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Veganism, historical turning point. Report by Jordi Casamitjana after the trial



A few days after his trial, Jordi Casamitjana shares his triumph with Veggie Channel: veganism has been recognized as a philosophical belief protected by UK law. Huge changes are taking place in the world already.
 
Hi Jordi, thank you very much for being again on Veggie Channel. This time we are very proud because your ruling has gone through. What is the ruling about?
 
I had this pre-hearing on Thursday and Friday, a few days ago, about whether ethical veganism is a protected philosophical belief under the Equality Act 2010. That was part of my discrimination case, that still will continue, but before my case will be tested in court about whether I was discriminated or not, the judge had to decide first whether veganism, ethical veganism in particular, is a protected philosophical belief. So, there was Thursday, the first day, and in the first day was only him, the judge, because I produced 1200 pages of evidence, he needed a whole day alone being able to read the entire thing. And the 3rd, which is Friday, 3rd of January 2020, for those who might be watching this later, this is the day all the witnesses were there already; and then we presented all that evidence and we expected, that should be the norm, to go home and the judge after a few days would produce a written judgment. But he didn't do that. He told us straight away that he already had decided that the evidence was so strong. He decided that: Yes, ethical veganism is a protected philosophical belief, a non religious philosophical belief, under the Equality act (2010) and that Yes, I am an ethical vegan holding that belief.
 
Wonderful!
 
And this is amazing because it is the first time in the world that a judge has ever said that.
 
Wonderful! Congratulations with all our heart from our staff and from Italy. The second question. Now that you are going to have this amazing media attention, many many newspapers and TVs like CNN are interested and interviewing you every day. What do you think is going to translate all this media attention into? 
 
Yes, it has been really crazy, immediately after the verdict all the press was outside, a row of cameras. And since then it hasn't stop. It's been already 3 days of constant constant media attention. I bought all thew newspapers in England  until today, I've opened them all and I'm in all of them. So it was amazing! And everywhere, from Bosnia, from Turkey, from Australia. People were flying to Abu Dhabi and they would see in the plane an advert about my case. Firstly it was a little bit overwhelming, it was a bit too much. I never saw my face in so many places. But seriously what it means is that every body is talking about vegans. Everybody is talking about what is the difference between an ethical vegan with somebody that only has a plant based diet. Everybody is talking about how vegans are discriminated about. Everybody is talking about how veganism is a protected belief that is important, that is coherent, is worthily of respect in a democratic society. These are the words that the judge said. And it put veganism at a very high level because it is no longer that thing that people do as a fashion and people make jokes about it. 
 
Now it is as important as any other belief there is out there, religious or otherwise. Basically I think there is a lot of interest from both sides, from people that like very much what happened and people that hate very much what happened. Because everybody has an opinion about this, nobody is indifferent. And that was the interesting thing. Now the consequences are, because everybody who have learned about this, there will be people in other countries that may have the same situation I was. They may have been fired because they were vegans. And now they realised that, if it happened in England, it could happen Italy, it could happen in Greece, it could happen in Japan, and they may develop the same process I did. They may find which law is available. And perhaps what happened in the UK could start happening  anywhere, because the vegans are the same everywhere, the animals are the same everywhere, the discrimination is the same everywhere. So it had to start in some country, it's good it started here in the UK because the word vegan was invented here, but it could have been anywhere but it has to finish everywhere.
 
How will those who treat a vegan badly be prosecuted in the future?
 
If you are a vegan and you feel you have been discriminated, in my case was the maximum amount of discrimination, which is been fired, but you don't have to be that much. If just you are not provided with the right food, when everybody else has their food, or you are forced to wear uniforms that have leather, and everybody else' uniform is bought by the employer, and you have to pay your own. All this are forms of discrimination. Up to now you just have to take it and be happy and complain with your family and that's it. Now you can address your employer with strength and say: “Look what you have done is incorrect, please correct it. My belief is a protected belief, it is not less important than any religion or other belief, so you need to take it seriously”. Hopefully, because that employer has seen all this media thing around, that employer already realise this is true and that employer will say: “Sorry, sorry, I will correct it very quickly”. And in fact, I already seen in the internet companies that advise employers, already telling them: “Start changing your policies because you don't want to be caught in a situation like that”.
 
Amazing!
 
But what happens if you have an employer that says:”I still don't care, I still don't like vegans”. Well, then you can take that employer to the employment tribunal and make a claim for discrimination. And because now there is a precedent, there is a chance, a good chance, if it is a genuine claim, that it is true that you were discriminated for that particular reason, there is a chance that you will win that case.
 
This ruling took place only a few days ago, on the 3rd of January and already a lot of changes are happening around the world. How much time do you think it is going to take in Italy to follow this ruling as well?
 
I really don't know, I don't know how the veganism is seen in Italy. I don't know how is the legal situation in Italy, But it must be somebody else that would have to go and say: “Let's look at the law, let's see how the law works”. Because in the UK we have the advantage that the Equality act that says: philosophical believes should be protected. Perhaps that word doesn't exist in the Italian legislation. But perhaps there is another word recognizable by people with knowledge of law able to  find ways to promote cases that might fit to that legislation. And if there is there anything that you could use, then there is a scope for campaigning to lobby politicians, to modify the laws, to act something similar to philosophical belief, not just for veganism, for pacifism, for everybody else that has a strong firm belief, but is not a religious belief, they also deserve to be protected. So there would be enough people around that would support lobbing for such a change. But who knows how long it is going to take, that's I can't tell.
 
This was the first part of your case which is divided in two pieces, I would say. What is the situation at the moment and what do you think it is going to be in the next... when is it going to be the second part?
 
The second part is at the end of February and the beginning of March, it's a 10 days trial. Because I can not talk anything about that part of the case, because it hasn't happened yet and I'm in the middle of the litigation. At least now we know that we could use a discrimination component of my case, which we didn't know until the approval of the judge to confirm that veganism is a protected belief. Now we know it definitely, so we can face the case with that knowledge. How it is going to end? I don't know, you never know. That is far more difficult, because it is two sides defending each other. In this case, my former employer, we can contests the aspects of veganism, so it was easier for me, but the other will be more difficult, ten days. And what is most important that I haven't got yet all the money to pay all my lawyers for the rest of the case. I'm still crowdfunding in the same places I was doing before, because my case still needs support from the population. My hope is now that vegans have realised that I have achieved something for them, perhaps they can help me to achieve something for me. 
 
We remind our viewers to go down to the description to see the link where we can help you in your crowdfunding. For the time being we say thank you very much again. We are waiting to see you in Italy. I hope you will be able to visit us very soon.
 
Yes, I would love to do that!
 
You are invited, you are going to be like a hero for us. Many people is waiting for you. So thank you Jordi very much and good luck for the second part of this case!
 
Thank you very much Massimo!
 
 
This is a video of the web-tv Veggie Channel.
 
Director: Massimo Leopardi
Editor: Julia Ovchinnikova
 
 

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Jordi Casamitjana








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