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Vegan Needs a Capital “V”

Vegan lifestyle articles that discuss ways of living in peace with humans, animals, and the environment.

FROM Carissa Kranz, JD, Victoria Moran,
April 2022

Whether we’re talking about a food item, a face cream, or a human being, the minor grammatical technicality of “Vegan” versus “vegan” carries tremendous legal weight for the greater cause. How we identify ourselves and with how much importance, confidence and emphasis will determine the direction of our afforded protections under the law.

Compassion Consortium
Compassion Consortium

“Veganism is an ethical and moral belief system where one’s lifestyle and choices are shaped by the desire to avoid cruelty and suffering to animals at all practical costs. Veganism goes far beyond plant-based food and dietary choices; the decision to practice Veganism is a way of life one practices religiously – and it demands a capital “V” like any other firmly held moral belief system serving a higher cause and purpose”
BeVeg International, founder and CEO Carissa Kranz, JD

A ruling by an Employment Tribunal in the UK, reported in early 2020, stated that ethical Veganism is a “philosophical belief” that should be protected as religions are. For Vegans to gain rights globally as a constitutionally protected class, we must begin by recognizing our importance and identity as a group of people worthy of a capital “V.”

Judaism gets capitalized and so do Jews: Reform, Conservative, Orthodox. Christianity, too, and while various Christians may differ on the details, all agree on being capitalized: Anglicans, Baptists, Mormons, and Friends (the official name for Quakers, which is also capitalized, even though it’s not official). With a lower case “c,” in fact, the word catholic means “universal,” and does not designate followers of the Roman Catholic faith. Capitalization applies to all the world’s religions and to sects within them: Buddhism (Mahayana and Theravada), Hinduism (Vaishnavism, Vedanta, et al), Islam (Sunni, Shi’a, Sufi). Sikhs, Taoists, Wiccans, Ethical Humanists, and Jehovah’s Witnesses all witness their faith tradition honored with a capital letter.


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