Conservatives more resistant to vegan lifestyle, prof finds

Toni Airaksinen
New York Campus Correspondent

  • A psychology professor recently analyzed survey results from more than 1,000 current and former vegans, finding that those with conservative political views were had far greater odds of "having lapsed" into meat consumption.
  • The professor concludes that more vegan activism needs to target conservatives, suggesting that “prominent figures on the right” could advocate "documentaries or books on the impact of meat consumption on animals and the environment."
  • A professor at Brock University in Canada recently discovered that conservatives are less likely to succumb to the vegan lifestyle.

    Gordon Hodson, a psychology professor at Brock University, analyzed the results of a study of 1,313 current and former vegans and found that conservatives “were at significantly greater odds of having lapsed from a vegan diet to meat consumption.”

    "Those higher in conservatism reported fewer justice reasons for attempting vegan practice."   

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    “Specifically, a greater odds of returning to meat consumption was [determined] by ideology because those higher in conservatism reported fewer justice reasons for attempting vegan practice in the first place,” Hodson wrote.  

    Thus, while conservatives have stereotypically shunned the vegan lifestyle, this is the first study to show that even after attempting to become vegan, conservatism serves as a protective factor against sticking with the lifestyle.

    While Hodson probed the importance of “meat cravings” and “lifestyle inconvenience” in people’s need to stop being vegan, he ultimately found that those small inconveniences don’t make much of a difference. Rather, he found that credence in “social justice” values is paramount in determining whether someone sticks with veganism.

    Since conservatives are less likely to adhere to social justice, they’re also less likely to stay vegan, Hodson’s results indicated.

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    The study, which will be published in the January 2018 issue of the journal Appetite, concludes that more vegan activism is needed.

    “For example, exposure to documentaries or books on the impact of meat consumption on animals and the environment could help those who striving to achieve a vegan diet as their own personal goal,” he says, adding that recruiting “prominent figures on the right” to promote veganism could also help.

    “Overall, such interventions offer promising avenues for helping people to attain their own goals of reducing meat consumption,” he concludes.

    Reached for comment by Campus Reform, Hodson said he was inspired to study the issue because of the growing role of political ideology in everyday life.

    “Increasingly, research is showing that ideology matters to our day-to-day lives (i.e., not just in the voting booth),” he said. “Given that there are left-right differences in meat consumption, it made sense to us to consider left-right differences in avoiding meat among those attempting to stop” [emphasis his].

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    Toni Airaksinen

    Toni Airaksinen

    New York Campus Correspondent
    Toni Airaksinen is a New York Campus Correspondent, where she reports on free speech issues and social justice research. She is a senior at Barnard College, majoring in Urban Studies and Environmental Science. She is also a columnist for PJ Media, and formerly held a post with USA TODAY College, The Columbia Spectator, and Quillette.
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