SACRAMENTO - A Sacramento attorney is suing Sacramento's Main Jail, saying his client's civil and religious rights have been denied since he has been refused a vegan diet. The inmate has been on a hunger strike since March 8, his attorney said.

Sacramento sheriff's officials say Eric Taylor McDavid, 28, is free to discard what he finds inedible, and still get a diet that meets nutritional standards.

McDavid is accused of conspiring to blow up Nimbus Dam and a nearby fish hatchery in Rancho Cordova, and a U.S. Forest Service genetics  lab in Placerville.

Mark Reichel, McDavid's criminal attorney who also filed the federal lawsuit Friday, said his client is suffering.

"He's not doing well, he's disoriented, tired and fatigued," Reichel said. "This really is beneath the dignity of a society that calls itself civilized."

Reichel is suing under a 2000 law that protects the religious rights of institutionalized people.

Reichel said McDavid has been a vegan for three years, and equates his avoidance of animal products to a religion.

"His vegan diet is based upon his strongly, sincerely and firmly held beliefs, which are the same as a religious belief," the lawsuit states.

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