A vegan menu will now as a matter, of course, be made available in Scottish schools in East Renfrewshire and Glasgow.
East Renfrewshire initially refused the request from a parent, but campaign group Go Vegan World worked with the parents to challenge the decision. The challenge was based on human rights as a result of which the council has done an about-turn and will now provide a range of food choices that cater to vegans. Pupils will, however, need to request the option.
A spokesperson for East Renfrewshire Council confirmed they had “worked closely” with parents to ensure a suitable solution was reached.
“We provide more than 11,000 meals every day across all our schools and cater for a wide range of dietary requirements, including allergen-free, 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.”
Vegans deserve legal protections
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 they have the information they need to challenge rights breaches, whether that be a failure to provide suitable food in school, hospital or prison, difficulties at work, or challenging indoctrination in school through teaching in a way that conflicts with the vegan philosophy. We are assisting vegans with rights-based challenges whenever we can.”
Glasgow City Council offer a vegan choice
Glasgow City Council had a similar case when their failure to provide a full vegan menu for a couple’s daughter who was attending a nursery was challenged. This led to a three-week vegan menu being produced. The Council has subsequently confirmed that this menu is now available on request throughout the Glasgow area, in both schools and nurseries.
At present most of Scotland’s schools do not offer any clearly labelled vegan options for pupils on their standard menus.
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “It is for councils to consider the food on offer and we expect them to make reasonable efforts to accommodate dietary requirements so it is welcome to see these options being made available to pupils.”
Go Vegan World has confirmed that it is helping another parent with a child in a school in the Scottish Borders where the situation is identical.
If Glasgow and East Renfrewshire can create a vegan menu for children then no doubt the Borders will eventually be able to do so too as more and more parents embrace the vegan trend.