We submitted our report to the Equality and Human Rights Commission Scotland, which is the statutory body with responsibility for promoting equality and human rights in Scotland. We have received a positive response, which is quoted here:
“Thank you for bringing the results of the Go Vegan Scotland survey to the Commission’s attention. We have read the report with interest and would be keen to have cases brought to us that deal with discrimination on grounds of a protected belief.
Our business plan for the coming year has already been finalised and as such, we are unable to carry out extensive research or general project work in this area. However, our core duties still include providing assistance in strategic legal cases. Therefore, we would be happy to consider a request for legal assistance for a discrimination case in this area.
I have attached a leaflet with some more information about our legal work and here is a link to our strategic litigation policy to give you an idea of how we decide which cases to support-
Additionally, we have an access to justice project running for the next few months which has a wider scope for providing assistance in discrimination cases in relation to education, services and housing. This project differs from the Commission’s usual work as we are normally only able to assist with discrimination cases which meet our strategic priorities and are in line with our policy noted above. Under this project however, we can assist first instance and non-strategic cases to improve access to justice for individuals. The project is aimed at assisting those who might not otherwise be able to access legal support. We may be able to help by:
offering funding to a solicitor running a case;
taking appropriate cases in-house to be progressed by our own legal team; or
offering funding to cover certain outlays, such as obtaining medical reports or Counsel’s Opinion.
We are particularly interested in funding cases where legal proceedings are contemplated or already underway.” (emphasis added)
Resources in this area are extremely limited in terms of legal knowledge as well as funding for these types of claims. We therefore wanted to bring this to the attention of vegans living in Scotland, as it may be of assistance to those currently experiencing discrimination, or who have experienced discrimination recently, on the basis of their fundamental conviction that it is wrong to use and kill other animals unnecessarily. You have a year from the breach of your rights to make a claim.
We also submitted our report to the Scottish Government and have yet to receive a substantive response.