Monday, September 25, 2023

Veganism: a right recognized in the Ontario Human Rights Code?

Lawyers for a vegan firefighter argued in court that veganism is a non-religious belief and therefore the right is included in the Ontario Human Rights Code. Their client, Adam Knauff, was suspended in 2017 because he protested against his employer for not providing him with vegan meals at his workplace.

Adam Knauff says that veganism is more than a life choice or way of life, but a belief. He even talked about ethical behavior and an undeniable characteristic of his personality.

I am vegan in all my activities, in all the choices I make and the policies I support, it’s not just about foodhe said before presenting his lawyers’ arguments.

However, if he cannot prove this, his complaint for discrimination against Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources risks being dismissed.

A Fireman With A Chainsaw In His Hands.

Adam Knauff filed a complaint with the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal in 2017 against his employer over his food choices.

The 44-year-old Ontario native claims she was discriminated against based on her veganism and was unfairly suspended without pay for speaking out.

To win his case, his defense must show that vegan beliefs constitute a non-religious belief according to specific criteria in the Ontario Human Rights Code.

Criteria for Determining Faith in Ontario

  • A faith is sincere, deep and voluntarily adopted;
  • It is completely linked to the way in which man defines himself and develops on a spiritual level;
  • It consists of a particular system of beliefs that is comprehensive and fundamental, and governs human behavior and behavior;
  • It answers the ultimate questions of human life and it connects with a community of like-minded people.

The plaintiff’s defense maintains that ethical veganism meets all these criteria and that it should be considered a human right in the same way as religion, for example.

Its main witness, the sociopsychologist Melanie Joy, coined the neologism LASCIVIOUSNESS (carnism in English is a term used by vegan people to indicate the consumption and use of meat products, Editor’s note) and has written several books about veganism.

A Firefighter Resting In A Burning Forest.

Adam Knauff says that he is against all cruelty to animals, the exploitation of dairy cows and chickens and the intensive practice of monoculture.

Explained by Ms. Joy on the principle that veganism is good a belief system, which the public knows more from a dietary and environmental angle than from an ethical and ideological angle..

This is the counterweight of “carnism”, born from a reactionary way of life intended to fight against an established system. he said.

He added that veganism exists worldwide, although he estimates that it only reaches 1 to 1.5% of the planet’s inhabitants.

He maintains that vegans are sincere when they say they want to maintain a lifestyle free of violence against animals. Images of animal cruelty have a profound effect on them he advocated.

A Firefighter Fighting A Fire.

In his complaint, Adam Knauff claimed that he felt humiliated, had to suffer anxiety, emotional distress and fatigue, and that his reputation was damaged.

According to Ms. Joy, vegan people face a lot of pressure from the food, cosmetic and clothing industries, in particular, to follow the LASCIVIOUSNESS.

They choose a lifestyle that seems difficult despite the fact that they grew up in the norm he continued.

In this sense, he is talking about an identity that is specific to them in the same way as an identity of gender or skin color.

They have a particular understanding of the relationships between people, animals and the environment and their concerns are reflected in their daily living habits. he added. It’s not just about food.

Court Documents Are Placed On A Table.

In his complaint, Adam Knauff claimed that he felt humiliated, had to suffer anxiety, emotional distress and fatigue, and that his reputation was damaged.

Explained by Ms. Joy that vegan people have, by force of circumstances, a different existential relationship from others regarding the environment and life, because they have a keen sense of compassion and justice towards animals.

They feel motivated or even obliged to raise public awareness about animal rights and the destruction of nature for agricultural purposes. he declared.

The sociopsychologist concluded that vegan people do not care about ridicule carnivores.

The Human Rights Tribunal Of Ontario.

Adam Knauff spoke via videoconference at the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal, located in this building in Toronto.

In his arguments, the plaintiff’s lawyer, Ashley Wilson, stated that veganism is a philosophy and that it should not be restricted to a strict diet.

In this sense, veganism is a faith according to him. It is a belief that has existed for over 5,000 years, but is not necessarily religious, although Jainism has adopted veganism in its practice. he said.

It is also an ideology, which requires reflection and reflection on the desire not to harm any living being. continues Mr. Wilson, who remembers that veganism has the same characteristics as religion.

The lawyer added that vegan people have a developed moral sense and that they believe in that humans and animals were created as equal beings capable of experiencing pleasure and pain.

A Judge'S Furnace.

The Crown said that only the Ontario Human Rights Code should guide the administrative tribunal arbitrator in deciding Mr. Knauff.

His colleague, Wade Poziomka, acknowledged that the jurisprudence of veganism is little in Canada, but he cited the case of the United Kingdom, where food ethics is now recognized as a non-religious belief.

However, Me Poziomka concludes that the Canadian Charter recognizes this belief in the same way as freedom of conscience, the closest parallel according to him.

The Crown maintains it has no position on whether or not veganism meets all the criteria of the province’s Human Rights Code.

The defendant’s lawyer, Padraic Ryan, agreed that the criteria of the Ontario Code should be applied as the defense of Mr. Knauff believed so, but he declined to side with the merits of the case.

The Crown was careful not to cross-examine Mr. Knauff and Ms. Joy in the morning.

The tribunal’s administrative adjudicator Karen Dawson reserved the matter until an unspecified date.

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