The first hearing of a civil lawsuit against a charter school for violating the fundamental rights of two vegan schoolchildren will begin on April 30 in a court in Donosti, Basque Country. This lawsuit was filed in April 2023 by Noelia Estraviz, on behalf of her two youngest daughters. This mother is also the founder and president of the vegan rights organization FEUMVE (Familias Unidas por un Menú Escolar Veganno) which fights for the rights of vegan children to have vegan options in Spain’s canteens.

The school her daughters attended was a charter school, privately run but publicly funded. That is why the lawsuit has to be through civil channels. On the other hand, the Department of Education of the Basque Government still does not plan to include a vegan menu in public schools in the Basque Country despite the request of the families of vegan students who have had the support of all parties in the Basque Parliament. There are five types of menus in Basque public school canteens: the basic menu, the pig-free menu, the Lacto-ovo vegetarian menu, the Lacto-ovo vegetarian menu with fish, and those adapted to diets with special nutritional needs, such as intolerances, allergies, or diets for pathologies with specific dietary treatment. However, there are no vegan menus, as the Department of Education claims that they are menus with a B12 deficit. Contradicting the favourable reports made by professionals of the Osakidetza public health system. Against this measure, many families have filed appeals through administrative channels and half a year later, they have not received a response.

In an Instagram post on February 6, 2024, FEUME wrote: ” Lawsuit for violation of fundamental rights to two vegan minors. The trial will take place on April 30 in the courts of San Sebastian. We need your support, both informative, moral and financial. It’s a very expensive process. This lawsuit could mark a before and after in the rights of all vegans. No one deserves to be discriminated against because of their ethical principles. Schools should set an example of inclusion and not stigmatize those who are different. Because as we’ve seen, this can attract bullying.”

Attorney Lola Garcia said at the time the lawsuit was filed: “When a minor is denied the vegan school menu, two fundamental rights are actually being violated, the fundamental right to freedom of belief… and the right to freedom of expression.”

Jordi Casamitjana
“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.