A recent survey of 2,363 Britons found that two thirds had considered switching to a vegan or vegetarian diet in the past year. All those in the survey were meat eaters and 26% of them said they’d not switched their diet because of the ‘attitude of certain vegetarians and vegans’. When further questioned the researchers found that the respondents felt vegans/vegetarians were ‘quite aggressive to those eating meat’, ‘they consider their way of eating to be the only way’, and some said they’d been lectured about their diets and why they should make the switch which which put them off.
The findings of this survey have come at an interesting time. Veganism, plant based diets and vegetarianism are all on the up: Global Data found 6% of U.S. consumers now claim to be vegan. Ipsos Mori last year found that over 1% of the U.K population had adopted a plant based diet, a whopping 360% increase in the last decade. Roy Morgan Research found that between 2012 and 2016, the number of Australian adults whose diet was all or almost all vegetarian had risen from 9.7% of the population to almost 11.2%.
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We are all becoming more interested, aware and inspired to change what we eat, wear and use on a day to day basis. Whether this is for ethical reasons, environmental concerns, or health benefits it certainly helps that celebrities, athletes, the media and all of us are talking about it a lot more. As awareness grows, people try new things, beliefs begin to change and a paradigm shift begins to form. I believe this is something to be celebrated.
My personal journey to veganism has been a slow burn, taking over 3 years, from pescetarian to vegetarian and now vegan. People’s support, kindness and encouragement were key to my journey. Conversely, jokes, jibes, rants and general negativity from both vegans and non-vegans about my progress were quite upsetting. I am human, as are you, along with the other 7.5 billion people on this earth. We are all different, our journeys, experiences and beliefs vary, yet we all feel pain and all have the ability to be compassionate. So whether meat eater, flexitarian, pescetarian, plant based dieter or vegan should we all not try and find as much compassion for each other as for the animals we are seeking to protect?
Anyway it works both ways
A vegan cafe owner in Melbourne has recently come under fire for charging men an 18% ‘gender pay gap surcharge’ to raise awareness of gender equality issues. Many from the vegan community have questioned her motives as it seems divisive, controversial and ‘bad press’. Apart from being amazing PR for her business (I will be going tomorrow for coffee), we should note that its voluntary, only runs for one week every month and all the money raised is given away to charity. This is a great example of somebody trying to do the right thing based on her own judgement and being criticised by some people for it.
Ultimately its about choice. Everyday we are becoming more educated about the products that we consume and many are choosing to try veganism. With this we have a simple choice, to be cruel to those not choosing the same lifestyle as us or to find compassion and kindness.