Everyone has that one friend who just has to let you know how great their life choices are. You know exactly how many times they've been to the gym this week (every morning at 6 AM, including the weekend) and that their Nutribullet is used to make spinach and wheatgrass smoothies, not collect dust in the cupboard. And when they decided to go vegan, you sure knew about it. First, there was the holier-than-thou speech at the dinner table about climate change and then the spamming of the WhatsApp group with pictures of adorable little piglets. But so far, no one is replying to their "101 reasons to become vegan" links with a fist bump emoji.
New research suggests that your pushy plant-based friend may be going about converting carnivores in completely the wrong way.
According to a survey on the attitudes of 2,363 meat-eating Brits, the most popular reason for not becoming vegetarian or vegan is liking the taste of meat too much. Hardly surprising, bacon butties are pretty damn irresistible. But for a quarter of respondents, the reason for their continued meat-consumption is unrelated to food. They report not going veggie because "the attitude of certain vegetarians/vegans has put me off."
The research, which was carried out by Voucher Codes Pro (the ever-reputable source on vegetarian behaviour that gave us such classics as "A Third of Vegetarians Eat Meat When They're Drunk"), probed the kind of ~bad vibes~ some veggies give off. Thirty-seven percent of the meat-eaters surveyed claim that vegans and vegetarians are "quite aggressive" towards those eating meat and 25 percent say that they have been lectured about their carnivorous diets. Survey participants also claim that some of those following a plant-based diet consider "their way of eating to be the only way."
MUNCHIES reached out to The Vegan Society and asked what they made of these accusations. Spokesperson Dominika Piasecka told us: "Many are passionate about veganism, eager to share information about its benefits to everyone, and open their eyes to animal suffering. This could mean that sometimes the anger and upset we feel inside of us is perceived as aggression towards those who don't follow the vegan lifestyle but this can't be further from the truth."
Piasecka continued: "Most of us have not been vegan from birth and we know the reasons why people consume and use animals—we simply want to make them aware of the result of these actions. The majority of vegans are compassionate individuals who want to inspire others to live their lives more ethically, and it is unfair to dismiss this passion by calling vegans preachy or judgemental."
Just don't talk to us about the green smoothies.