Lawyer claims that vegans should be legally exempt from making tea because it's "discrimination" to make them handle milk

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A senior lawyer has made headlines over the weekend after suggesting that vegan office staff should be exempt from making collective cups of tea if it would require them to handle milk. Alex Monaco, who has made a name for himself for his controversial belief that veganism should be a protected characteristic akin to religion or sexuality, supported his statement by pointing to the Equality Act of 2010, and is currently offering free consultations to vegans who feel that they may be suffering undue abuse as a result of their beliefs.

In an interview with The Sun newspaper, Monaco compared plant-based lifestyles to religious belief, stating, "If you were Jewish or Muslim and told to get a round of bacon sandwiches in, no one would bat an eyelid if you refused. But if you're vegan and refused to buy a pint of milk to make tea because you believe the dairy industry is torturing cows, then you would be laughed out of the kitchen.”

Monaco, who is himself vegan, went on to assert that “vegans (really) do get bullied”, adding, “I was even bullied on a holiday with friends when I couldn't eat anything from the butcher's or pizzeria.” He also revealed that, “Many vegans go to the work canteen and find there is nothing there to eat which is plant-based. Or you'll go on an away day, and you'll find the sandwiches all have butter in them."

Despite his assertions that vegans are suffering due to unwanted proximity to dairy, Monaco is also hopeful about what the future holds for workplace brewing. "The tide is changing now," he said to The Sun, continuing, "It's a movement. If we can get the law changed, people's views may follow on from that." He does, however, seem to forget that no one has ever been physically abused or denied an opportunity for professional development because of their attitude to cream - unlike everything else that’s protected under the Equality Act.

While some of Monaco’s claims might raise a few eyebrows, it’s true that more people than ever are turning towards a plant-based approach to dieting. According to research published by The Vegan Society in 2016, there are an estimated 550,000 vegans in the UK, up 150,000 from 2006. This dramatic rise suggests that the lifestyle choice will only continue to grow in popularity. However, while respecting this growing group’s decision is undoubtedly important, it’s equally important not to get too carried away with its significance. Despite what some may say, being asked to handle a milk carton is not the same as harassment.