Ethical Veganism as Protected Identity: Constructing a Creed Under Human Rights Law

  • Allison Covey
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Animals and Literature book series (PSAAL)


The Ontario Human Rights Commission’s 2015 policy on discrimination removes its previous exclusion of secular and ethical belief systems from legal protections afforded traditional religion. In this update, some activists see the potential for “ethical veganism” to be recognized under provincial human rights law as a creed. Reviewing similar cases in other jurisdictions, this essay considers the risks and benefits of pursuing such legal standing, the circumstances under which a vegan claim might succeed at court, and the obstacles that await it. It explores also the overlaps and divergences between the way the courts and the Religious Studies academy understand belief and practice. Can veganism stand on its own as a creed or is it protected only where it intersects with conventional religious belief?

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Allison Covey
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Religious StudiesUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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