|Part of a series on|
Vegaphobia or vegephobia is an aversion to, or dislike of, vegetarians and vegans. The term first appeared in the 2010s, coinciding with the rise in veganism in the late 2010s. Several studies have found an incidence of vegaphobic sentiments in the general population. Positive feelings regarding vegetarians and vegans also exist, however; because of their diet, they may be rated as more virtuous. They may get rated less masculine but more principled.
Sociologists Matthew Cole and Karen Morgan used the term vegaphobia and the derived adjective vegaphobic in a 2011 study, meaning prejudice against vegans specifically. Later authors used the term veganphobia (vegan-) in this sense.
Subsequent studies define vegaphobia as the dual aversion to vegans and vegetarians together. A 2019 study of vegaphobia in this sense adds vegaphobe for a person with vegaphobia. Actor and producer Jola Cora also used the dual definition but calls it vegephobia (with an 'e'), in a 2013 conference talk titled "Vegephobia, what is it?"
Attitudes in the general population
"In the media, in pop culture and even in progressive, enlightened polite society it is still widely acceptable to make fun of vegans", writes Farhad Manjoo in a 2019 New York Times opinion piece against mocking vegans. Manjoo cites findings from a 2015 study by Canadian psychologists, that the general population rates vegans more negatively than atheists and immigrants, and tolerates vegans only slightly better than drug addicts. Vegans get more negative ratings than vegetarians, and vegan men receive more negative ratings than women. Vegans are rated better if they're motivated by health reasons than if their veganism is driven by ethical or animal rights concerns.
Among around a thousand Belgian Flemish meat eaters surveyed in 2016, vegaphobia against vegetarians was more common among men than among women, among older more than younger people, among people with a firmer intention to keep consuming meat, and among less educated people.
A survey of 300 US residents observed meat eaters' reactions to being reminded that meat comes from animals. The study showed that this increased discomfort while eating meat and also led to a less negative judgement of vegans.
These findings are consistent with vegans who feel discriminated by people who eat meat. In 2018, a survey of over 1,000 British and American vegans from the weight-loss application Lifesum found that 80% of respondents to have experienced some form of anti-vegan prejudice. There are also meat-eaters who do not transition to a vegan diet because they fear being stigmatized when becoming a vegan.
Attitudes of the media
Academic Laura Wright stated in 2015 that media organizations and wider discourse routinely mischaracterize vegan diets, highlighting situations where media outlets reported the death of children as being from a "vegan diet" rather than the parental neglect that was the actual cause.
In 2011, a media analysis found that veganism and vegans are discredited in British media through ridicule, or as being difficult or impossible to maintain in practice. Negative items were (in order of frequency) ridiculing veganism, erroneously equating veganism with asceticism, perpetuating the myth that veganism is difficult or impossible to sustain, describing veganism as a fashion trend, portraying vegans as sentimentalists, and defining vegans as hostile. The study found that of 397 articles, 20% were neutral, approximately 5% were positive and 75% were negative. In 2018, a British food editor quit his job after a message from him showed him talking about "killing vegans one by one".
In social media, some vegans are also attacked for their choice to have only sexual relations to other vegans.
Causes of vegaphobia
There are many theories to explain negative attitudes towards vegans. Negative attitudes against vegans and vegetarians are most commonly found in people with conservative or right-wing ideologies, being often most pronounced in far-right groups. For right-wing adherents, eating meat is not only a delight, but also a part of their attitude towards life. Thus, those who advocate against meat consumption can be perceived a threat to their way of life. A survey of about 1,000 participants showed that vegans are perceived as a threat mainly by older and lower-educated people and convinced meat eaters. A 2019 study found a positive correlation between world-views rooted in social dominance and a negative perception of vegans.
Explanations are founded on what is sometimes called the meat paradox: many people who eat meat do not like harming animals. Vegans can remind meat eaters of this cognitive dissonance, and one way to resolve this inner conflict and reduce dissonance is to maintain prejudice against vegans.
Another proposed reason for negative attitudes against vegans is that meat eaters may feel judged by vegans and vegetarians for eating meat. Discrediting ethical vegans as do-gooders is then a way to invalidate the judgement of oneself. These negative attitudes against vegans are higher when vegans are thought to think of themselves as morally superior.
