The Swiss soldier who was declared unfit for service, because he demanded vegan meals and refused to wear leather, has lost his appeal against the decision.
Breitbart London reported in January on the case of Antoni Da Campo who, as a vegan, refused to eat meat or wear any animal products while in the Swiss army.
Service in the Swiss army is mandatory — the country is famous for having most of its citizens serving in the armed forces with service rifles common in Swiss homes — but 19 year-old Da Campo, a committed vegan, was declared unfit for military service because of his beliefs. A spokesperson for the Swiss army at the time said, “the army sees the efficiency of large units, it cannot adapt to each individual.”
Da Campo appealed the army decision that declared him unfit, but just last week his appeal was dismissed.
“I went before the Appeals Board in Lausanne last week. I was prepared for all scenarios. Maintaining my dual inability does not surprise me really. I do not want to say more because I have to get back to the military doctor to clarify some things and I still await confirmation of the decision in writing,” he told thelocal.ch in an interview.
He emphasised that he still had the opportunity to take the case to the Federal Administrative Court to overturn the decision but noted that he needed time to think and reflect on his options.
The two main factors, or dual inabilities to serve, were Da Campo’s unwillingness to eat meat and wear leather. Though he told media that he was more than willing to bring his own synthetic leather boots and pay for them out of his own pocket, the army simply wasn’t interested.
The exemption from army or civil service may seem like a blessing for some who would rather be able to work, study or simply do something else, but it has a price. Every Swiss citizen that is unable to participate in the mandatory service is given a special tax that they must pay up till they reach the age of 30.
He still has the desire to serve his country and the army saying: “My desire to do military service is very strong. I think that it could bring me to a lot of good things on a social level, certainly physically and psychologically. It would be a new experience on every level, so I was very motivated to do it. Unfortunately because of my personal convictions they have judged me unacceptable.”
In December Da Campo, who is a member of vegan activist group PEA, gave a different story saying that he was pursuing the appeal as an activist for animal rights and fellow vegans saying:
“I am a beginner campaigner. This is a personal fight but I want to lead the vegan cause. If a decision could set a precedent for me, that would be a victory for all those fighting for the rights of animals.”