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Jan 19

Ontario Officials Rule Veganism is a Human Right Legally Protected from Discrimination

In a huge victory for the rights of those following a plant-based diet, the Human Rights Commission of Ontario has ruled that veganism is a human right that should be legally protected from discrimination under law similar to how religious beliefs are protected.

ontario

Ontario, Canada.

The definition of “creed” in Ontario’s Human Rights Code has been modified to include ethical veganism. This victory is due to the animal rights organization Animal Justice lobbying officials to legally protect those who are vegan from discrimination.

Under the new law, service providers such as schools, hospitals and employers may not discriminate against an individual or their requests for being vegan. This means that hospitals must now provide vegan meals upon request, and students cannot be forced to dissect animals

“[R]ecognizing veganism as a form of creed is an important precedent and a clear statement that vegans and their beliefs deserve respect”, says Animal Justice Executive Director Camille Labchuk.

Labchuk says he now plans to work at changing the law in other areas of Canada.

68 comments

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  1. Mel Isherwood

    This is wonderful news. I will keep this in mind and mention to my union rep the next time a colleague makes an insensitive remark or “joke” at my expense.

    1. Patty

      I think this is great news, but let’s not get all PC about this, too, ok? I’m for throwing PC (political correctness) out the window. People are really too sensitive about pretty much everything anymore.

      1. Queade Di Ilio

        Until you are at the receiving g end of the jokes, ridicule and or discrimination.

      2. A

        When it comes to animal and human rights, people are allowed to be “sensitive”.

    2. VeganJim

      A joke at your expense? Really? Are people really that sensitive these days?

      1. cici

        people are . People need to show each other a little respect . I do not like being teased . Some people have a disability that makes it harder to also cope with . People do have feelings .

  2. Glen Giroux

    The schools still force my daughter to take the cheese and pepperoni off the pizza – sighting they don’t do vege or vegan pizzas for kids

    1. jello2871

      Pack her a decent lunch you gigantic pussy

      1. erin

        Jello2871 why should vegans be forced to pack a lunch, when meat eaters don’t ?

        1. Trevor

          I was a very fussy eater when I went to school and I never ate a school meal. No one “forced” me to take a packed lunch but I chose to becaue I didn’t like the food at school. That’s the answer! Lots of non-vegetarians eat packed lunches.

          1. Bloublou

            Trevor, non-vegetarians have choice. Vegetarians don’t. Allooo?

    2. Marvin Meeker

      I was fortunate enough to go to a school that was all vegetarian, in the 60’s no less. That being said, we usually packed a lunch anyway.

    3. pattithehuman

      Perhaps show them this article? Or contact Animal Justice Canada about what you can do to ensure she gets a proper meal.

    4. VeganJim

      That really is a disgrace!!! How dare the school for not having a vegan menu for your child!!!!!!!! This just makes my blood boil! Do you mind if I blog about this issue?

      1. cici

        I totally agree with you on this one , right on !

      2. Devin Rey

        Wtf is wrong with you trolls on here? I cant tell if you are being sarcastic? seem like an asshole to me.

  3. Diego

    Great News

  4. Rachel

    This is great, I wish they would do that here in the US. People don’t realize just how much vegans are discriminated against. For example, McDonald’s (I think it was them) made a ‘help line’ for vegetarians and vegans who couldn’t resist their bacon sandwiches, essentially making fun and mocking us for our beliefs. Like having compassion is a bad thing these days. No hospitals, schools, prisons, etc have vegan or vegetarian options and they should just because of the health benefits alone. I shake my head in shame at the human race when I see a McDonald’s in a hospital.

  5. TC

    forcing a diner to change it’s menu is wrong. what’s next, segregated eating areas, two kitchens? Nobody is forcing you to eat meat, so what is the problem? Plants have feelings too, proven scientifically, just play them music. you are still eating a living thing. some people are not happy unless they are complaining

    1. Daniel

      TC, plants having feeling has not been proven scientifically. Responses are not the same as sentience. My hair stands on end when I’m scared. That doesn’t mean my hair is conscious. Do the research. And restaurants are not being forced to do anything. It refers to places that provide food, such as schools, jails, government buildings, etc., where people (employees, students, inmates, etc.) have to be.

