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Thursday, February 15, 2024

Why is veganism so hard to accept?

Vegetarianism and veganism are growing in popularity. In this Spotlight, we ask why these dietary choices can ignite rage in some meat eaters. The answer, it seems, is complex.

News Desk |

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As veganism becomes more popular, we need to ask why some find it so distasteful. Currently, vegetarianism and veganism only account for 5% and 3% of the United States population, respectively.

However, as the public profiles of these diets increase, negative reactions are becoming more visible. The question we are asking today is, “why should one person’s dietary choice make anyone else angry?”

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This question is complicated, and because it involves human emotions, the answer is likely to be multifaceted and vary wildly from case to case. On the surface, anti-vegan outbursts are counterintuitive — by deciding to harm as few living creatures as possible, vegans become a focal point of anger.

Read more: Do vegetarians live longer?

Although I am a meat eater, I have often wondered why a gentler approach to food appears to ruffle so many feathers the fault of zealots? As with any subsection of humanity, some vegans and vegetarians are outspoken and, sometimes, militant. As the old joke goes: “How do you know if someone is a vegan? They’ll tell you.”

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Of course, there are people like this in every section of society. The loudest voices grab a disproportionately large slice of public attention, while the vast majority of vegans simply eat their dinner in silence, not negatively affecting anyone at all.

Read more: Strengthen your bones without consumption of dairy products!

Although the underbelly of vocal vegans certainly plays a part in some people’s negativity toward vegans at large, this is not the whole story. Tobias Leenaert, the author of “How to create a vegan world: A pragmatic approach,” writes: “Sure, at times we can be a little annoying. […] But, this doesn’t really explain the hostility and ridicule that we may encounter at times.”

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For better or worse, the media can shape society’s opinions at large. Understanding whether the media is fueling a behavior or whether a behavior is fueling the media is another issue but knowing how the media responds to vegans is informative.

Read more: Burger King goes… vegan? The meatless Whopper is here

Part of the issue, some argue, is that nonvegans feel that their identity is under attack. When a vegan mentions their dietary choice, a meat eater might infer, perhaps subliminally, that the vegan must consider them a supporter of animal cruelty.

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