You’d think people would be happy someone is doing something for the animals, but apparently not.
I have been vegan for over a year now. Before that, I was your typical meat eater. I was probably even a little militant about it. Sure in my head, we needed to eat meat, and it was our right to do so. Like so many others, I believed meat was an integral part of our diet, and without it, we would wither away and die. But then I started to have doubts, and so I learnt more and educated myself.
It has mostly been an incredible journey, or rather journey is the wrong word. Adventure, perhaps. That is how it feels to me — like an adventure.
I have always been a foodie. When I was a child, I loved to cook and create my own things for people to eat. I even went on to train in the food and hospitality industry, and I am a qualified baker. I love to cook, I love to bake, and I love to create anything with food. It is one of those indulgent pleasures I have always allowed myself.
At home, it is not surprising; I am the primary cook. There is nothing like making a meal for the family from scratch and then watching everyone sit down to enjoy it.
I had been reading a lot about food and was searching for a new recipe for porridge. I came across a couple on YouTube, called That Vegan Couple and after watching their recipe, I watched other videos of theirs and got interested in veganism.
Announcing I was Vegan, was Like Announcing I had Some Disease
Aside from those who needed to know, such as my wife, I didn’t tell anyone I had gone vegan. It was none of their business really. I cook for myself; I buy the food for the week and so aside from those living with me, it didn’t matter. It only mattered when one of the grandsons had a birthday, and we were invited round for a party, which involved a buffet.
I considered not saying anything. Maybe it would be easier that way, but then I thought, they’re going to think I’m rude not eating what they have laid out, and also, perhaps it would be mean of me to allow them to prepare me food I wasn’t going to eat. So I let the stepdaughter know, not to worry about food for me, as I had switched to a vegan lifestyle and didn’t want to put her out. I really wasn’t bothered if she catered for me — it as about seeing the little boy and enjoying his birthday.
But she did cook some food for us. By this time, my wife had gone vegan too, as had my eldest son and his family. The stepdaughter bought us vegan burgers and made sure there were plenty of vegan snacks. It was very nice of her. We thanked her for her efforts, and I was pleasantly surprised my new way of life had been accepted.
At Least I Thought So
I began to hear whisperings in the family about our sudden change to veganism. Not too many nice comments. I was in a restaurant once with the family, and we ordered our food, and I ordered a vegan dish. One of the family members, very loudly said, oh for god sake. I was taken back by this. One, it was me eating it, so I wasn’t sure what the problem was. Two, why does my plate of curried vegetables offend someone? They still stuck into their dish of cooked meat and vegetables, and I never said a word about it.
When Christmas came around, I was very excited to try new vegan Christmas recipes. This is me because I love cooking so much. I get excited when I can try new things. I had a whole menu planned out so that Christmas dinner stayed as close to traditional as possible. Only, we were informed certain family members weren’t coming to Christmas dinner because of dietary differences. I honestly floored me.
I Find Vegan Hatred Everywhere
The real eye-opener with going vegan is the way you suddenly end up on everyone’s hate list. It is as if not eating a dead animal is something terrible for you to do. I once asked someone why they hate vegans and vegetarians, and they said it is because they always rub it in your face and get at meat-eaters for eating meat.
I am finding the opposite to be true. I get sent pictures of raw meat and asked questions like wouldn’t I like to eat this lovely juicy steak. I get told I am missing out, and that I am weird for not eating meat. I get shunned by people, and I have had someone come to my house for dinner, only to have eaten at their own home before they arrived, because they didn’t want to eat any of that horrible vegan food.
It has gone so far that one family member hasn’t been to our house in months because of our veganism. I’m not sure why. I am just the same person as I was over a year ago. What I eat or don’t eat doesn’t change that.
How Do You Know if Someone is Vegan? They’ll Tell You
We’ve all heard that one, right? I find it isn’t actually true. Most vegans will tell you when they have to. You want to invite me to your barbeque in the summer; then I need to tell you I’m vegan. Wouldn’t it be odd of me not to say, and then you’ve bought me burgers and things that I won’t eat?
My friends will try and tell me why meat is good. This is almost every single time I see them. Like they have this itch against my veganism. The funny thing is, it isn’t never me who mentions the food. It’s the meat-eating friend like they have to prove me wrong.
So Why Do People Hate Vegans?
In a survey, it was found that vegans are one of the most hated and disliked group of people, even topping people’s negative comments towards homosexuals, immigrants and atheists. It has been shown that vegans and vegetarians receive discrimination on par with many other minority groups. And the only group to be viewed more negatively than vegans, are drug addicts.
Vegans are viewed more negatively than atheists, immigrants, homosexuals, and asexuals
The Hatred Comes from an Us and Them Mentality
Everyone has their identity tied up with a group. It doesn’t matter who you are; there will be some group you identify with, be it your football team, the political party you vote for and even your hobbies.
A positive social identity plays a large part in who we are and gives us a sense of belonging to a group of people.
This means, if you are vegan, you reinforce your identity as a member of the vegan community, and this puts you in a different light to others. Switching from being a meat-eater to a vegan means that you go from the omnivore community to the vegan community.
Fear of Judgment
This seems to be the biggest crux of it all, mainly when a person adopts a vegan lifestyle for the benefit of the animals. Whether they realise it or not, many meat-eaters will feel judge by the vegans. With the vegans seeing themselves as better than them because they aim not to harm animals.
In this day and age, everyone feels judged by others, especially when we’re all on social media and instead of taking one picture of yourself, you have to take fifty to make sure you look just right. This is because we live by the newsfeed, we see our friends highlights all the time, and they compare ourselves to our friends. This has led to the younger generation, especially, being overly concerned with being judged by their peers.
This is what happens with meat-eaters. They will know a person is vegan, and assume the vegan is judging them, and maybe they are. But we’re so tied up in all this; we don’t stop to think, what does it really matter if that vegan is frowning at me for eating a burger? Instead, what meat-eaters do, is waft that burger in the face of their vegan friend.
Could it be Guilt?
It is often thought that maybe the hatred towards vegans is more down to one’s own guilt rather than anything towards to vegan themselves. Psychoanalyst Carl Jung reportedly said that what annoys people in others, is a reflection of themselves. Many people know that being vegan is a good thing to do. So many animals suffer each day, and so many of them are murdered unnecessarily. With so many people against animal abuse, it would be understandable that when faced with their own contribution to animal suffering (by buying meat), they are faced with their own moral dilemma and conscience.
One Man Lost His Job Because of His Hatred
William Sitwell lost his job this year when he replied to someone suggesting some plant-based recipes for the magazine. He was the food magazine editor for a leading supermarket in the UK. He said …
“How about a series on killing vegans one by one. Ways to trap them? How to interrogate them properly? Expose their hypocrisy? Force-feed them meat? Make them eat steak and drink red wine?”
So why do people hate vegans?
I have no idea. There are better things to hate out there than someone who wants to do no harm to animals. Maybe we’ll never know the reason. I just know, going vegan is the best thing I ever did, and I will never eat meat or any other animal product again.