      1. Brain on Hugs

        The meat industry is forced upon everyone, at the expense of the environment, our health, and our moral consistency. There is no need to cover all vegetables, fruit, beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds in animal flesh and fluids when millions of people are repulsed at the idea of doing so. Nobody is forcing you not to eat dogs or horses either, so isn’t it nice that you can have that choice accommodated without hassle?

        PS – Be sure to tell firefighters they should rescue houseplants and pets without distinction because plants have feelings too and are living things. They will laugh at you and likely be quite offended. But if this argument is valid/consistent you will use it in all applicable situations, not just when it serves your behaviors.

        1. Jessixalexan

          Bravo! I screenshot your reply so I can use it myself haha. Love the excuses people come up with to make themselves feel better ” plants have feelings too ” wahh wahh… Well if you care for the plants so much why not the animals?

    2. Sarah

      TC, by the same token, requiring a City to provide parking space for handicapped citizens is wrong, requiring a university to enroll minorities is wrong, requiring an employer not to discriminate against gay citizens is wrong… Vegans have to eat too so not providing any options for vegans in a restaurant menu is discrimination. Oh and the good old “plants have feelings too argument”. I will agree with you — that plants are just like animals– when I see a lettuce screaming in pain and fighting to save its life till its last breadth when you attack it with a knife to slash its throat. Oh one more thing. When you cut a lettuce, the root stays and can grow to complete its life cycle. When you slash the leg of a lamb to make lamb stew, the lamb dies never to grow again.

      1. Puzuma

        Your argument is idiotic. Being handicap or a minority is NOT a choice. Being vegetarian/vegan IS.

        Might be a better idea for the government to regulate veganism like they do tobacco.

        “I’m a sixth level vegan. I don’t eat anything that casts a shadow.”

        1. Brain on Hugs

          Not eating dogs and horses is also a choice. Isn’t it wonderful to have that choice accommodated without hassle or harassment? Now we can all feel that way. There is no need to include animal flesh and fluids in food at all, and continuing to cover all food options with them is not logical or inclusive.

    3. pattithehuman

      This ruling says nothing about “forcing a diner” to do anything. It is primarily about public institutions and workplaces not discriminating against or excluding people on the basis of their ethical veganism.

      Hospitals and schools need to provide adequate food to vegans, students can opt out of dissection, workers can opt out of animal-based uniforms, etc.

      It’s the same idea as having certain provisions for people on the basis of religion or ability: eg. providing a Kosher meal, allowing variations in workplace attire, allowing opting out of practices that conflict with beliefs, holding events in places that are accessible, etc.

    4. Liz

      Plants are living organisms, absolutely. Although, they do not have nervous systems connected to a brain. Therefore they are not sentient.

      What do you call a brain dead person in a hospital that survives solely on machines? A vegetable. Why do you mow your lawn without an ounce of guilt but running over a dog with your car pains you? Because only one can feel pain. One is sentient and the other is not. I have already given you the science and this video proves that.

      Vegans harm/consume/kill less plants directly, than omnivores do indirectly. The animals (whom are sentient and smarter than your dog by the way) eat all of those plants to grow big and strong for you to get a little bit of meat. So since you seem to care so much about plant’s rights, you should really consider veganism.

      Lastly, “plant neuroscience” is a metaphor, even plant scientists agree. “Plant neuroscience” is stated because it is a way for us to grasp why plants react to their surroundings. They do react to chemicals, gravity, light, moisture, infections, temperature, oxygen and carbon dioxide concentrations, parasite infestation, disease, physical disruption, sound,and touch. This is all due to signal responses, photo-sensitive compounds, hormones, chemicals, etc.

      If you’d like me to dive deeper into the science, I can. I am a microbiology major, I do know a thing or two. Bottom line, I fight for the rights of sentient beings. It is like you are trying to “catch” me, as well as all other vegans in some sort of a “gotcha! you’re wrong moment” when all of this has been discussed and debated over and over.

