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Vegetarians Are “idiots” and Other Meat-eating Findings

Real men eat meat.

Obviously, that is rubbish. But it is apparently one of the things people think when considering meat eaters, vegetarians and people who have reduced how much meat they eat.

Two researchers at the University of Sheffield in Britain – Vibhuti Patel and Nicola Buckland – gathered a group of 366 men and women and asked then to talk about the three kinds of eaters and to freely associate for 30 seconds (i.e. throw out word for what they thought about them).

Among other things:

  • Habitual meat eaters were “normal”, “hungry”, “older”, “masculine”, “strong”, “ fat”, and “ignorant”
  • Meat reducers were “eco-friendly”, “left-wing”, “pretentious, “animal lovers”, “intelligent” and “caring”
  • Vegetarians were “ethical”, “animal lovers”, “idiots”, “eco-friendly”, “sensible”, and “pretentious”.
  • All three were “healthy”, although meat eaters were also “unhealthy”.
  • Overall, vegetarians and meat-reducers were viewed more positively

The result formed part of an exhibition of posters at the World Biodiversity Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Meat-eating has come under attack in recent years (at least in the industrialised world) because of the impact it has on the environment, be it through greenhouse gasses, land use or damage to biodiversity.

Jeremy Gaunt is a freelance writer covering the World Biodiversity Forum for Future Earth