The United Kingdom’s The Vegan Society is urging the country’s National Health Service (NHS) to revamp its Healthy Start program to make it inclusive for vegans. Currently, the program provides vouchers to purchase cow’s milk and free supplements containing animal-derived vitamin D. The Healthy Start website specifies that only plain cow’s milk can be purchased, and expressly excludes soymilk and “infant formula that is not based on cow’s milk.” The Vegan Society says the restriction imposed by the NHS on the purchase of plant-based milk and vitamins “unfairly and unreasonably” disadvantages vegans and is discriminatory. It is calling for plant-based milk and vegan-friendly vitamins to be included so parents and children who are vegan are able to claim vouchers to spend on plant-based milk, fruit, and vegetables. “The convictions of vegans come within the protection of the law and, on the face of it, it appears that the Healthy Start voucher scheme could be inadvertently discriminatory,” the Vegan Society said in a letter to the NHS. More than half of UK adults are now purchasing vegan products, and the number of full-time vegans has grown exponentially in the last decade, according to the Vegan Society.
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