Skip to content

On Veggie Vision and Discrimination

Have you seen Veggie Vision? It's an Internet television station that promotes veganism! I just learned how to make Ackee Quiche (after I learned what ackee is) on the Veggie Viewer (the link is on the lower right corner) and saw Rory Freedman's top five reasons to go vegan–which focus right up front on dairy and eggs and don't exclude the environment (hallelujiah!).

I also watched some coverage of Veggie Pride in France, where an organizer of the event, Virginie, said that there's discrimination against vegans who don't eat animals because they don't want to kill animals. Vegetarians and vegans are accepted if their reason is health or the environment, but if the reason is the refusal to kill animals, they are not as easily accepted. (Please note that the reason I include vegetarians is that Virginie did, and Veggie Pride events do.)

Question: Do you experience discrimination because your choice of lifestyle comes from your desire to not kill anyone?

6 Comments Post a comment
  1. Bea Elliott #

    Yes, I've experienced discrimination (hostility) because I choose not to kill animals for food. The obvious reason: my decision to "not" eat animals points a finger at the decision other people make to kill/eat them. To what degree of antagonism I'm met with depends on my stated reasons for being veg*an… If I focus on bodily health and physical wellbeing there's little resistance. However, if I include issues like spiritual peace or ethical consistancy – that's when it turns ugly. Ugly is as ugly does…

    Enjoy your quiche! 🙂

    October 25, 2008
  2. What amuses/enrages me is when my veganism gets twisted into being rude, even unethical, behavior. The progression goes: Dinner hosts offer me cheese and crackers. I refuse. They ask why. I explain why. They think, “Hold on, we eat animal products, which he just said he doesn’t do for ethical reasons. So he’s calling us unethical. How rude of him.” Rudeness to a gracious host is clearly unethical. Therefore veganism is unethical.

    October 25, 2008
  3. Ways that I felt I've been discriminated against as a vegetarian or vegan:
    – As a child sometimes school personnel would forget about my lunch. I remember picking pepperoni off pizza, removing ham from sandwiches, or going hungry.
    – In a hospital environment they did feed me, but only after making sure I knew just how much trouble I was causing them.
    – In a job program where I lived on campus they were sometimes hostile to me and the chef would often complain about how it was so hard to cook a veg meal that satisfied the 3000 calories a day state requirement for labor workers.
    – When I go to a bar or restaurant and I have to choose between leaving or sitting on leather, it feels the same as a choice to endure a smoke-filled room with friends or go outside and be alone. (Hint- this is why smoking is banned in many places.)
    – At another job, one of the "perks" was free lunches. But the lunches were not vegetarian or vegan. It's like getting a great parking space as a perk, but you don't drive a car.
    – Whenever I shop and read food or clothing labels I feel like the government makes it easy for companies to lie to me. It feels like it's impossible to get the full truth and know for certain what stuff is or where it comes from.

    October 26, 2008
  4. Deb #

    I'm not sure I'd call it discrimination, but I get significantly less understanding for making ethical decisions than if I were making a health-based decision. Society's programming for self-interest?

    Think about people's counter-arguments: I want such-and-such, I like eating such-and-such, I want to do such-and-such, I like to do such-and-such… And they truly believe that wanting and liking are the only arguments needed to trump ethical considerations.

    The only thing that will potentially trump their wants and likes is the specter of death.

    And so doing something that is so outside their normal comprehension is understandable only if avoidance of death/sickness is your motivation, but not if ethics are the motivation.

    This is partially why I get such odd reactions to the bike commuting. People can easily see that it is healthier – 2 hours of exercise a day! – but there is also the perceived (though not based on statistical realities) danger. They can't figure out if I'm doing something healthier or courting death, and so they can't figure out how to react to it. That my motivation is the environment just makes them think I'm weird, and possibly a martyr figure.

    Discrimination isn't the term I'd use, but if I were the type to be interested in the type of career that required promotions, I do think it would start to edge towards discrimination, if only because the team lunches pretty much always turn me into an obstacle for people. I stand out in ways that likely make me seem troublesome. And anyway, most organizations don't want to promote people who aren't likely to follow their tune without question.

    Honestly, though, I'd never have been good promotion material, even if I'd never gone vegan.

    October 26, 2008
  5. Bea Elliott #

    Deb… I agree with you about people wanting everything (pleasureable) right now (!) It's a world of instant gratification… no matter what the cost.

    Elaine – I'm so sorry you went through all that… as a kid I mean. I know you've mentioned that you have a very supportive mom – and you know you are blessed. I feel so bad that you were ostracized like that – and probably by unthinking omnivores such as I was. Your experiences in a hospital, college and at jobs were all sad. I just wanted to say I was sorry for all that – and all the other insensitivities others here have been a victim of. It's a mean world -thank goodness we all have each other –

    And a word about labels and being suspicious of ingredients – I think that comes with the discovery of what the meat industry/government actually does regarding it's excess animal products. It makes cynics of us all. Nothing proves the point more than picking up an otherwise innocent item like an apple pie – to find "beef fat" as part of the recipe… ick.

    October 27, 2008
  6. Carol Adams would live this site because of her book and research on the politics of eating meat.

    She co-authored a new book that's a hit with non-vegetarians like me,
    long-time vegans – and those in between:

    How to Eat Like a Vegetarian, Even If You Never Want To Be One
    More than 250 Shortcuts, Strategies, and Simple Solutions


    December 9, 2008

Leave a Reply

You may use basic HTML in your comments. Your email address will not be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS