The rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened. (John F. Kennedy)
The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, first drafted in 1948, is the most commonly adopted and adapted version. Individual countries legislate around individual and group rights.
These include age, disability, gender, race, religion and belief, sexual orientation and gender reassignment.
For ethical vegans, veganism is as much a life directing moral and philosophical belief, just as any religious doctrine is for those of religious faith.
Examples of why vegans need legal protection:
International law requires nations to implement equal rights for all and prohibit discrimination.
European case law has recognised veganism as a belief for the purposes of rights legislation.
As such, we believe that society has a moral duty to accommodate vegan belief and generate wider respect for veganism.
Some nations will be signatory to both the ECHR and the International Bill of Rights (This is the collective name given to the UDHR and the two Covenants that give effect to the provisions of the initial Declaration).
One of the important Articles of the ECHR in relation to veganism is Article 9.
This Article repeats the paramount universal principle of being able to live according to one’s own beliefs. Article 9 states:
ARTICLE 9 Freedom of thought, conscience and religion
1. Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance.
2. Freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs shall be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of public safety, for the protection of public order, health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.
(Many thanks to the International Vegan Rights Alliance for permission to use the above information on International and European Law)
For all human rights begins in the heart of every human.
Each and every one of us, through our own virtuous actions of non-violence, non-exploitation, non-abuse, compassion, gentleness, kindness, tolerance, and love, is capable of affording all fellow humans the liberation, freedom and peacefulness they deserve as co-habitants of planet earth.