A new guide by The Vegan Society offers advice on being vegan in prison. The booklet outlines the rights of vegan inmates, how to meet dietary requirements, and what prison staff should know about plant-based and animal-free living.
The new guidelines are part of a campaign by the society titled “Catering for Everyone” which promotes the reworking of public sector systems to be more inclusive.
In the guide, The Vegan Society highlights that vegans in the UK are “protected under human rights and equality law.” It explains, “this means that prisons have an obligation to ensure that they do not interfere with a vegan’s right to freedom of conscience, and a responsibility under the Equality Act 2010 to avoid any discrimination on the grounds of veganism.”
The booklet also outlines the definition of veganism and why people choose to follow the lifestyle, noting the environmental, health, and ethical benefits of following a plant-based diet.
The guide includes a letter template to help inmates write to their institutions and request plant-based options in cafeterias.
The guide also includes menu planning tips to help facilities understand which plant-based foods are the most nutritious. Some suggestions even include financial considerations, for instance, beans, lentils, and peas can be “economical” choices for protein. Additionally, it suggests purchasing linseed in bulk and divvying up portions as needed as a money-saving way of getting Omega-3 fats.
While the prison guidelines were created with vegans in mind, it notes that vegan food can be consumed by vegans, vegetarians, and meat-eaters alike and also caters to those with allergies to milk or eggs. It goes on to add that plant-based catering also lightens up a facility’s environmental impact. Further, the guide notes that vegan food has health benefits. It highlights that veg-based recipes are often rich in fiber, low in saturated fat, and always cholesterol-free.
Further, sections of the booklet are addressed to prison staff. The staff-specific guidelines point out that some clothing, such as leather footwear, is made from animals and is therefore unsuitable for vegans. It adds that vegan prisoners should not be forced to work on prison farms, suggesting that alternative work is offered instead. However, it does state, that while medication in the UK is required by law to be tested on animals, it “does not recommend that vegans abstain from taking prescribed medications.”
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