18-year old vegan student Fiji Willets won a case against her college after being told she had to complete a module on farm husbandry or she would fail.
Farm Husbandry is the branch of agriculture that focuses on raising animals for meat, dairy, eggs, or other products, and is obviously against Fiji’s beliefs as a vegan of four years.
Ironically, the course on Animal Management was advertised as being “great for people who love animals”.
Fiji asked her college to provide an alternative module for her but was met with the ultimatum that she either complete the module or fail the entire course.
Instead, the 18-year-old approached The Vegan Society with her dilemma and Jeanette Rowley, the Vegan Rights Advocate helped her to submit a formal complaint against the college.
At first, the case was rejected, but when it reached the awarding body for non-compliance with equality law the board intervened and now, five months after the start of Fiji’s claim, her college has agreed to provide a more suitable module for her.
‘I would have been denied a college application’
Speaking in a statement sent to Vegan Food and Living, Fiji explained:
“I couldn’t simply break my way of living purely to pass a course. I am vegan because I love animals and so to go against my beliefs and attend a farm where I would be supporting a farmer would be wrong.
“Without Jeanette’s help, I would have been denied a college education. I just hope I can now be an example to other vegans so they don’t have to go through the ordeal I went through.”
‘A really big win for the vegan movement’
Also commenting on the case, Vegan Rights Advocate at The Vegan Society Jeanette Rowley said:
“This was not only a really big win for Fiji but for the vegan movement in general.
“Vegans in the UK have the protection of human rights and equality law and it is vital that schools and colleges understand that they are under a statutory duty to examine how their educational policies and practices might have a negative impact on vegan students. They must do everything they can to remove any observed disadvantages faced by vegans.”
“I’m delighted Fiji was able to stay at her college and is able to continue working towards her diploma.”
Want to shake up the UK education system?
Read our article on Climate change education in schools: Should it be mandatory?