While there may be an inner conflict in meat eaters when it comes to the killing and eating of animals, this theory may not hold up to environmental reasons for not eating meat. Environmentalists may not see a conflict in eating meat because they see their individual environmental impact of meat consumption as low.
Vegans are not always discredited for ideological reasons. Sometimes the reason may be that the person cannot share their food with them.
In the early 1990s, McDonald's started describing its French fries as vegetarian when they, in fact, contained beef-derived flavouring, leading to a ten million US dollar settlement in 2002 for misleading Hindus and other vegetarians into eating food against their conscience.
Philosopher Oscar Horta links vegaphobia to discrimination against vegans, which he observes, among other instances, at the workplace. Vegans have in individual instances been terminated from jobs or excluded from the applicant pool for their veganism. A survey by the law firm Crossland Solicitors found that among "over 1,000" UK-based vegan employees, nearly a third felt discriminated against at their workplace.
A London NHS trust (a unit of the UK's National Health Service) in 2017 put up a discriminatory job advert for an occupational therapist saying, "Unfortunately, OTs with vegan diets cannot be considered", and that "Veganism or other highly restrictive eating practices cannot be accommodated." When challenged by the Vegan Society, the trust changed the advert and apologized.
A vegan was denied a Swiss passport by local voters, and people have thrown KFC chicken at vegans in England, in both cases as a reaction to their lawful animal rights protest. In 2018, William Sitwell, then editor of the Waitrose Food magazine, responded to a request for a vegan column by proposing "a series on killing vegans, one by one".
A vegan college student from Bristol won a case against her college following support from the Vegan Society after she was told to take a module on farming or fail her course in animal management.
A primary school in Solihull changed its milk scheme after a nine-month case with a vegan father, who contacted the Vegan Society after his 5-year-old daughter was banned from bringing soya milk to school.
The application of the term "vegaphobia"—and the extent to which it can be compared to other forms of discrimination—is a somewhat divisive issue. Sophie Wilkinson of Grazia opined in 2018 that "discrimination is about being treated differently for who you are, not for what you choose to do." Others would consider that an invalid criticism, distinguishing between two kinds of veganism, lifestyle and ethical.
- Cole, Matthew; Morgan, Karen (1 March 2011). "Vegaphobia: derogatory discourses of veganism and the reproduction of speciesism in UK national newspapers". The British Journal of Sociology. 62 (1): 134–153. doi:10.1111/j.1468-4446.2010.01348.x. PMID 21361905.
- "Vegephobia, what is it? Why is it important to fight it? (Jola Cora) [IARC2013]". ar-conference.org.
- Griffin, Nathan Stephens (20 July 2017). Understanding Veganism: Biography and Identity. Springer. pp. 24, 47, 120. ISBN 9783319521022.
- Jones, R. C: (2016) Veganisms. In Castricano, J. & Simonsen, R. R. Critical Perspectives on Veganism. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 25
- Bendl, Regine; Delmestri, Giuseppe; Kudelka, Petr (2019). "Vegaphobie: Ein Hindernis auf dem Weg zur Nachhaltigkeit". Chancen und Grenzen der Nachhaltigkeitstransformation. pp. 201–229. doi:10.1007/978-3-658-22438-7_12. ISBN 978-3-658-22437-0.
- Khara, Tani (7 November 2018). "Why do vegans have such bad reputations?". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 20 July 2019.
- Krishnan, Manisha (26 November 2018). "There's a Term For Hating On Vegans And It's Vegaphobia". Vice Media. Retrieved 20 July 2019.
- MacInnis, Cara C.; Hodson, Gordon (1 November 2017). "It ain't easy eating greens: Evidence of bias toward vegetarians and vegans from both source and target". Group Processes & Intergroup Relations. 20 (6): 721–744. doi:10.1177/1368430215618253. ISSN 1368-4302. S2CID 147065882.
- Earle, Megan; Hodson, Gordon; Dhont, Kristof; MacInnis, Cara (24 June 2019). "Eating with our eyes (closed): Effects of visually associating animals with meat on antivegan/vegetarian attitudes and meat consumption willingness" (PDF). Group Processes & Intergroup Relations. 22 (6): 818–835. doi:10.1177/1368430219861848. S2CID 164266896.