      The science backs us up repeatedly. There is no evidence for structures such as neurons, synapses or a brain in plants. Therefore, no sentience. While plants are very fascinating, I will never yell at someone for kicking a tree over kicking a dog. If you would, well, that’s your issue.

  6. Michele

    Bravo!

  7. m

    I guess then if you are vegan – you cannot become a surgeon – you will be dissecting a human.

    1. Queade Di Ilio

      Are you serious? Just what do you think a vegan is? Talk about lack of research. Try Google

    2. Queade Di Ilio

      Making students dissect an animal is not the same as surgery. Consider how each came under the knife.

  8. Christine

    I think it’s great that vegan meals will be available in hospitals and schools. However, sometimes dissection for a program of study is very important. I can support high school students not wanting to participate, but for more advanced education (vet school for example) becoming familiar with the inner workings of the critters you want to work with is important for your future job.

    1. Queade Di Ilio

      Because there are no better learning tools in this day and age… really? You think you still have to kill, then dissect to learn anatomy and physiology? I have my BSc in biology and I can tell you this is not so.

  9. Rachel

    Great news especially for moms that want kids to have healthy lunches.

    1. Dale Walters

      As I have stated many times before to those who ask me……. Why don,t I eat meat…..the simple answer is….. There is absolutely no reason to kill and eat the animals…none…..we are still living in primitive times…

      1. Mac

        No reason? How bout it taste good.

      2. Rush

        Everything dies. It’s a fact. Animals don’t fade off into the sunset. So die feeding us, or die ripped apart by a predator. Of course you want these animals extinct since a domestic animal cannot survive in the wild.
        So you are making a moral choice that an animal does not deserve a life, because you don’t like its manner of death (it will die). So exterminate it.
        Hmmm, wipe out the planet and nothing with die ever again! Good idea.
        Our First Nations are closer to our environment that the vegan movement. They put holes in the heels of a baby’s first leather moccasins so the spirit passes through the the soft spot in the head and connects through their heels to the earth.
        We are animals and predators and I fear the vegans will allow the world to be devoid of life. No respect for the beauty of eating the life force from another fellow animals. Sterile environments, drones working in lifeless environments. No dogs (that’s bad according to PETA, even though we conquered the Neanderthals with them).
        Instead, polyester clothes, polluting the environment. Nature is not us. We are above animals, superior. We deny ourselves for this ‘idea’ we are better than them, more pure, because we don’t eat meat. We still poop but I am sure the brain trust will be trying to stop that annoying animal habit too.

        1. Patricia

          There is a difference in natural born animals and those mass produced and raised in factory farms where they are horribly treated. I suggest you read up on the treatment and cruelty these living beings endure. It’s not like in nature. You are ignorant

  10. Pat brophy

    Unfortunately people are ignorant to the fact that when they eat a dead animal it rots in their stomach for three days. We were not supposed to eat meat do the research. Plants do not have feelings do the research. People live to eat don’t eat to live. Too much emphasis is put on food. Double size this double size that why do you think our society is overweight and people that eat meat find it too hard to give it up.

    1. Brian

      please quote your source for this allegation

    2. VeganJim

      This is most idiotic thing Ive read this week. If meat rots in your stomach, surely veg does too…..

  11. Brian

    now can someone please tell the vegans that not being vegan is also a right ? I see vegans attacking non vegans much more often than the other way around

    1. Marvin Meeker

      That is a crying shame. Militant vegans sometimes don’t get that they contradict themselves. As a lifelong vegetarian my attitude is very much ‘live and let live’ and I can sympathize.

      1. Robin Ottoson

        Killing and using other beings as food or for commodities, IS NOT and SHOULD NOT be a right. All of you “Live and let live”-people are forgetting the beings vegans are standing up and fighting for. Vegans are not contradicting themselves, people who say “live and let live” while killing/using other beings are.

  12. Kaeli

    And now to turn all “Zoo’s” and into animal sanctuaries.

    Slowly but surely this bill will be changed from Human Rights to include Animal Rights.

    1. Queade Di Ilio

      We can only hope!

