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Digital Subscriptions > Vegan Life > August 2019 > It’s time to speak out

It’s time to speak out

We look into the issue of workplace discrimination

In the last year, veganism has been adopted by the world in a bigger and better way than ever before, with multitudes of plant-based product and restaurant launches, and an increasing amount of people identifying as vegan. According to The Vegan Society (vegansociety.com), there are now roughly 600,000 vegans in the UK — up from around 150,000 in 2014. In most areas of daily life, long-time vegans, as well as those new to the movement, are beginning to be accepted and accommodated accordingly. For example, airlines have started to provide plantbased in-flight meals for people that request them, supermarkets stock more vegan-friendly on-the-go foods, and many universities are running plant-based dishes in their cafeterias. However, it seems that in some areas of everyday life, veganism is still not completely accepted — as worrying discrimination cases and data emerges showing that the majority of this persecution originates in the workplace.

In a study of 1,000 employers and 1,000 vegan employees, Crossland Employment Solicitors (crosslandsolicitors.com) found that nearly a third of employees have at some point felt harassed at work or unfairly treated due to their veganism, and that nearly half of vegan employees questioned have felt discriminated against by employers. The research also found that 48 per cent of employers surveyed admitted that they don’t do anything to accommodate vegans, such as vegan food in the canteen or supplying toiletries free from animal testing. Furthermore, a concerning 3 per cent of bosses said they wouldn’t hire someone if they knew they were vegan, and a number of vegans reported that they had been specifically told not to discuss their beliefs with colleagues, or to tell customers.

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About Vegan Life

Welcome to our August issue — time is really flying this year. I recently watched the BBC series Years and Years, a dystopian drama following the lives of a middle class family, set in the not so distant future. Though the script has come from the imaginations of its talented writers, it’s terrifyingly believable. Floods, disease, famine, displacement, recession, homelessness, the re-election of Trump, the supremacy of technology and nuclear war are all part of daily life. As things go from bad to worse, the grandmother and matriarch of the family delivers a powerful speech, telling her grandchildren: “It’s all your fault… Dear God, what a carnival. This is the world we built. Congratulations, cheers all.” And this struck a real chord with me. Programmes like this, even though fictional, serve as a reminder that we aren’t doing enough and that we need to continue spreading our vegan message far and wide if we want to tackle the huge problems that could be headed our way. The task in hand can seem overwhelming, but there are so many people helping to make the world a better place. This issue, we meet Derek Sarno who is bringing veganism to the masses through his collaboration with Tesco, we talk to Friends of The Earth about the importance of increasing the amount of trees in the UK, Maria Slough interviews Oggs founder, Hannah Carter, who is working tirelessly to put the egg industry into decline and Samantha Fung discusses her powerful artivism. Let’s keep heading in the right direction.

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