The Vegan Society encourages all vegans to add their names petition a nutritionally balanced hot vegan meal option on every school menu.
While the Equality Act of 2010 requires educators not to discriminate against vegan children and students, the government currently only requires schools to make “reasonable decisions” when deciding whether to accept vegans into their care. Meanwhile, the 2014 School Nutrition Regulations introduced requirements for schools to offer portions of certain foods, but do not specifically require schools to offer a vegan option.
However, Crewe vegan father Aaron Browning, who started the petition, wants this to change and believes schools should be required to provide a balanced, hot vegan meal every day. Aaron’s plight soon caught the attention of the Chair of the Vegan Society’s education network and Britain’s only expert on vegan inclusive education, Laura Chepner.
The petition currently has 13,223 signatures, but the government will not consider debating the issue in Parliament unless it surpasses 100,000 signatures.
Since signing it herself, Laura has made it her mission to take the petition to key policymakers and government officials. She has written letters and emails to 100+ vegan brands, manufacturers, corporations, MPs, charities, influencers and celebrities asking them to sign them and then share them on the 1st of every month for the next 4 months. So far Animal Justice Project, RISE, Live!, Plant Based Contract and ProVeg Internationalamong others, have added their names to the list.
Vegan food for kidsa 2022 report by The Vegan Society found that a large number of parents and guardians would welcome more vegan food options in school canteens, while a 2021 survey Good BBC food found that 8% of children are vegan and 15% say they would like to be.
Laura Chepner, Education Chair at The Vegan Society, explains the importance of the petition: “For many years I have been supporting vegan learners and their parents and guardians in educating them to request plant-based meals where previously none existed. Some vegans were catered for, but many others were not and still are not. Considering the public sector duty that all educators have towards their learners, it is shocking that vegan children are still being denied plant-based options in this day and age.”
“The government needs to do more than just burden the education sector to make ‘reasonable decisions’. Educational institutions need to better understand the needs of vegans and their canteen staff should be supported in making the switch to plant-based options in everyday life. Apparently, “every child matters” in an inclusive setting, but if the needs of vegan children are not met, institutions cannot claim to be fully inclusive. So many petitions like this have come and gone over the years, we can’t let them go – this is our chance to make a big difference in the lives of vegan and vegan-curious kids across the country.”
After the petition surpassed 13,000 signatures, the government responded with it Seven paragraph statementand stated that it expects school leaders and governors to “act decently and work with parents to make decisions that meet dietary and cultural needs, including veganism.”
It goes on to say that while it “recognises the importance of plant-based foods from a cultural and environmental perspective…meat must be served three or more days per week and, in addition, schools may offer a meal with a vegan protein source each day if they do so.” wish.”
The Vegan Society firmly believes that vegan options should be mandatory in 2022, not optional. To add your name to the petition, just click here: Demand schools provide a vegan meal every day – petitions (parliament.uk). Petition ends on August 17, 2022. After 10,000 signatures, petitions will receive a government response. After 100,000 signatures, petitions are examined for debate in Parliament.