  13. Marvin Meeker

    I am 59 years old, a vegetarian all my life, being fortunate enough to grow up in a vegetarian family. A law like this might be convenient for me, but that doesn’t make it right. I have gotten along just fine, knowing where I could go to eat and where I couldn’t. I imagine schools and hospitals should already be prepared for divergent life and dietary styles, but restaurants are another matter. Even 20 years ago when certain popular places did not yet have garden patties, there were plenty of viable options. A good example would be a sushi bar. Forcing them to accommodate a dietary style that just doesn’t fit into their standard fare will increase their cost of operation, forcing them to raise their prices. Of course, Liberals couldn’t care less about that, since it is an obstacle to their agenda.

    1. Mac

      Not to worry Marvin.

      I doubt that this ruling will extend that far. It will apply more to employment standards situations. For example an employer will now have to accommodate a vegan employee who find it morally unacceptable to wear leather or fur.

      Restaurants are not required to carry kosher options, and this is not deemed a violation of human rights under religion.

  14. Deborah

    There are ways to dissect frogs etc. on the computer and a real animal is not required. It is a positive that hospitals provide vegan meals to patients who are Vegan. Patients are there to recover and gain strength with their health and what better way than to nourish someone with compassionate plant based eating, which meets all of our needs. 🙂

  15. Lorrie

    First of all, those that do not know or understand the reasons behind veganism should not have anything to say. If I am a compassionate human being and can not bring myself to cause pain and suffering to another LIVING creature, then for me it is not a choice. If you can kill and cause suffering, then according to the current law you are not prevented from doing so, so why would you care if vegan food is provided for a compassionate child in school or sick person in a hospital? HONESTLY, why on earth does it even effect you?

    1. Josie

      Really it does not affect us. I agree with the bill by the way. However, I do not agree with your argument that we should not have a say and it does not affect us. Hear is a good example. At work we have a $5 a person budget to get lunch for everyone. We order food in bulk to save money. We must order a vegan option for the two people in the office. However you must order min of 4 of each kind of dish. So to give the vegan people options we have to order 8 vegan people’s worth of food for only 2 people eating it. We need to ensure that they get their food before everyone else to prevent cross contamination. Usually the vegan food is what is left for two reasons. Either others do not like that food OR they don’t want to eat it so that there is enough food for the vegans (even if we tell others they can eat it). PS we did this BEFORE the law because it is the RIGHT thing to do. But do not pull the line that is does not affect others. Here is an example for a hospital. They get a small small budget per day per person for food. It is something like $10 for the whole day. A vegan meal will cost more because they will have to order special items they do not carry normally so a vegan meal will be lets say $12. Not much more. However they will have to remove items from the other meal types to make the budget balance. PS i think this is the RIGHT thing to do. However again, this will affect everyone. Look outside of the little box of your world to realize we all affect each other.

  16. Verity

    Is this real or some joke? Comparing this to religion as a right is like comparing the Crusades to a peace march..

    1. cici

      Are you a joke ? How is this anything like the Crusades ? People are vegetarians for ethical reasons , and we deserve respect for our beliefs as much as you do.

  17. Jess

    I can’t believe what I’ve just read by ‘m’. Are surgeons cruelly farming humans, killing them and dissecting them for dinner?

  18. Matt

    I hope I never have you as a surgeon if you think some sort of simulation or alternative to true hands-on technique is equatable. At least I hope you have a few dozen fools opt for your lack of experience before I would ever have to.

  19. Lomedin

    “students cannot be forced to dissect animals” – Hell, yeah!! Little by little, step by step, we are approaching a future where humans will look at any transgression upon non-human animals with disgust.

