethical veganism" is a philosophical belief and therefore protected by law as a "religion or belief" under the Equality Act 2010.

God help us and protect us from employment tribunal judges. What is it with these guys?

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Is it an inbuilt resentment at their lowly position down the legal food chain that has them convinced it is their place to make far-reaching decisions on social issues when actually, the decision at hand is simply whether an employer was right or wrong to sack an employee.

But no, in Norwich, lampooned mercilessly through the character of Alan Partridge, the slow first week of the New Year is considered an ideal time to grab some headlines on the back of that section of the population who firstly, don't eat meat, and secondly, won't wear clothing made of wool or leather or use toiletries produced by companies that use animal testing.

RT

This is pretty unglamorous stuff featuring a middle-aged guy in a beanie emblazoned with "Vegan' (I could suggest a few alternative nouns), who was sacked from his job at the League Against Cruel Sports (where else?) for "gross misconduct."

The chap, Jordi Casamitjana, insists he was dismissed because he is an ethical vegan who blew the whistle on how the organization invested its pension money. The league denies this and, bizarrely, even supports his contention that "ethical veganism" is a philosophical belief.

That's how right on these people are. It must be exhausting trying to keep up with the things you are supposed to be defending and remembering those you hate with a vengeance.

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In granting legal protection to ethical vegans, the judge has made a massive over-correction on behalf of a section of the population which includes probably the least-tolerant humans alive in Britain today.

These are not your friends who are dietary vegans and won't eat meat because they love animals. Fair enough.

No, these are your foaming-at-the-mouth, animals-are-not-ours-to-eat, meat-is-murder folk who refer to scrambled eggs as 'scrambled chicken periods.' Now, by law, we are unable to call them out on this student-union-level garbage for fear of offending them and being accused of discrimination.

It would be funny it the impact of their actions didn't already have more serious consequences – even prior to Friday's ruling.

We had the instance of an editor of Waitrose magazine forced to quit after mocking vegans for their hypocrisy and joking that they should be force-fed meat in a private email to a vegan journalist who had set him up.

The guy was editor of a supermarket magazine, not the head of the United Nations. But no, angry vegans went ballistic and insisted his head must roll, and roll it did.

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Team the type of appalling trolls who led the clamor for that guy's head with a crusading, backwater employment tribunal judge, and you have a (vegan) recipe for disaster.

How a legal authority deliberating in the boondocks on a simple, clean-cut matter can be allowed to go so far off-piste as they seek to create legally binding decisions on hugely controversial social issues needs some serious consideration.

Because it's only 'Veganuary' – yes, that's a thing now – and already 2020 barely makes any sense.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

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