Scottish schools set to serve up vegan meals after court battle

Embargoed to 0001 Monday February 25 File photo dated 03/12/03 showing primary school pupils during a lesson. Schoolchildren as young as four will be taught about relationships, keeping safe on the internet and looking after their own mental health as part of dedicated lessons in classrooms from next year, under new guidelines announced by the Government.
Schools in Scotland are set to serve up vegan meals after a legal challenge from campaigners. Stock image (PA)

Schools in Scotland are serving up vegan meals after a humans rights challenge by campaigners.

The decision comes after a request from a parent in East Renfrewshire which was refused by the council.

But the authority made a U-turn on the decision after campaign group Go Vegan World worked with the parents to challenge the decision citing human rights laws.

Now the council has produced a range of choices that cater to vegans and confirmed it is available on request to pupils throughout the region.

Close up shots of the cook's hands, finely slicing carrots, leeks and beans for a Korean dish.
A chef prepares fresh vegetables. Linda McCartney now claims one in 10 school children refuse to eat meat. Stock image. (Getty)

It follows a similar case in Glasgow City Council when a couple challenged their failure to provide a full vegan menu for their daughter in nursery.

The council then produced a three-week vegan menu and confirmed that this is now available on request throughout the Glasgow area, in schools and nurseries.

Barbara Bolton, Go Vegan World's legal representative, said: "Vegans have the same protections as those who hold religious beliefs.

"They have the right to live according to their moral conviction that it is wrong to use and kill other animals and they must not be discriminated against.

"We are working to raise awareness among vegans so they have the information they need to challenge rights breaches, whether that be a failure to provide suitable food in school, hospital or prison, difficulties at work, or challenging indoctrination in school through teaching in a way that conflicts with the vegan philosophy.

"We are assisting vegans with rights-based challenges whenever we can."

A survey from vegetarian food producer Linda McCartney has claimed 10% of children aged eight to 13, now identify as a vegetarian or vegan, and 44% are trying to eat less meat and dairy.

Different types of dairy products on wooden background
A poll claims 44% of children are trying to eat less meat and dairy. Stock image. (Getty)

But as a result, almost a quarter (23%) of youngsters claim they regularly go hungry at school, because of the lack of vegetarian and vegan options on the dinner menu.

And even worse 34% of young people say if they can’t find a suitable meal they resort to buying unhealthy snacks from vending machines.

Currently, most schools in Scotland do not offer any clearly labelled vegan options for pupils on their standard menus.

A spokesperson for East Renfrewshire Council confirmed they had "worked closely" with parents to ensure a suitable solution was reached.

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They added: "We provide more than 11,000 meals every day across all our schools and cater for a wide range of dietary requirements, including allergen free, kosher, halal, celiac and gluten-free options.

"Any parent or carer who requests a meal to meet the needs of a special diet, which includes vegan meals, will be catered for to ensure we continue to offer a wide-ranging menu which is inclusive for all."

A Scottish Government spokesman said: "It is for councils to consider the food on offer and we expect them to make reasonable efforts to accommodate dietary requirements so it is welcome to see these options being made available to pupils."

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