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Study: The Conflict Among Veg*ns: Ethics Vs. Health

For animal advocates, the study offers evidence that nuance is needed when discussing the vegetarian and vegan movement. Motivation appears to be a much more important factor than action when it comes to favorability.

OWEN ROGERS: ‘Within the movement to reduce animal consumption, there are two main (non-exclusive) divisions that can be made. The first is based on motivation: some are motivated by health concerns, whereas others view it as a moral issue. Furthermore, in each group are vegetarians — those who abstain from meat only — and vegans, who abstain from all animal products.

A research study attempts to determine what each group thinks about the other… Participants were divided into four groups: health vegans, health vegetarians, ethical vegans, and ethical vegetarians. “Ethical” in this instance refers to those who are motivated by concern for the environment and/or animal cruelty, while “health” refers to those who are motivated by personal wellness…

According to the authors, the results show that ethical vegetarians view themselves as more “radical” than health vegetarians, and that vegetarianism is about more than simply avoiding meat. Health vegetarians may be more likely to view their diet as a simple personal choice, rather than a matter of morality. Therefore, ethical vegetarians may view this as a threat to their objectives: namely, converting more omnivores to vegetarianism…

In the high mainstream salience test, vegans rated health and ethical vegetarians relatively equally; however, they made a distinction between the two in the low mainstream salience test. This suggests that vegans are willing to view vegetarians as part of their in-group when the group identity is threatened, but not in other circumstances. Overall, the authors note that motivation appears to be a much more important factor than action when it comes to favorability…

For animal advocates, the study offers evidence that nuance is needed when discussing the vegetarian and vegan movement. While they have much in common, there are divisions that affect one group’s perception of other factions within the movement. The study also reminds us that motivation is an extremely important part of the vegan and vegetarian movement, and that actions alone are not the entire picture’. SOURCE…

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