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A UK all-party parliamentary group on vegetarianism and veganism (VegAPPG) has published a new report highlighting cases where non-carnist in care settings have not been treated properly regarding their diets. 

About 10% of UK citizens have dietary requirements because of the beliefs their hold, so when they end up in care homes, they may not be able to keep these requirements as they will no longer have control of their diet. This is particularly concerning in the case of ethical vegans, especially now that ethical veganism has been recognized as a protected philosophical belief under the Equality Act 2010

The inquiry on how care homes treat their residents regarding their beliefs was launched in October 2019. It found that in some cases meat was given to vegetarian residents with dementia, and in others family members were unable to find out what food was given to their relatives under care because the care home did not record this information. 

The report, titled Respect for religious and philosophical beliefs while eating in care, concludes: “This Inquiry by the APPG on Vegetarianism and Veganism reveals examples of the most basic failings in care homes and hospitals when it comes to protecting the human rights of those receiving care. The right to be fed in line with religious or philosophical beliefs is fundamental, and is enshrined in law.”

The report, produced by Vegetarian for Life and the Vegan Society on behalf of VegAPPG,  gives four recommendations:

  1. Amending health and social care legislation formally including the legally recognised concept of philosophical beliefs.
  2. Ensuring that inspectors from care regulatory bodies and care service providers themselves receive clear and easy-to-follow guidance regarding dietary needs relating to beliefs.
  3. Making qualifications mandatory for all staff with direct care duties within care establishments, which should include learning about what vegetarians, vegans and those following certain religions can and cannot eat.
  4. Posters to be placed in the meal preparation areas of all care establishments outlining the basic rules of what can and cannot be eaten or used in food or drinks prepared for people following a vegetarian or vegan diet

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Vegetarianism and Veganism was formed in December 2016 to debate, discuss, and campaign on the key issues that vegetarians and vegans face. It is chaired by Christina Rees MP and includes Baroness Anita Gale, Darren Jones MP, Seema Malhotra MP, Kerry McCarthy MP, and Henry Smith MP.