Animal Rights/Vegan Activists' Strategies Articles

Vegan-Inclusive Education: An Interview with Ruth Jenkins

From PHAIR Society
[The Society for the Psychology of Human-Animal Intergroup Relations]
February 2023

Even once schools are convinced morally or legally that vegan inclusion is important, it is still very hard for them to act inclusively if they are not aware of the challenges faced by vegan pupils.

PHAIR Society

Raising a vegan family can, at times, feel isolating. For me, this becomes particularly apparent when broaching the topic of vegan inclusivity with staff at my children’s school. Thankfully, I discovered Ruth Jenkins at Vegan Inclusive Education, who has created a concise guide for schools, outlining simple steps that can be taken to ensure vegan pupils’ needs are met. Ruth has kindly agreed to discuss her own personal journey towards promoting vegan inclusivity in education, and why there is still so much work to be done before vegan children feel fully supported and safe in schools across the UK.

PHAIR: You set up Vegan-Inclusive Education (VIE) to help support vegan children in schools. Tell us about the origins of VIE, its aims, and why it is such a worthwhile venture.

Ruth: When my son started school I found it really challenging to manage all the issues arising for him as a result of his veganism. With the school refusing to offer vegan lunches, showing him fishing cartoons (fish are his favourite animal), running a chick hatching project, sending him home with books about how to cook meat and eggs… so many different challenges! It felt overwhelming to address them as a parent. I was really mindful that I wanted to create a strong relationship between my son and his school. I was worried that by intervening on each issue I might jeopardise that relationship – being seen as “that annoying vegan parent” – and tarring my son with the same brush. I realised that this is the predicament faced by so many vegan parents, where our children are likely to be the only vegan in the school or classroom.


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