Veganism is living according to the belief or conviction that it is wrong to exploit and kill living beings unnecessarily. That moral conviction has been acknowledged as “cogent, serious and important” and is therefore a protected belief under international, European and UK law. It is unlawful to discriminate against people holding that conviction, directly or indirectly, or to harrass or victimise them.
Why is this important? Because veganism = animal rights.
Exploiting, hurting and killing animals will only stop when people stop demanding it, by buying animal products (their flesh, their skin, their milk, their eggs, their honey), products that have been tested on animals, and by using animals in other ways, for entertainment, sport, recreation or as playthings.
Veganism is the rejection of the exploitation of animals; it is the refusal to support the use of living beings as if they were things; it is the recognition of animal rights.
Protecting vegans ensures that they are able to live according to that moral principle; it ensures that they are able to avoid participating in the exploitation of animals. This is essential to veganism itself, to the growth of veganism and ultimately to putting an end to animal exploitation.
In addition, vegans have recognised the moral requirement that we not use living-beings as things and are living according to that moral requirement. To put someone who has made that conscious moral decision in a position whereby it is impossible for them to avoid participating in animal exploitation is unconscionable. This can arise when vegans are in situations in which they are dependent on others, for example in hospitals, care homes, schools and prisons. Advocating for vegan rights, assisting vegans in these situations, helps to ensure that vegans are not forced to participate in the subjugation, exploitation and killing of animals.
As vegans we should all be aware of our rights and, where possible and appropriate, advocate for those rights as the means by which the rights of non-human animals are recognised. We have a document on our web site with more detail on the applicable law. https://www.goveganscotland.com/living-vegan
If you have been discriminated against, harassed or victimised due to your vegan convictions, contact the International Vegan Rights Alliance for advice and assistance. http://www.theivra.com/contact.html