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Why do people hate vegans? They can’t stand the truth.

What makes people so upset about vegans is FEAR. Vegans are unsettling, they live among us, but for one significant exception. Meat may be murder but, to some people, the prospect of life without it is even worse.

GEORGE REYNOLDS: ‘Once a niche interest group parodied in TV shows such as The Simpsons (in which a character describes himself as a “level five vegan” who refuses to eat anything that casts a shadow), in the past two years, vegans have been thrust into the limelight. A philosophy rooted in non-aggression has found itself at the heart of some of the most virulent arguments on social media. In November 2018, Good Morning Britain hosted a debate titled “Do people hate vegans?”; the political website Vox tackled the question in even more direct fashion a week later, asking: “Why do people hate vegans so much?”…

The war on vegans started small. There were flashpoints, some outrageous enough to receive press coverage. There was the episode in which William Sitwell, then editor of Waitrose magazine, resigned after a freelance writer leaked an email exchange in which he joked about “killing vegans one by one”. (Sitwell has since apologised.) There was the PR nightmare faced by Natwest bank when a customer calling to apply for a loan was told by an employee that “all vegans should be punched in the face”. When animal rights protesters stormed into a Brighton Pizza Express in September this year, one diner did exactly that.

A charge commonly laid against vegans is that they relish their status as victims, but research suggests they have earned it. In 2015, a study conducted by Cara C MacInnis and Gordon Hodson and published in the journal Group Processes & Intergroup Relations observed that vegetarians and vegans in western society – and vegans in particular – experience discrimination and bias on a par with other minorities…

Veganism’s opponents outline a host of objections to the lifestyle to justify their hostility. Per a now-familiar joke (Q: How do you know if someone’s vegan? A: Don’t worry, they’ll tell you), vegans are portrayed as preachy and sanctimonious, a characteristic that rankled among MacInnis and Hodson’s respondents in particular, who viewed “vegetarians/vegans more negatively when their motivations concern social justice rather than personal health”…

Veganism, of course, is rooted in social justice – a detail that has faded from view as it has gone mainstream. But even in its dilute 21st-century form, veganism remains confrontational: it casts people’s dietary choices in harsh relief, and people are by nature defensive. In countries where meat is prohibitively expensive for many, people are sometimes vegetarian or vegan by necessity; in the affluent west, not eating meat is an active choice. This makes it a rejection of a lifestyle and a rebuke to the majority’s values…

And yet none of this really gets to the heart of what it is about vegans that makes people so upset. Calling them humourless or militant, sanctimonious or annoying or hypocrites – all of these terms are just smokescreens for what it is that people really feel, which is fear. Vegans are unsettling and uncanny: they live among us, speak like us, behave like us – but for one significant exception. Meat may be murder, but to some people, the prospect of life without it is even worse’. SOURCE…

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