United Kingdom

Police record 172 vegan hate crimes in past five years

Vegan crimes are rising in Britain as more people choose to follow a plant-based diet, prompting calls for the attacks to be given a special status.

Some people are battling for discrimination against people based on their dietary choice to become a hate crime.  

172 crimes relating to veganism happened over the past five years, with just nine in 2015 rising to 55 last year, according to The Times.  

Some people are battling for discrimination against people based on their dietary choice to become a hate crime

What is the difference between ethical veganism and dietary veganism?  

Dietary vegans and ethical vegans both eat a plant-based diet, avoiding meat and other foods derived from animals such as dairy products. 

However ethical vegans also try to exclude all forms of animal exploitation outside what they eat. 

This includes not wearing clothing made of wool or leather and not using products tested on animals. 

Last year, 1.16 per cent of the population, 600,000 people, were vegan according to surveys by Ipsos Mori. It quadrupled from 150,000 in 2014.  

It comes after vegan Jordi Casamitjana won a landmark case after his lawyers argued that ethical veganism satisfies the tests required for it to be a philosophical or religious belief.  

At a tribunal in Norwich at the beginning of this year, judge Robin Postle ruled ethical veganism satisfies the tests required and therefore is protected under the Equality Act 2010. 

Mr Casamitjana, 55, claimed he was dismissed from his job at the League Against Cruel Sports after raising concerns that its pension fund was being invested into companies involved in animal testing. 

He claimed he was unfairly disciplined for making this disclosure and that the decision to dismiss him was because of his philosophical belief in ethical veganism.

This case could be used as a 'precedent' for vegans to argue their beliefs should be protected.  

Jordi Casamitjana won landmark case after lawyers argued ethical veganism satisfies tests required for it be a philosophical or religious belief 

Founder of the No2H8 awards Fiyaz Mughal called for a legal review into hate crime.  

The Crown Prosecution Service defines a hate crime as being motivated by hostility or demonstrating hostility towards a person's 'protected characteristics'.

'Protected characteristics' are aspects of a person's identity such as disability, race, religion, sexual orientation or transgender identity. 

It adds that a hate crime can take the form of verbal abuse, intimidation, threats, harassment, assault, bullying and damage to property.  

Last year, 1.16 per cent of the population, 600,000 people, were vegan according to surveys by Ipsos Mori. It quadrupled from 150,000 in 2014 (file photo)

How is veganism protected under the Equality Act?  

The Equality Act 2010 spells out nine 'protected characteristics' which it is illegal to discriminate against. 

As well as religious belief, they are: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy or maternity, race, sex and sexual orientation. 

If a belief meets the criteria it is illegal to discriminate against someone because they hold that belief. 

The law applies to a wide range of fields including employment, education and housing.  

The legislation says that a philosophical belief must be:  

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