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MILESTONE: Vegans are protected by human rights, Danish court rules

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The case was about the right of vegan children in public daycare institutions to be able to eat vegan food. A Danish kindergarten refused to prepare vegan food for a small child and at the same time denying the parents the possibility to send a packed lunch with their daughter. The court ruled that the family had been discriminated against by being kept from practicing their way of living, having to give up their moral position of not harming animals.

VEGETARISK FORENING: On February 8th 2024, a lower court in Denmark, the court in the city of Hjorring granted the vegan movement in Denmark a milestone win. A Danish court has now ruled that vegans are protected under Article 9 of the European Court of Human Rights. The ruling is the first of its kind in Denmark, and the Vegetarian Society of Denmark is proud to have taken this case to the courts and won. The case was about the right of vegan children in public daycare institutions to be able to eat vegan food. A Danish kindergarten (and the municipality running it) had refused to prepare vegan food for a small child and at the same time denying the parents the possibility to send a packed lunch with their daughter. This was the essence of the case: That the family had been discriminated against by being kept from practicing their way of living, having to give up their moral position of not harming animals if their daughter was to use the public kindergarten…

In the ruling, the court acknowledges that vegans have the right to not be “treated worse than people without vegan convictions who are in a similar or comparable situation”. The court agreed that the child: “due to the lack of opportunity to be served exclusively vegan food in the desired kindergarten and the simultaneous refusal to bring her own packed lunch, she was treated worse than children who do not live according to a vegan conviction, since she was cut off solely as a result of her vegan conviction from using the municipal daycare that her parents judged was best for her. She was thereby exposed to indirect discrimination. The discriminatory treatment cannot, as the matter has been explained to the court, be considered factually and reasonably justified, and it is therefore in breach of Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights in conjunction with Article 9″…

Secretary-General Rune-Christoffer Dragsdahl of the Vegetarian Society of Denmark says: “From the perspective of being able to live a daily life as a vegan or vegetarian, the access to vegan meals in public sector institutions – such as kindergartens, hospitals, nursing homes, etc. – has for years been a challenge… Our hope therefore is that this verdict will influence the availability of vegan options in other public institutions”… On April 25th 2024, another Danish court will hear another case, which the Vegetarian Society of Denmark has also brought forward, related to a woman, who during her pregnancy was denied a proper vegan meal at a hospital, and later told to bring a packed lunch for her childbirth. The ruling is expected 4 weeks later, before the end of May. SOURCE…

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