Because that woman's experience is common, psychologist Gordon Hodson, PhD., has been doing research about bias and anger toward vegetarians and vegans. Here are some highlights:
- Prejudice against vegetarians/vegans is real and strong. The prejudice that meat-eaters feel toward vegans is at least as negative as that expressed toward immigrants, and is even more negative than racism expressed toward Black people.
- Prejudice toward vegans is more severe than prejudice against vegetarians, with vegan men being the most despised. Such findings highlight the importance of deviance and group norm violation in predicting prejudice toward outgroups.
- Meat-eaters are particularly negative toward vegans who avoid eating meat for reasons of animal welfare, compared to those who do so for health or environmental reasons.
- conservatives (vs. liberals) are more likely to return to eating meat after trying to abstain from meat consumption. This is due, in part, to a perceived lack of social support and presumably reflects concerns about being stigmatized as a deviant.