More than half a million vegans in the UK will be made exempt if companies introduce compulsory vaccination rules.
According to an employment tribunal last year, ethical veganism is a philosophical belief and therefore protected by the law.
Some ethical vegans may disagree with vaccinations on the basis that they will have been tested on animals.
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This means employers would risk legal action if they order staff to be vaccinated.
On Thursday, July 29, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab hinted vaccinations could be made compulsory in the workplace.
He said that so-called “jabs for jobs” rules – which have been adopted by several major US companies including Google and Facebook – were “smart policy.”
What is veganism?
Veganism is currently defined as the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet, and an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of animals.
Veganism is becoming increasingly popular, in the past years a wealth of vegan restaurants have appeared all over the UK.
Research involving animals has been essential to our survival during epidemics and pandemics caused by infectious diseases.
Smallpox and polio have been eradicated following the success of the smallpox and polio vaccines, which both used intensive research on its effects on animals.
The Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine which was approved by the UK’s medicine board involved animal trials in ferrets and pigs at the Public Health England (PHE) laboratories.
Despite this, Vegan society has encouraged people to take the vaccine.
Whilst the actual doses of vaccine available in the UK contain no ingredients obtained from animals, some vegans who object to the exploitation of animals believe the use of animal testing in the development infringes upon their beliefs.
The protection from the employment tribunal means that vegans forced to get the vaccine could mount a claim of constructive dismissal.
Who else could be exempt?
Human rights laws could also mean other people in protected categories are likely to be exempt.
These include religious groups as well as people with certain disabilities or medical conditions.
Currently in the UK, the only jobs that require employees to be fully vaccinated are those in care homes.