Saturday, January 20, 2018

Is Veganism a Religion?

Veganism is not like a religion, but it is an ethos and way of life, and those of us who are ethical vegans are sincere and steadfast in our adherence to veganism’s tenets.  And in Ontario, where I live, it is now, perhaps accidentally, recognized by the Ontario Human Rights Commission as a creed by that body.  While it was not perhaps the intention of the OHRC to specifically include veganism under its umbrella protection, it is clear that, using the OHRC’s definition of a creed, veganism fits the bill.  To determine whether or not a belief is a creed, you must consider the following questions, as posed by the OHRC:

Is the belief:
-sincerely, freely and deeply held
-integrally linked to a person’s identity, self-definition and fulfilment
-a particular and comprehensive, overarching system of belief that governs one’s conduct and practices
-addresses ultimate questions of human existence, including ideas about life, purpose, death and the existence or non-existence of a creator and/or a higher or different order of existence 
-has some connection to an organization or a community that professes a shared system of belief

It is very clear to me, that using these criteria, veganism is a creed. And should some court in Ontario eventually decide that veganism is not in fact a creed to be protected in this province, I can state with certainty that it is definitely a creed and ethos for me. This is not a position I take lightly, or adjust from time to time or from place to place to appease certain people and not hurt their feelings - this is a deeply held belief. My only regret is that I did not wake up and become a vegan earlier in my life. 

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