  20. Planet X

    Militant and vigilante vegans & some vegetarians are an absolute selfish, self serving, self-defeating joke. Feel so bad about what the real world and reality is all about huh?….then go seek professional psychiatric help or counselling to help you with your mental psychological problems and stop trying to take out your frustrations on normal, balanced, omnivorous humans. Some vegans are very smart and sensible about their life choices and the way they integrate with the majority of the human race, so my advice is not targeted at those good natured people, only to the dumb, rude and hypocritical vegans…a lot of them out there no doubt. Here is a line they use often…. “You meat eaters react to us vegans negatively to hide your obvious guilt”. Hee Hee….What a load of rubbish. It is the vegans and most vegetarians who actual feel very guilty ….that is why the majority of them switched over from meat eating etc. Go and sulk over the realization of your futility somewhere else and leave humans alone. If you vegans and vegetarians want to win over people with your views and arguments, treat all people with respect and tolerance and show that you are rational and reasonable in your views willing to engage in mature meaningful discussion, otherwise you are just going to be ignored. Omnivores will more likely respect and listen to intelligent and mature people, not dumb disrespectful vegans who give the ‘vegan-movement’ a bad name.
    Myself…I don’t mind killing and cooking animals for food. Better than eating then alive and raw (YUK!)… like Lions in the wild are able to do with ease. Most humans on planet earth are omnivores, been so for thousands of years. Vegans… lemme see, been around for a relatively short time, are mostly white, young females from affluent first world cities/societies. Not surprising. Like any cultural virus, veganism will slowly spread over the planet but unlikely to have much of an impact, as it’s demise is due to its lame premise.

  21. Mohamed

    Why isn’t Halal food a constitutional right? It’s not like vegans are oppressed anyway!!!

    1. David

      No lo es porque es un genocidio que debe prohibirse. ¿Qué es eso de degollar a los animales conscientes? Es una vergüenza.

    2. Trish

      @Mohamed All vegan food is halal so it will be suitable for Muslims too. Vegan food is suitable for all faiths.

  22. Speciesismisalive

    Vegans aren’t oppressed? Try being one and you’ll see. The image pollution alone of dead bodies everywhere. Ads for meat, leather, fur…on and on. Circuses, zoos. The reason for recognizing veganism as a belief/creed is NECESSARY from the evidence of discrimination and hatred witnessed here on this thread. Precisely why it is needed to be included as a human right,

  23. Wrong

    No they haven’t. The new definition _may_ include veganism.

  24. Baconman

    I ate a bacon cheeseburger to celebrate this for you guys! way to go! you did the thing!

  25. Ashely

    Vegans claim they are being ethical, but seriously you guys act like you are better than everyone else for your choice to not eat meat. I don’t care what you do with your life, but you obviously don’t understand what true discrimination is. So what people make jokes about your choice to not eat meat, are you really that sensitive that you must pass a law so no one can every make fun of your choices? Seriously time is better spent on things that matter, grow up, suck it up, and stop whining, this generation are all a bunch of cry babies. Things live, die, etc… circle of life, animals in the wild do it, but no one blames a lion for killing a zebra, but when people eat animals we are horrible? You claim people don’t need meat, but honestly that’s just an opinion like anything told to us. Stop forcing your views on meat eaters, ands don’t give me this crap you give a shit about the animals suffering, human existence causes animals to die, like when we cut down the rain forest to make more shopping malls, and the cars we drive pollute the environment,or over population, the list goes on. I don’t see you guys giving up your homes, or cars, or giving up having kids for the cute cuddly animals. You Vegans are hypocrites, and want to make people feel sorry for you, but thankfully no one gives a shit.

  26. Lily

    In all seriousness, why would Canada wastes its time with this, has Veganism become the new Scientology? It’s your choice to not eat meat or animal by products, but to pass a law regarding it, pertaining to discrimination is quite silly. If someone judges you for your food choice, shake it off, but don’t cry to legislation about it so you can make a law against it. There are people in this world who actually face discrimination( ie. black people, gays, lesbians, different religious denomination etc..) and it’s quite insulting to think vegans belong in that same category.

  27. cath hurwood

    this is not about packed lunches – it is about basic human rights – if someone is differently ‘abled’, elderly, has particular religious affiliations, etc. does not mean it’s free season to treat them differently than everyone else. So should it be with veganism!!

  28. KatB

    This is a step in the right direction. I wish the US would follow suit. Though there is a definite difference between just following a ‘plant-based diet” and being vegan (and the author should have refrained from using the former term as a synonym for vegan).

  29. Sandie

    Wow!!! Can’t wait for this to happen EVERYWHERE! <3 Thank you to those who fought for this to happen!

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