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There was an interesting ruling in London about veganism last week which said that ethical veganism was a philosophical belief that should be protected against workplace discrimination. This was a landmark decision sought by a vegan who claimed he had been unfairly dismissed from his job because of it. This then brings eating choice into line with religion or sexual preference, and other human behavioral variation.
       I, as a white, heterosexual, meat eating man, understand and can respect totally choices people make because of their beliefs; this seems to be a logical and inevitable conclusion to tolerant civilised society. I think at least. It seems only fitting that everyone is allowed to live life in an open and natural way, just so long as it does not affect others in any way; I should be free to practice my faith together with like minded people, without fear of prejudice.
       However, there is also perhaps a thin line of what which is okay, and that which is not. And we have laws in place to protect us, and presumably reflect what the majority conceive true and right. If a man wishes to marry another man, society sees this right to be acceptable; to marry a child, no.
       Nonetheless, reality soon becomes more complex. If you say God exists, I should be free to say that I believe this is not true; even if I or you find this opinion offensive. If someone believes it wrong to eat meat… It’s a difficult conception. Eating babies? Wrong (presumably). Eating cow? Questionable. What about insects? I know many a vegetarian who swats a fly or stamps on an ant, but what about grasshoppers? Grasshoppers may well be an ethically acceptable food choice of the future. And then of course vegetables are also living organisms; unquestionably plants also thrive and suffer.
      Obviously the real problem arises in the work place. When my beliefs, no matter how commendable they might be, interfere with my job. A man taking advantage of his position for sexual advantage is obviously wrong. A cook refusing to add salt, because it causes high blood pressure; commendable? Open to doubt at least. A barman telling clients about the evils of drink, is questionable certainly. A motorbike courier wanting to wear a turban rather than a helmet? Dreadlocks? A supermarket checkout teller refusing to handle non halal meat? A bank teller refusing to handle five and ten pound notes [since they contain tallow (a hard fatty substance made from rendered animal fat)] on account of his being vegan? Tolerance is undoubtedly key, but perhaps ones beliefs also make you unsuitable for certain positions.

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