Hero: Vegan Army Recruit Who Was Dismissed for Refusing to Wear Leather Boots

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We’ve given this Swiss teenager a Hero to Animals Award for sticking to his compassionate principles in the face of opposition from the military.

Anthoni do Campo

Nineteen-year-old Antoni Da Campo went vegan because he believes that animals shouldn’t be mutilated, killed and dismembered for a sandwich or a pair of shoes. But when he signed up to join the Swiss Army, he found that the institution was less than understanding – in fact, he was declared unfit for service because of his preference for plant-based meals and vegan footwear.

Rather than compromising his principles, Antoni is preparing to fight for his right to make kind choices in court. In recognition of his determination and commitment to advancing animal rights in Switzerland, we’ve just given him a Hero to Animals Award.

Soldiers who follow vegan lifestyles are likely to enjoy a reduced risk of developing heart disease, strokes, diabetes, cancer and obesity. And as famous vegan athletes such as David Haye and Patrik Baboumian demonstrate, they can be every bit as strong as their meat-eating counterparts (if not stronger!). Of course, they’re also sparing animals the horrors of castration, branding, tail-docking, dehorning and violent slaughter.

We reckon the Swiss Army should take a leaf out of the Israel Defence Forces’ book by taking steps to accommodate vegan service members and providing lentil burgers, grain salads, soy-based products and fresh vegetables in their mess halls as well as non-leather boots for vegan soldiers. Record numbers of young people are choosing vegan lifestyles, and these compassionate recruits should not have to choose between defending their country and helping animals.


  • Liz Graham commented on February 3, 2016 at 11:44 am

    I think he is too kind and compassionate to be in the army and ultimately if he is at war may have to kill a human being. I think he should choose s a career using his caring values.

    • Debra Carr commented on February 4, 2016 at 4:53 pm

      But they actually chose to be there and risk their lives.

    • June commented on February 8, 2016 at 11:36 am

      I have to agree, Antoni is quite right to stand by his principles and I applaud him for his courage. But I don’t see how the view that it is wrong to kill animals, is compatible with being a soldier whose job is to kill people. Human beings are animals too!

      • tyler bates commented on March 1, 2016 at 1:22 am

        yes human beings are animals and animals kill not just for food but for territory,mating rights, or just because humans are just smart animals. And thats the way it is.

    • Mary commented on February 14, 2016 at 3:09 pm

      Remember this is Switzerland 😉
      Army is more a tradition than a “war maker” in our country.
      We use army to protect people when natural disasters appear, to rebuilt what was damage, not often to make war 😉

  • Nicholas Tuck commented on February 3, 2016 at 12:42 pm

    Reluctantly, I have to agree with Liz, there may be moments where soldiers have to override their compassion with the brutal, mechanical act of killing. I wish this was not so, but I can’t see how this can squared up with vegan beliefs, such was those held by Antoni (and myself).

  • Madeleine jennings commented on February 3, 2016 at 5:50 pm

    Unfortunately I have to agree with the army on the matter of wearing Les her boots.
    I don’t think a soldier could wear plastic or rubber boots for combat.
    I can’t see an issue with the meals though..
    I’m sure there is more to this story than we are hearing

    • Ruhee commented on February 8, 2016 at 9:09 am

      Of course there are non leather alternatives! My son is in the army cadets and has non leather army boots – they are perfectly fine!

    • LA commented on February 13, 2016 at 9:43 pm

      Non-leather does not mean plastic or rubber!

  • Sandy Johnson commented on February 4, 2016 at 12:05 am

    A hero for animals and for mankind!! Thank you for standing up for animals❤️

  • Susy commented on February 4, 2016 at 7:24 am

    He doesn’t belong to army forces.. he doesn’t belong to “hurting lives” world..

  • dorothy murray commented on February 4, 2016 at 7:28 am

    This young man is very brave to stand up for his beliefs and the army should let him back in to wear faux leather, what does it matter, I wish him good luck and Karma will be with him.

    • Michael Smith commented on February 7, 2016 at 4:01 pm

      Here here, I applaud his bravery and his beliefs, and if his beliefs conflict with the demands of war, then war is the problem.
      Maybe we should take serious steps to avoid war.

      • tyler bates commented on March 1, 2016 at 1:23 am

        thatll never happen…..

  • Susy commented on February 4, 2016 at 7:31 am

    I was dismissed from the Hudson’s Bay Company because I found out about “Animal testing” in the cosmetics companies I was promoting and selling there.. and I told it to a co-worker when she asked me why I wanted to be moved to other department..
    I asked the manager to be moved to other department and I was fired because “My beliefs” (as the cosmetics department manager told me: “You can have your own beliefs but The Bay will be always The Bay!!”), plus they said that I should never ever tell anybody about animal testing because the sales of cosmetics in The Bay is the highest money amount coming in the store.. I was shocked with “their heart”..

    • wendy williams commented on February 7, 2016 at 6:40 pm

      money is always the top priority they don’t care about the pain and suffering these poor animals go through every day good for you for standing up to what you believe your better off out of there

  • Vicky C commented on February 6, 2016 at 5:00 pm

    Good for him, I hope he does bring compassion and intelligence to his role and act as a peacekeeper against those who terrorise people

  • Paul Brown commented on February 7, 2016 at 12:06 pm

    He would not choose the army as a career since in Switzerland all young men have to do compulsory army service at 18.

  • Nia Owen commented on February 7, 2016 at 3:35 pm

    I’m vegetarian and have refused to wear leather for years. My work means I need to wear decent shoes as I am always running around on long shifts as a nurse. I buy my shoes from Wills and also vegetarian shoes.com they are a bit pricey but worth every penny when you see the cruelty inflicted on animals to make shoes. I wish Antoni all the best and hope he succeeds. Ludicrous that it has even come to this!!!

  • Giovanna Tarquinio commented on February 7, 2016 at 5:43 pm

    An Hero for animals! I wish that others soldiers follow him and became vegan like him and me

    • tyler bates commented on March 1, 2016 at 1:27 am

      well where i live we can’t grow crops that well so we eat salmon,moose, deer and really what ever we can that we can produce instead of fly in. so as muh as id love to be vegan ill stick with life.

  • Mike commented on February 7, 2016 at 10:56 pm

    Does anyone know of any suppliers of said Vegan tactical boots? I’ve searched in vain for a pair that will meet standards required for my job.

    • Ruby commented on February 8, 2016 at 2:24 pm

      Hi Mike. We have this list of vegan fashion brands, many of which sell men’s shoes and boots:
      If your looking for a specific product, perhaps others can comment and help!
      Thank you!

  • Dee commented on February 9, 2016 at 9:59 am

    I disagree with everyone who thinks he is “too caring” to be in the army just because of his vegan beliefs – it doesn’t mean he is too soft to do the job. Caring about animals doesn’t make me a more caring person and doesn’t make me care more about people (if anything it probably makes me care less given the fact humans are responsible for all the animal suffering). Good for him for sticking by his beliefs

    • tyler bates commented on March 1, 2016 at 1:25 am

      Its not about him being caring its about his stingency I think that it is wrong to make animals suffer but refusing to wear leather boots to serve you country? eh

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