Should Ethical Vegans Have a Beef with the Definition of Religion?
Veganism, where adherents eschew the consumption of animals or their by-products, has seen a substantial increase in popularity in recent years. Vegans who follow the diet for moral or ethical reasons (ethical vegans) have argued in the United States, with limited success and, more recently, in the United Kingdom that they should be protected from discrimination on the grounds of their adherence to ethical veganism, contending that ethical veganism should be subject to similar protections as religion. In the United Kingdom, anti-discrimination legislation protects philosophical beliefs in addition to religion and it was recently held in a preliminary hearing in Casamitjana v The League Against Cruel Sports that ethical veganism falls within the ambit of the relevant statute. The authors examine the situation in the United Kingdom and the United States and conclude that, given that Australian anti-discrimination statutes only refer to religion as a protected attribute, this outcome is unlikely to be replicated since veganism is highly unlikely to meet the current definition of religion.
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