Veganism in Religious Education

Spirited Arts Competition 2024

This academic year marks the 20ᵗʰ Anniversary of NATRE’s Spirited Arts Competition! Since 2004 Spirited Arts has attracted over 450,000 entrants. Annually, they receive an average of over 25,000 entries for judging. Hundreds of UK schools get involved and they get entries from as far afield as Hong Kong, USA, Australia, Thailand and Bahrain.

Following the amazing success of our 2023 theme ‘All God’s Creature’s’, Veganism in Education (VinE) and the Animal Interfaith Alliance (AIA) are sponsoring another animal theme – ‘Why do Animals Matter’ The Spirited Arts Competition provides children with the opportunity to critically think about our relationship with animals and explore our RE Today resources.  We are excited to announce entries for 2024 are now open!

Spirited Arts competition 2024

This theme invites creativity and critical thinking around the important issue of how we humans value and act towards other animals. Use of religious stories, texts and ideas is strongly encouraged! Religions and ethical belief systems promote kindness and compassion, and call upon people to actively avoid doing harm… the Golden Rule demands that we treat others how we would wish to be treated. But do these moral codes extend to animals as well as other humans? Can they? Should they? Do some animals matter more than others? Engaging with this theme will encourage a search for wisdom in texts, stories, traditions and practices from the world’s religions and philosophies. Students will reflect and think with care about humanity’s relationship with the other animals who share the earth with us. Younger children may express the spirituality of their love for animals. Older students may grapple with diverse opinions on animal welfare and rights.

Our RE Today Resources and Golden Rule song support engagement with this theme.

NATRE welcomes entries in (almost!) any art form, including:

  • Art (painting, drawing, sketching etc)
  • Poetry
  • Photography
  • Dance
  • Music
  • Drama
  • Sculpture

The competition runs from the beginning of the school year to 31 July 2024
Full details can be found on NATRE’s website here.

Veganism In Religious Education

We’ll be working together with the Animal Interfaith Alliance to provide children and young people with engaging opportunities to explore ethical veganism as a worldview/philosophical conviction in Religious Education. We endeavour to work across all four nations of the UK and beyond. It is notable that in Scotland the equivalent of Religious Education is Religious and Moral Education, and in Wales the subject will soon be called Religion, Values and Ethics.

The AIA is a highly regarded organisation which brings together diverse faith-based animal advocacy organisations to be a united voice for animals. Its Founder and CEO, Barbara Gardner, is author of The Compassionate Animal: an Interfaith Guide to the Extended Circle of Compassion (Animal Books & Media 2013). Among AIA’s esteemed members and Patrons, is its President, Dr Richard D. Ryder (Ethicist).  He became a key figure in the animal rights revival of the 1970’s, coining the word ‘speciesism’ and playing a leading role in its rise to international and political recognition.

VinE is delighted to play a part in achieving AIA’s Vision of ‘a peaceful world where people of all faiths and none work together to treat animals with respect and compassion.’

As part of our first initiative, we’re working with RE Today to produce learning resources for inclusion in Religious Education. Thanks to all who participated in the survey which will help shape this.

The new guidance and legislative summary for Religion, Values and Ethics in Wales has been published.  The legislative summary specifically mentions veganism as a recognised philosophical conviction.  VinE will be advocating for the right of vegans to sit on Standing Advisory Councils and will be involved in encouraging and recruiting vegan representatives.

VinE has been working with AIA to support RE Today in creating materials for spiritual and moral education as part of the school curriculum, encouraging children to be compassionate towards animals.

Veganism in Education (VinE) has commissioned RE Today to do this work.

The Materials: The materials highlight how all the main religions teach us to be compassionate towards animals – to practice ahimsa (non-harming) towards them and to extend the Golden Rule to them (to do to others as we would wish others to do to us).

The materials explore Ethical Veganism as a worldview and a philosophical conviction. In the UK, veganism is a protected characteristic and a protected philosophical belief under the Equality Act 2010, so we believe that vegan children should have their beliefs included in the education system and not feel excluded by it. Religious Education is required to critically explore worldviews as well as traditional religions.

The RE teaching resources were launched in January 2023 and are freely available on our website.


If you are an RE teacher or RE lead interested in trying out our innovative resources, you may wish to participate in a survey being conducted by Dr Heather Marshall, senior lecturer and RE PGCE course leader at Edge Hill University.  Thank you for considering this opportunity.

Click to view. The letter is also available in Welsh

Join our VinE community!

Thanks for signing up!