- Vandermoere, Frédéric; Geerts, Robbe; De Backer, Charlotte; Erreygers, Sara; Van Doorslaer, Els (19 July 2019). "Meat Consumption and Vegaphobia: An Exploration of the Characteristics of Meat Eaters, Vegaphobes, and Their Social Environment". Sustainability. 11 (14): 3936. doi:10.3390/su11143936. ISSN 2071-1050.
- Ruby, Matthew B.; Heine, Steven J. (April 2011). "Meat, morals, and masculinity". Appetite. 56 (2): 447–450. doi:10.1016/j.appet.2011.01.018. PMID 21256169. S2CID 7771176.
- "Why do people hate vegans?". the Guardian. 25 October 2019. Retrieved 5 May 2021.
- "Banned vegan TikToker complains 'veganphobia is real' – after comparing animal rights to coming out as LGBT+". uk.news.yahoo.com. Retrieved 8 June 2021.
- Wrenn, Dr Corey (8 November 2016). "A Month of Vegan Research: Veganphobia". Corey Lee Wrenn, Ph.D. Retrieved 8 June 2021.
- MacInnis, Cara C.; Hodson, Gordon (6 December 2015). "It ain't easy eating greens: Evidence of bias toward vegetarians and vegans from both source and target". Group Processes & Intergroup Relations. 20 (6): 721–744. doi:10.1177/1368430215618253. S2CID 147065882.
- Dhont, Kristof; Hodson, Gordon (July 2014). "Why do right-wing adherents engage in more animal exploitation and meat consumption?". Personality and Individual Differences. 64: 12–17. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2014.02.002. hdl:1854/LU-5030419.
- VeganKanal (12 September 2013). "Vegephobia, what is it? Jola Cora at IARC 2013 Luxembourg" – via YouTube.
- Manjoo, Farhad (28 August 2019). "Stop Mocking Vegans". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 21 May 2021.
- "为何人们讨厌纯素食主义者？". 澎湃新闻 (The Paper). Retrieved 15 July 2021.
- Higgins, Abigail (2 November 2018). "Why do people hate vegans so much?". Vox. Retrieved 21 May 2021.
- "There's a Term For Hating On Vegans And It's Vegaphobia". www.vice.com. Retrieved 5 May 2021.
a new survey from Lifesum, a weight loss app, of UK and US-based vegans found that eight out of 10 respondents had experienced “vegaphobia” which it defined as a prejudice against vegans.
- Markowski, Kelly L.; Roxburgh, Susan (April 2019). "'If I became a vegan, my family and friends would hate me:' Anticipating vegan stigma as a barrier to plant-based diets". Appetite. 135: 1–9. doi:10.1016/j.appet.2018.12.040. PMID 30605705. S2CID 58643649.
- Laura Wright (1 October 2015). The Vegan Studies Project: Food, Animals, and Gender in the Age of Terror. University of Georgia Press. pp. 89–91. ISBN 978-0-8203-4854-4.
- Why do people hate vegans so much? A UK food editor just lost his job for writing an email about “killing vegans.”, Link: https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/2018/11/2/18055532/vegans-vegetarian-research-uk
- Potts, Annie; Parry, Jovian (15 February 2010). "Vegan Sexuality: Challenging Heteronormative Masculinity through Meat-free Sex". Feminism & Psychology. 20 (1): 53–72. doi:10.1177/0959353509351181. S2CID 144430044.
- Judge, Madeline; Wilson, Marc S. (February 2019). "A dual-process motivational model of attitudes towards vegetarians and vegans". European Journal of Social Psychology. 49 (1): 169–178. doi:10.1002/ejsp.2386.
- Vandermoere, Frédéric; Geerts, Robbe; De Backer, Charlotte; Erreygers, Sara; Van Doorslaer, Els (19 July 2019). "Meat Consumption and Vegaphobia: An Exploration of the Characteristics of Meat Eaters, Vegaphobes, and Their Social Environment". Sustainability. 11 (14): 3936. doi:10.3390/su11143936.
- Weill, Kelly (24 August 2018). "Why Right Wingers Are Going Crazy About Meat". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 28 May 2020.
- Bastian, Brock; Loughnan, Steve (19 May 2016). "Resolving the Meat-Paradox: A Motivational Account of Morally Troublesome Behavior and Its Maintenance" (PDF). Personality and Social Psychology Review. 21 (3): 278–299. doi:10.1177/1088868316647562. PMID 27207840. S2CID 13360236.
