A vegan named Antoni Da Campo was discharged from the Swiss army for his refusal to wear leather boots. The 19-year-old has taken his case to court and revealed that the number of vegetarians in the country is growing, stating that the army is not “account[ing] for changes in society.” Army representative Gabriela Zimmer said that “special treatment cannot be given to every recruit for food and clothing.” Another army represenatitve Caspar Zimmerman admitted that Da Campo was not discharged because he was physically unable to serve his mandatory duty, but rather because “the army operates from the efficiency of large groups, it cannot adapt itself to each individual.” Had this occurred in Canada, Da Campo would have standing in court with a claim of discrimination based on “creed” due to the recent legislation that expanded the term to include veganism as a belief system. As is the case in many countries, military service is mandatory for of-age males in Switzerland and discharge comes with a hefty fine—namely, that one must relinquish three percent of his income to the military until the age of 30.
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