For some, exclusion from compulsory military service would be great news. For 19-year-old Antoni Da Campo from Valais in Switzerland it came as a huge disappointment. He sees Military service as something that brings valuable experience. Unfortunately for him he was declared unfit for service. Why? Because he is a vegan and won’t eat meat or wear boots made from leather.
He decided one year ago to stop consuming all animal-based products, including wearing anything made from leather. For the Swiss army his refusal to wear leather boots was the last straw. After initially being accepted, despite his strict diet, his eligibility was withdrawn when he refused to put on his leather Swiss army boots.
“The army requires the effective functioning of large teams, it cannot adapt to every individual” explained an army logistics spokesperson to the newspaper 24 heures. Some accommodation of food intolerances (lactose or gluten) or religious beliefs (pork) are possible but not the complete upheaval of the programme. “Like vegetarians these people can leave some foods out and compensate with others”.
On the other hand if the diet is too strict the individual is deemed unfit. If those interested are not able to make some compromises they forfeit their chance. The same principle applies to civil service.
Antoni Da Campo is not happy with this conclusion and intends to fight the decision in court. He even hopes to set a new precedent and advance the cause of those fighting for animal rights in Switzerland.