The Vegan Society is campaigning for the Best Start voucher scheme in Scotland to be more inclusive of vegans.
Plans for the scheme, to be launched this summer by NHS Scotland, will allow some pregnant women and parents of young children to claim free vouchers to spend on milk, fruit and vegetables.
But the vouchers cannot be used for non-dairy milk which will disadvantage vegans.
Vegans hold ethical convictions that affect every aspect of their lives from the food they consume and the clothes they buy, to the avoidance of certain forms of entertainment that use animals.
The Vegan Society has written a formal letter to NHS Scotland about its scheme. The letter asks NHS Scotland to remove the restriction on the purchase of plant milk and ensure that any supplement included in the scheme contains a vegan-friendly source of vitamin D.
Dr Jeanette Rowley, Vegan Rights Advocate at The Vegan Society said:
The aim of the new Best Start voucher scheme is to support healthy eating. The Scottish Government has already acknowledged the nutritional benefits of plant milk, and has no lawful grounds to restrict the purchase of milk to cow milk only.
This proposed restriction unfairly disadvantages vegans and may constitute discrimination under equality law.
Heather Russell, Dietitian at The Vegan Society, added:
It is important for everyone to eat calcium-rich foods daily and fortified plant milk plays an important role in vegan nutrition.
In fact, the UK’s Eatwell Guide recognises that fortified plant milk represents a valuable alternative to cow’s milk. Calcium content is comparable and the soya variety is similar to cow’s milk in terms of protein quantity and quality.
You can find out more about The Vegan Society and download their free VeGuide app here
Photo: The Vegan Society