Vegan soldiers ‘struggle’ due to lack of plant-based options in Armed Forces – Totally Vegan Buzz

Vegan soldiers ‘struggle’ due to lack of plant-based options in Armed Forces

Vegan soldiers 'struggle' due to lack of plant-based options in Armed Forces
Image: RMC42 / Shutterstock.com

“Barriers not only make it more difficult for those already following a vegan lifestyle but also have the potential to put off those in the British Forces that are keen to give veganism a go.”

Vegan service members are ‘struggling’ due to the lack of vegan meal options in the Armed Forces.

According to the Vegan Society, it has ‘dealt first-hand’ with complaints from troopers serving across the Army and the RAF – where reportedly the issue is more prevalent.

Serving officers also claim they have to purchase their own ‘vegan leather’ Doc Marten boots because they refuse to wear the commissioned cow-hide clobber.

It is said that while the UK Forces do cater for vegans, servicemen have to contend with much fewer options than those who follow Halal, Kosher and vegetarian diets.

Many troopers have admitted that the lack of options compels many to opt for vegetarianism because cutting out all animal products while serving can get ‘too hard’. 

Paul Kerton – a vegan bodybuilder – having spoken to members of the Forces, said: “The general consensus that I’m hearing is that they are usually well catered for.

“But…it can potentially be more difficult when on manoeuvres so it does sound as though more needs to be done, at least in some circumstances.”

In 2019, the Royal Navy successfully trialled a new range of vegan meals that could be served at sea.

‘Make veganism more accessible’

According to the Vegan Society, it has ‘dealt first-hand’ with complaints from troopers serving across the Army and the RAF – where reportedly the issue is more prevalent.

In 2019, the Royal Navy successfully trialled a new range of vegan meals that could be served at sea.

“’Vegans in the UK, whether they serve in the British Forces or not, have the protection of human rights and equality law,” a Vegan Society spokesperson said.

“And it is vital that employers understand that they are under a statutory duty to examine how their policies and practices might have a negative impact on vegan employees.

“They must do everything they can to remove any observed disadvantages faced by vegans.”

The spokesperson added: “These barriers not only make it more difficult for those already following a vegan lifestyle but also have the potential to put off those in the British Forces that are keen to give veganism a go, particularly at a time when so many are interested in going vegan for animal, health, or environmental issues.

“The Vegan Society would absolutely welcome any kind of positive change that make veganism more accessible in these areas.”

‘Personnel is a priority’

Commenting on the situation, a Ministry of Defence spokesperson said: “The health and wellbeing of our personnel is a priority and individual dietary requirements are catered for where possible.

“As an inclusive employer we are exploring strategies to diversify Operational Ration Pack offerings and clothing options.”

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