Now the RAF has to offer pilots VEGAN boots!November 2, 2019
Now the RAF has to offer pilots VEGAN boots! Top brass ordered to amend military dress policy after helicopter technician objects to leather safety boots
- A technician at 7 Squadron RAF had a dispute with Ministry of Defence
- They refused to wear leather safety boots and wanted vegan clothing instead
- New guidelines ensure requests are made on ‘deeply philosophical beliefs’
- Airman says it is ‘noble’ but asks if the devotion is ‘compatible with military life’
- MoD said the Armed Forces are not concerned about ‘vegan-compliant clothing’
They may be ordered to rain death and destruction upon the enemy. But RAF aircrew who are vegan could soon carry out their duties with a clear conscience – knowing their uniforms are free of leather or wool.
Top brass have been ordered to amend military policy on dress after a landmark request from a helicopter technician who objected to leather safety boots.
Following the test case, any RAF personnel who refuse standard service issue clothing will be provided with vegan boots, shoes, berets, trousers, jumpers and socks where possible. The Army and Royal Navy could be forced to follow suit.
A technician at 7 Squadron RAF had a dispute with Ministry of Defence after refusing to weather leather safety boots. They instead wanted dress standards to be amended so they appease vegans (file image of The Earl of Wessex attended The Air Combat Power Day at RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire)
Tens of thousands of military personnel currently wear berets made of wool and leather as well as leather boots, while other clothing items worn on parades such as trousers and jumpers are also woollen.
The dispute between the technician at 7 Squadron RAF and the Ministry of Defence has resulted in dress standards being amended to appease vegans – presently just 1.6 per cent of the UK population.
The new guidelines, which include grilling all applicants for vegan clothing to ensure requests are based on deeply held ‘philosophical beliefs’, are contained in an internal memo obtained by the MoS.
Two Royal Air Force Chinook CH-47 helicopters from 27 Sqn, RAF Odiham are pictured in 2015. The new guidelines for RAF aircrew will include grilling all applicants for vegan clothing to ensure requests are based on deeply held ‘philosophical beliefs’ but this has divided aircrews at 7 Squadron (file image)
The request by the technician has divided aircrews at 7 Squadron. The unit, which is based at RAF Odiham, Hampshire, flies Chinook CH-47 transport helicopters around the world – including on covert missions by British Special Forces against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.
One airman said: ‘This is a noble stand but is such a fanatical devotion to veganism compatible with military life? I suppose it is when we’re based in the UK and we can choose what we eat and wear but on operations there must surely be some compromises.
The aircrew finish their final operational sortie of the Tornado GR4. One airman has said the MoD should not be expected to provide vegan-friendly clothing or food. They said especially if they have been ‘deployed at short notice to a very hot or cold climate where managing body temperature is the priority’
‘And I don’t think the MoD should be expected to provide vegan-friendly clothing or food if we’ve been deployed at short notice to a very hot or cold climate where managing body temperature is the priority.’
According to the Vegan Society, the number of UK vegans has doubled since 2016, although the figure is still only 600,000, or 1.6 per cent of the population. But the MoD is also aware of the huge rise in the popularity of veganism among the next generation – up to ten per cent of teenagers are vegans.
Last night the MoD said: ‘Vegan dietary options are available for almost all personnel and the Armed Forces have not raised concerns over provision of vegan-compliant clothing for service personnel.’
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