Le­gal chal­lenge forces schools to put ve­gan meals on menu

Claims by cam­paign­ers that re­fus­ing re­quests from par­ents breached hu­man rights laws

The Scotsman - - FRONT PAGE - By KEVAN CHRISTIE Health Correspond­ent

A ve­gan menu is now avail­able in schools run by two lo­cal au­thor­i­ties in Scot­land af­ter hu­man rights chal­lenges by cam­paign­ers. The move fol­lows a re­quest from a par­ent in East Ren­frew­shire which was ini­tially re­fused.

How­ever cam­paign group Go Ve­gan World worked with the par­ents to chal­lenge the de­ci­sion cit­ing hu­man rights laws, and the coun­cil per­formed a U- turn. The lo­cal au­thor­ity has now pro­duced a range of choices that cater for ve­gans and con­firmed it is avail­able on re­quest to pupils through­out the re­gion.

This fol­lows a sim­i­lar case

in Glas­gow City Coun­cil when a cou­ple chal­lenged their fail­ure to pro­vide a full ve­gan menu for their daugh­ter in nurs­ery.

The coun­cil then pro­duced a three- week ve­gan menu and con­firmed that this is now avail­able on re­quest througho ut t h e Gl a s g ow a r e a , i n schools and nurs­eries.

At present most of Scot­land’s schools do not of­fer any clearly la­belled ve­gan op­tions for pupils on their stan­dard menus.

Go Ve­gan World’s le­gal rep­re­sen­ta­tive, Bar­bara Bolton, said: “Ve­gans have the same pro­tec­tions as those who hold re­li­gious be­liefs. They have the right to live ac­cord­ing to their moral con­vic­tion that it is wrong to use and kill other an­i­mals and they must not be dis­crim­i­nated against.

“We are work­ing to raise aware­ness among ve­gans so t hey have t he i nfor­ma­tion they need to chal­lenge rights breaches, whether t hat be a fail­ure to pro­vide suit­able food i n school, hospi­tal or prison, dif­fi­cul­ties at work, or chal­leng­ing i ndoc­tri­na­tion in school through teach­ing in a way that con­flicts with

the ve­gan phi­los­o­phy. We are as­sist­ing ve­gans with rights­based chal­lenges when­ever we can.”

Go Ve­gan World said it is help­ing an­other par­ent with a child in a school in the Scot­tish Bor­ders who is chal­leng­ing the coun­cil’s re­fusal to pro­vide ve­gan op­tions.

The group says in that case the coun­cil has said it can­not pro­vide ve­gan meals, claim­ing it is not pos­si­ble to pro­vide food that com­plies with

the nutri­tional re­quire­ments for school meals.

Ms Bolton added: “That is quite clearly in­ac­cu­rate. They do not ap­pear to be aware the Bri­tish Di­etet­ics As­so­ci­a­tion has long con­firmed that we can get all the nu­tri­ents we need on a fully plant- based diet at ever y stage of life. If Glas­gow and East Ren­frew­shire can cre­ate a ve­gan menu that com­plies with the cur­rent nutri­tional re­quire­ments for schools, the Bor­ders can too.”

Aspokesper­son for East Ren­frew­shire Coun­cil con­firmed t hey had “worked closely” with par­ents to en­sure a suit­able so­lu­tion was reached.

T h e y a d d e d : “We p r o - vide more than 11,000 meals e v e r y d ay a c r o s s a l l o u r schools and cater for a wide r a nge o f di e t a r y r e q ui r e - ments, i nclud­ing al­ler­gen­free, kosher, ha­lal, celiac and gluten- free op­tions.

“Any par­ent or carer who re­quests a meal to meet the

needs of a spe­cial diet, which in­cludes ve­gan meals, will be catered for to en­sure we con­tinue to of­fer a wide- rang­ing menu which is in­clu­sive for all.”

A S c o t t i s h Gove r n ment s pokesman s ai d: “I t i s f or coun­cils to con­sider the food on of­fer and we ex­pect them to make rea­son­able ef­forts t o a c c o mmo­dat e d i e t a r y re­quire­ments so it is wel­come t o see t hese op­tions be­ing made avail­able to pupils.”

0 A three- week ve­gan menu is avail­able on re­quest through­out the Glas­gow area in schools and nurs­eries

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