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Discrimination and Bias Against Vegans

Couple's Portrait

What does the research say?

Vegans, many committed as part of their faith and spiritual practice, face ridicule, prejudice, and social marginalization. This is especially problematic in family systems and the workplace but also insidiously present in the media's negative portrayal and mockery of veganism. In one study, researchers found that 74% of news coverage related to veganism were "negatives"; 20.2% "neutral" and only 5.5% "positive". Prejudice against veganism are similar to religious prejudice and oppression; this makes sense considering that, for many vegans, the abstention from violence against animals used in the meat and dairy industries is fundamental to their spirituality. 

Researchers MacInnis and Hodson (2015) studied participant attitudes toward vegans and found that they faced as much bias as racial and ethnic minorities who are common targets for such hatred.  They found,


“...attitudes toward vegetarians and vegans were equivalent to, or more negative than, evaluations of common prejudice target groups… Both vegetarians and vegans were evaluated equivalently to immigrants, asexuals, and atheists, and significantly more negatively than Blacks. Vegetarians were evaluated equivalently to homosexuals, whereas vegans were evaluated more negatively than homosexuals.”

While this is a new area of scholarly research,  here are some articles from the literature, some of which overlap with issues of social justice:

Animals Australia and the Challenges of Vegan Stereotyping


Three Hots and a Cot and a Lot of Talk: Discussing Federal Rights-Based Avenues for Prisoners Access to Vegan Meals


A model for prison change: fighting discrimination

The Constitutional and Legal Rights of Ethical Vegans on Campus

BBC Article Saying Veganism Affects Intelligence Uses Outdated Data

Discrimination against Vegans

‘Ethical veganism’ is a protected class akin to religion in the U.K. after a landmark ruling

Dreaming of a vegan Christmas

What's your beef with vegetarians? Predicting anti-vegetarian prejudice from pro-beef attitudes across cultures

Eating with our eyes (closed): Effects of visually associating animals with meat on antivegan/vegetarian attitudes and meat consumption willingness

Employers, got vegan? How ethical veganism qualifies for legal protection under Title VII

Speciesism, generalized prejudice, and perceptions of prejudiced others

It ain’t easy eating greens: Evidence of bias toward vegetarians and vegans from both source and target

An ethnographic analysis of the cultural critique of vegan animal rights activists in The Netherlands

Older, greener, and wiser: charting the experiences of older women in the American vegan movement

New York Times: Stop Mocking Vegans

The “V” Word: An Inquiry into Vegan Student Experience in Calgarian Schools

BBC: The hidden biases that drive anti-vegan hatred

The vegan resistance

Toward a Vegan Jurisprudence: The Need for a Reorientation of Human Rights

In defense of the vegan ideal: rhetoric and bias in the nutrition literature

Becoming vegan: rhetoric, ambivalence, and repression in the self-narrative

Vegan Consciousness and the Commodity Chain: On the Neoliberal, Afrocentric, and Decolonial Politics of “Cruelty-Free”

Vegan Discrimination: An Emerging and Difficult Dilemma

Vegan revolution! A critical discourse analysis of the use of ‘linguistic camouflage’ by business organisations

Gender and Victorian animal advocacy

Veganism through a Racial Lens: Vegans of Color Navigating Mainstream Vegan Networks

Questioning the concept of vegan privilege

Vegans’ problem stories: Negotiating vegan identity in dealing with omnivores




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