NURSERIES are unlawfully discriminating against vegan children by offering only cows’ milk for free, campaigners claim.
They should be providing plant-based milks, such as oat and soya, The Vegan Society says.
The Vegan Society has warned the issue could be taken to court unless the Government agrees to fund plant-based milks[/caption]
It warned the dispute could end up in court unless the Government agrees to fund the alternatives.
The society has written to Health Secretary Matt Hancock demanding he changes the scheme by which under-fives receive free milk every day.
Spokesman Mark Banahan said: “Vegan children are unfairly treated.
“They often miss out or have to rely on parents to provide their own plant milk, something that is not always possible for low-income families and causes a great deal of inconvenience.”
The society says dozens of parents have complained that The Nursery Milk Scheme is unfair.
‘SINCERE ETHICAL CONVICTIONS’
The programme, which began in the 1940s, pays for nurseries to provide children with a third of a pint a day to help boost their calcium intake.
But it stipulates the milk must be from cows.
In its letter, the charity has given Mr Hancock 14 days to take action.
It says vegans hold “sincere ethical convictions” and are protected in Britain by human rights and equality law.
The letter warns him: “Failure to do so will result in us considering our legal options.”
Jeanette Rowley, The Vegan Society’s legal adviser, said the law needed reforming to recognise scientific evidence on nutrition and a growing consumer trend away from dairy products.
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She said the Government was failing in its duty of care by limiting choice to cows’ milk.
One in three people regularly buys plant milks and nearly one in five households avoids dairy in some way, research shows.
The Department of Health said it was yet to receive the society’s letter and would not comment until it arrived.
The society has written to Health Secretary Matt Hancock and demanded he changes the free milk scheme[/caption]
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