A recent study entitled Vegaphobia found that the media, or should it be meatia, negatively reported stories that had to do with vegan eating choices. Vegans are individuals that have decided not to eat any animals nor use products that come from animals, which can range from honey to leather shoes.
Although this was a British study, the results are undoubtedly similar to what we would expect in the U.S., and perhaps even more so, as the U.K. is several years ahead of us in terms of animal welfare and compassion, and therefore veganisim and vegetarianism are more established in the public eye.
In a review of 397 newspaper articles for the year 2007 (the most comprehensive available at the time), 5.5% of articles were found to be positive when talking about non-animal eating life styles, 20.2% were judged as neutral, and a whopping 74.3% were judged to be negative. The study noted that the negative references were most often directed towards women, portrayed non-animal eating lifestyles as being fads, the acts of extremists or unbalanced people, and frequent inference was made that irrational behavior was causally related to being a vegan, rather than other possible explanations for one’s behavior.
The article’s authors conclude “Making veganisim sound outlandish or difficult, and misrepresenting the motivations of veganisim as a consumer choice, enables non-vegans to treat veganisim as a curiosity, at best, or a dangerous obsession at worst.” People become vegans for several reasons, chief among them are the love of animals and wanting to protect the environment as animal farming is a much less efficient way of producing food and contributes to a significant amount of pollution.