- Gorvett, Zaria. "The hidden biases that drive anti-vegan hatred". www.bbc.com. Retrieved 21 May 2021.
- Rothgerber, Hank (August 2014). "Efforts to overcome vegetarian-induced dissonance among meat eaters". Appetite. 79: 32–41. doi:10.1016/j.appet.2014.04.003. PMID 24727102. S2CID 12089867.
- Minson, Julia A.; Monin, Benoît (18 July 2011). "Do-Gooder Derogation". Social Psychological and Personality Science. 3 (2): 200–207. doi:10.1177/1948550611415695. S2CID 13891898.
- "'Vegaphobia' Is the Dislike of Vegans". www.vice.com. Retrieved 5 May 2021.
- Scott, Evon; Kallis, Giorgos; Zografos, Christos; Olsson, I Anna S (11 July 2019). "Why environmentalists eat meat". PLOS ONE. 14 (7): e0219607. Bibcode:2019PLoSO..1419607S. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0219607. PMC 6622546. PMID 31295301.
- Bresnahan, Mary; Zhuang, Jie; Zhu, Xun (2016). "Why is the vegan line in the dining hall always the shortest? Understanding vegan stigma". Stigma and Health. 1 (1): 3–15. doi:10.1037/sah0000011.
- "McDonald's to pay $10M to vegetarians - Jun. 5, 2002". money.cnn.com. Retrieved 9 May 2021.
- Horta, Oscar (8 October 2018). "Discrimination Against Vegans". Res Publica. 24 (3): 360. doi:10.1007/s11158-017-9356-3. ISSN 1356-4765. S2CID 149303895.
The fact that vegans are often considered worse than nonvegans epistemically, morally, and in general due to vegaphobia, explains some cases where they are intentionally treated worse, and also why vegans are in many cases pressed by others to quit veganism.
- "What rights do vegans have?". The Vegan Society. Retrieved 9 May 2021.
- "Vegan rights in the UK courts – The Lawyer". The Lawyer | Legal insight, benchmarking data and jobs. 17 July 2017. Retrieved 9 May 2021.
- "Nearly half of vegans feel discriminated against at work - Crossland Employment Solicitors". Crossland Solicitors. Retrieved 9 May 2021.
- July 2017, Monidipa Fouzder3. "Vegan challenges discriminatory job ad". Law Gazette. Retrieved 12 May 2021.
- "Vegan rights in the UK courts – The Lawyer". The Lawyer. 17 July 2017. Retrieved 12 May 2021.
- Roberts, Elizabeth (12 January 2017). "Vegan denied Swiss citizenship for her 'loud' views on animal rights". CNN. Retrieved 9 May 2021.
- Parker, Hayley (17 September 2020). "Drivers lob chicken legs at vegan activists protesting outside Wayne Walker's". StokeonTrentLive. Retrieved 9 May 2021.
- "Waitrose magazine editor quits after joke about killing vegans". the Guardian. 31 October 2018. Retrieved 9 May 2021.
- "Bristol vegan student 'told to visit farm or fail course'". BBC News. 13 April 2021. Retrieved 27 June 2021.
- Hockaday, James (24 June 2021). "Vegan dad couldn't sleep because daughter couldn't take soya milk to school". Metro. Retrieved 27 June 2021.
- "Meat martyrs be warned: the vegans will inherit the Earth | Gaby Hinsliff". the Guardian. 1 November 2018. Retrieved 8 June 2021.
- Addis, Richard. "UK court gives veganism status of a religion". The Day. Retrieved 1 August 2021.
- Wilkinson, Sophie (3 December 2018). "No, Vegan-Based Discrimination Is Nonsense". Grazia. Retrieved 20 July 2019.
- Gorvett, Zaria (4 February 2020). "The hidden biases that drive anti-vegan hatred". BBC Future .
- Cole, Matthew; Morgan, Karen (March 2011). "Vegaphobia: derogatory discourses of veganism and the reproduction of speciesism in UK national newspapers1: Vegaphobia". The British Journal of Sociology. 62 (1): 134–153. doi:10.1111/j.1468-4446.2010.01348.x. PMID 21361905.
- Horta, Oscar (2018). "Discrimination against vegans". Res Publica 24 (3): 359-73. doi:10.1007/s11158-017-9356-3.