Updated: Sep 18
The portrayal of Veganism in the U.K. media, generally takes a very negative stance. To me, at first, this made little sense. Why would anyone want to stifle a movement which has such good intentions.
Simply type in Vegan news in google and you'll see a large number of alarming, factually incorrect and sensationalist articles aiming to deflate the powerful growth of the Vegan movement.
New laws and regulations are always coming in, not just in the UK but around the world to restrict Vegan produce, for example the ability to describe a Vegan sausage as a 'sausage' is up in question in some parts of the world, because apparently people may be confused and think it has meat in it (- there's actually no evidence to suggest this confusion takes place anywhere). More laws are coming in to stop people exposing the cruelty in the meat and dairy industries (Ag gag laws).
Some of the reasons for these desperate anti-Veganism messages include;
1. Agricultural Interests: The U.K. has a significant agricultural sector, including livestock farming which have a lot of money and very vested interests to keep making money. Media outlets with ties to these industries areinclined to criticise Veganism to protect these interests.
2. Political Ideology: Right-wing media often champions 'traditional' values, including those related to food and culture. Veganism's challenge to traditional dietary norms might be seen as an affront to these values but in reality the horrible nature of factory farming is not traditional. If anything it's something to be ashamed of. Are we not supposed to be a nation of animal lovers?
3. Skepticism Towards Environmental Issues: Some right-wing media outlets have been skeptical about the role of human activities in climate change. As veganism is often promoted as an environmentally-friendly lifestyle, it may face resistance from those who downplay environmental concerns. In reality they aren't skeptical of climate change, they will just insist on muddying the water and confusing people so that people carry on business as usual and continue making these few people very rich.
4. Social Identity: Food choices can become a part of people's identity and cultural affiliations. Veganism's association with progressive and liberal movements may lead some right-wing outlets to view it as a symbol of opposing values. It's an easy way to divide people - Trumpian and Boris style politics.
5. Misinformation and Sensationalism: Media outlets, regardless of their political leaning, often use sensationalism or misinformation to attract attention and clicks. This can result in exaggerated or biased portrayals of veganism.
This is a huge injustice as it leaves people confused as to what decisions to make regard ethnical stances and eating habits. Of course, this is the medias intention, to muddy the water as such, so that people continue as they always have done and filling the pocket of a small group of super rich.
What can we do about it? We can inform people where possible of the benefits of Veganism on our health, on the planet in regards to sustainability, on the positive impacts regarding reduction of animal abuse and factory farming and more.
We can do this by using social media, speaking to friends and family and learning about Veganism so we can call out the persistent untruths (especially by the media).
We can also do this by simply living our lives joyously, happily, healthily and well as Vegans and effortlessly showing the world that (we aren't dying of a protein deficiency and) not only can we comfortable survive as Vegans but we are much more likely to thrive.