The new group, the Ministry of Defense (MOD) Vegan and Vegetarian Network, has called for vegan uniforms to be available to soldiers across the UK. The group has proposed that soldiers wear vegetarian footwear, as the standard military boots are still made using leather.

In 2019, a helicopter technician refused to wear leather boots, which prompted the Royal Air Force to consider amending its military dress policy. The vegetarian boots will offer the same look, support, and wear as their leather counterparts.

The MOD group attempts to make new policies within the British Army to encourage members to try veganism and vegetarianism and allow already vegan/vegetarian Armed Forces to maintain their chosen diet while in service. They work across three services to support and educate personnel with their ideas and proposed policies.

The group said, “There are many reasons people choose to be Vegan or Vegetarian, whether it be to benefit humans and the environment; out of respect for animals as sentient beings; for ethic morals against abuse of animals; religious beliefs; or health and personal preferences.  Avoidance of certain methods and seeking animal-free alternatives enable individuals to adopt such beliefs.”

Founding Network Member Tom said, “I went vegan primarily for ethical reasons, but I soon realised the huge environmental benefits that going vegan has, which is now just as important to me.”

Another founding member, Ben, reflected on how he felt veganism was out of reach for the Royal Air Forces.

“I’ve always loved animals, but since joining the RAF many years ago, I just never thought it would be possible to be vegan in the military, especially when on deployment. But times have changes and now it’s so much easier.”

Ben also is credited with forming the world’s first Vegan Rugby Club, the Green Gazelles. They were recently featured on the news where an English Comedian cooked the team a tasty vegan meal.

A campaign titled Army EATS was introduced last year and researched what soldiers preferred to eat for lunch while in transit. As a result, the group began to put more vegetarian items on their menu and encourage healthy eating throughout the military.

The first Annual General Meeting is scheduled for April 2022, where they will promote and celebrate the new Network. The group plans other events like health and wellbeing fairs, speakers, and visits throughout the military.

It is an exciting time for vegan and vegetarian soldiers and personnel who are already following these lifestyles.

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