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BE AFRAID, BE VERY AFRAID: UK livestock farmers fret as Veganism challenge grows

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One explanation for farmers’ angst despite Veganism’s niche status is that it has become part of the zeitgeist, and its impact reverberates widely. The success of the documentary Game Changers, as an example.

LEILA ABBOUD: ‘There is a feeling among British livestock farmers that their way of life and businesses are being challenged as veganism wins adherents: they account for only 1 per cent of the British population but their ranks have quadrupled in the last five years, according to the Vegan Society.  Nearly a dozen farmers who spoke to the FT described being both repelled and fascinated by the lifestyle whose followers eschew all products derived from animals, from meat to leather. Many believe veganism is being pushed by big food companies eager to profit from highly processed foods despite their healthy-sounding “plant-based” branding. They are also particularly irked by how the still-niche movement has influenced people worried about global warming…

One explanation for farmers’ angst despite veganism’s niche status is that it has become part of the zeitgeist, and its impact reverberates widely. The Game Changers, a Netflix documentary about elite vegan athletes and the many celebrity champions of the diet, including pop star Billie Eilish and actor Joaquin Phoenix, are but two examples. Another reason for why livestock farmers are obsessing over vegans is because many of them are struggling economically. British people are eating less meat, dairy and eggs per week compared with diets in the mid-1970s, according to government statistics…

The conflict between farmers and vegans has played out largely online. Every January, fights flare up on Twitter during “Veganuary” as farmers face off with campaigners recruiting people to give up meat for the month… Matthew Glover, who created “Veganuary” in 2014, said farmers and vegans needed to “dial down the anger”… He said. “Social media tends to bring out the worst in people. We’re just not getting around the table and talking to each other”… Calls for reconciliation are likely to be ignored, however, by the more militant wing of the vegan movement, which at times espouses extreme advocacy tactics like kidnapping pigs, defacing butcher shops, and accosting people with videos of slaughterhouses’. SOURCE…

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