Most vegans suffer discrimination, says a new survey. But could it be that they discriminate before being discriminated?
Being Vegan Ain’t Easy
A large European internet portal for vegans polled its members about their experiences with discrimination due to their lifestyle (German language).
More than 1,000 responded, of whom a formidable majority were women (70%).
How do they feel that society reacts to their vegan set of mind?
- 92.1% said they were mocked for their lifestyle
- 71.7% got accused of extremism
- 48.5% were asked to eat a non-vegan meal
- 24.9% experienced name-calling
- 19.7% were accused of child abuse
- 17.8% lost friendships or were disinvited from social gatherings
Only 7.3% never had to live through to any of these and, luckily, only very few experienced threats (2.1%) or physical violence (0.3%).
Are Abusers Getting Abused?
But I wonder how those numbers came about.
The place where I work has a cafeteria, where people from my faculty frequently eat in a group, discussing current projects.
A while ago we got a new female colleague, who of course was invited to sit at our table. Her t-shirt proclaimed that “every being has the right to be happy” and on her plate was the vegetarian choice of the day, a veggie burger.
She sat down, looked at our plates, which were loaded with schnitzel and fries (we are German, after all), and out of nowhere remarked that “pigs have an IQ similar to a three year old child.”
An air of moral superiority encircled her and engulfed the table in uncomfortable silence until we managed to steer back to our previous conversations.
“How Do You Feel Eating A Corpse?”
Over the next weeks this became her routine whenever anyone was present at the table who happened to eat a dish containing meat. Only that the verbal missives became bolder the longer it went on.
One day, I was spared due to having chosen pasta, the guy to my left had a steak. She asked him, “how do you feel eating a corpse?”
He really wanted to but didn’t throw the steak at her. What he couldn’t resist was getting personal and remarking that she should mind her own expletive business and that the state of her body wasn’t exactly testament of veganism making you healthy. The latter in regard to her being quite overweight, which was impressive evidence that the combination of veganism and obesity wasn’t impossible.
She left the table sobbing and from then on ate by herself, but none of us felt very sorry, due to the social trespassing she had committed to.
No doubt, what our new female and vegan colleague went through that day was abuse, but it was a result of the more or less underhanded abuse on her part.
This of course is only one person among tens of thousands living vegan, but no other group, save religious ones, as often exhibit similar behavior toward other people’s lifestyle choices.