Go Vegan World has made front page news on The Scotsman newspaper (11th May 2019) following its human rights challenge to local authorities to provide vegan options for vegan school children.

Scotland has not yet followed Portugal’s lead in introducing legislation requiring public entities to provide vegan options every day, but while the petition for this law to be introduced is pending vegans are using their human rights to require state entities to provide for them.

Most of Scotland’s schools currently do not offer any clearly labelled vegan options for pupils on their standard menus. When a parent requested a full vegan menu in East Renfrewshire and the Council failed to put this in place this was challenged on the basis of human rights and equality law. Following correspondence, the Council produced a full vegan menu and confirmed that it is now available on request throughout East Renfrewshire.

This follows a similar case in Glasgow City Council. When a couple challenged the failure of Glasgow City Council (“GCC”) to provide a full vegan menu for their daughter in nursery, the Council produced a full three-week vegan menu and in January confirmed that this is now available on request throughout the Glasgow area, in schools and nurseries.

Go Vegan World In-house Legal Counsel, Barbara Bolton, explained:

“Vegans have the same protections as those who hold religious beliefs. They have the right to live according to their moral conviction that it is wrong to use and kill other animals and they must not be discriminated against.

We are working to raise awareness among vegans so that they have the information they need to challenge rights breaches, whether that be a failure to provide suitable food in school, hospital or prison, difficulties at work, or challenging indoctrination in school through teaching in a way that conflicts with the vegan philosophy. We are assisting vegans with rights-based challenges whenever we can and they can contact me at Barbara.bolton@goveganworld.com for assistance.”

Go Vegan World are currently assisting another vegan parent with a child in a school in the Scottish Borders who is challenging the Council’s refusal to provide vegan options. In that case the Council has said it cannot provide vegan meals, claiming that it is not possible to provide vegan meals that comply with the nutritional requirements for school meals. Barbara Bolton commented:

“That is quite clearly inaccurate. They do not appear to be aware that the British Dietetics Association has long confirmed that we can get all the nutrients we need on a fully plant-based diet at every stage of life. If Glasgow and East Renfrewshire can create a vegan menu that complies with the current nutritional requirements for schools, the Borders can too.”

With governments finally recognising that we are living in a climate crisis, of our own making, and with increasing recognition of the devastating role of “animal agriculture” in terms of climate change, environmental destruction and species extinction, it is time we had guaranteed plant-based options in all of our state entities, every day. In fact, we ought to be shifting to plant-based as the norm.

Vegan menus are now available on request in schools and nurseries in the Glasgow City Council area and East Renfrewshire. Go Vegan World also has a challenge underway in the Scottish Borders. If you have a child in another local authority area who is not being provided with vegan options please email us for assistance. Councils advise that parents make requests in their schools. Contact the school administration to find out how to make a request. If the school doesn’t know that a vegan menu is now available they should contact the local authority education team. If they push back on your request you can contact the local authority and ask them to speak to your school. If this doesn’t work please contact us. Ireland is subject to the same rights and so vegans must be provided for there too.

Contact details: barbara.bolton@goveganworld.com

For more information on the legal rights of vegans see our Vegan Rights pages.