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Eating Meat To Fit-In: Half of those who say they are veg*n still eat meat on occasions

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Slightly more than 1/3 of respondents said they ate meat to ease discomfort in social situations. When veg*ns did eat meat, just over 1/2 reacted negatively while 22% reported it as a positive experience.

SARA STREETER: ‘When a person says they are a veg*n, does this mean they never eat meat? Paradoxically, no. Many people who say they are veg*ns do eat meat on occasion… An estimated 84% of veg*ns eventually return to eating meat for either health or social reasons, according to a Faunalytics study… As this research suggests, veg*ism is a social identity as much as a way of eating. Some veg*ns even view their diet as a flexible guideline rather than a rigid rule. To shed light on this phenomenon, this study investigated what prompts dietary lapses in those who generally disavow meat-eating…

Using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk platform, researchers in this external study surveyed 243 self-identified vegetarians. Just over half (124, or 51%) reported eating meat since becoming veg*n, and 90% of this group reported the meat-eating as intentional. More in-depth narratives were gathered from 108 of the participants. This narrative data was analyzed qualitatively to form a picture of why and when veg*ns consumed animal flesh.

Slightly more than a third of respondents said they ate meat to ease discomfort in social situations. They did not want to be rude or burdensome. Veg*ism is a stigmatized identity and eating meat in certain situations appears to be an effort to manage others’ impressions. Other reasons included social pressure, cravings, feeling physically unwell, avoiding food waste, curiosity, and simple enjoyment of meat…

When veg*ns did eat meat, just over half reacted negatively while 22% reported it as a positive experience… The authors conclude that many veg*ns lapse into meat-eating primarily to fit in. Presenting as a veg*n seemed to conflict with social acceptance. And yet in other contexts, they still claim to be veg*n’.

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