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With the recent news that Waitrose food editor, William Sitwell, joked about "capturing" vegans, "killing" them and force feeding them meat, and the following Good Morning Britain debate (with one of the debatees calling those who don't eat meat "irritating"), there had been a heated argument in the media about why people seem to hate vegans just so much. As a vegan myself of two years, I know first hand how people tend to treat vegans in everyday life. And I have to say, people really don't like vegans! I wanted to break down why people don't seem to like us very much in everyday life.
The most common remark I seem to get is that people just "can't live without meat"—like hey, I get it, I ate meat for 17 years of my life, I know it tastes good. But the horrors of the farming industry, the suffering of animals, the environmental impact of animal agriculture, and the effects of meat on my health leave a bad taste in my mouth. Steak would never taste quite so nice when it's been soiled with this information. To the general, meat eating public, they don't like to be reminded of this. This is one of the reasons why people just dislike Vegans so much. Vegans, by not playing into society's rules of meat eating, remind people that some people will refuse to partake, and it makes them question why. Why is something wrong with this meat? Could it be the fact that it's the flesh of a dead animal? There is a reason why we don't call beef "cow meat" and why we don't call pork "pig meat." It reminds us too much that we are consuming a carcass.
I have also found that, as a vegan, people relish in pointing flaws in my ethics. They love to come up with arguments that will make us question what we are doing. The most common of these seem to be "but plants can feel pain too" and "If you were stuck on a desert Island..." What is hilarious is that these people think that this is the first time this week that somebody has graciously informed me that "technically Avocados aren't vegan." Yes, Susan, I know what QI told you but I think I know better. This all feeds into the fact that people want to feel right about their "choices," They don't want to be blamed for eating that baby lamb, so they pick on vegans to make them feel better, discredit their convincing arguments, and shout "Bacon" like it will affect us. FYI, It doesn't. They love to remind us that we need our protein and share Facebook articles about vegans who nearly died. It's all so funny to meat-eaters to mock vegans, to make them feel small in hopes that we still stay quiet and stop showing them slaughterhouse footage. None of this has stopped us yet. It makes me wonder why they keep trying.
When I was a meat eater, I too used to hate vegans. I scoffed at their "Meat is Murder" slogan, called them annoying and ignored them. At the heart of it, I didn't like what they reminded me of. I couldn't bear to see animals slaughtered but I had no issue with going to a butcher's and picking up whole chickens to carve up at home. Many of you will see the similarities. You may not believe that veganism is on the rise (it is), or that vegans will have any real impact (they do), and would scoff at the thought of being vegan. The main thing is, what are vegans really doing to harm people? There is no reason to hate them except that they make people question their eating habits. That is it! And yet, they are characterised as preachy demons who will put you off your dinner. Vegans get a bad reputation, mainly because meat eaters give them one. It's easy to pigeon-hole a group who you don't like. No, not all vegan are the same. No, we're not going to cry over you eating a burger and yes, we are trying our best. The bottom line is: we should stop hating vegans because, one day, out of the blue, you may be one.