Guilty conscience?

One aspect of threatened entitlement in a non-vegan society is the presumed right to consume the bodies of other animals. In that context, research has suggested that vegans prompt defensiveness among non-vegans by implying a failure to act on a moral issue. Unresolved guilt plays out along a continuum ranging from framing one’s non-vegan practices as “moderate” (“I don’t eat much meat”) to anger and hostility towards vegans (rhetorically shooting the messenger, the way Sitwell appears to have done). The range, style and tone of these defensive responses are wearyingly familiar to vegans.

Food practices are socially powerful markers of social and cultural identity, making actual or implied criticism of them personally and hurtfully felt. Meat-eating in particular has been closely implicated in the construction of masculine identity. Challenging the dominance of non-vegan practices threatens those social and cultural identities that are most closely dependent upon them.