In the United Kingdom, a court case has been opened in recent days which will sanction the actual philosophical and/or religious value of veganism. What is religion, what is philosophical belief? The American anthropologist Marvin Harris already showed in 1985, with his book Good to Eat: Riddles of Food and Culture, that the question is more complex than you think, particularly in the food and wine sector. Many of the dishes chosen for the diet derive from religion, which in turn has practical applications. The most famous example is the ban on eating cows for the Hindus, according to Harris due to a political choice: cows are too precious, too expensive for the weaker classes, hence the absolute ban that would have brought the nobles of the castes closer to the Untouchable.
The lawsuit pending in Norwich could be very important because if the court were to vote in favor of veganism as a religion or philosophical belief, this would be protected by law. To bring the case before the judges is Jordi Casamitjana, fired from the League Against Cruel Sports, a charity that defends animals against bloody sports. Jordi was kicked out after criticizing the association which, according to the former employee, would invest pension funds in companies involved in animal testing. According to Casamitjana, the dismissal would be dictated by his ethical veganism and not by misconduct as written by the LACS.
Ethical vegans follow a vegetable-based diet and exclude any form of exploitation of animals, such as wearing wool or skin, or using products tested on animals. According to the lawyers of Casamitjana, ethical veganism has all the requirements to be considered philosophical or religious belief and this places it under the protection of the Equality Act, an anti-discrimination law that has been in place since 2010 in the United Kingdom. In fact, according to lawyers, the dismissal should be canceled because Jordi Casamitjana is a conscientious objector. As such, it generally takes the form of a constitutionally protected right where it refers to an unconditional legal duty deriving from objective circumstances.