Discussion topic: New poll shows vegans and vegetarians are still a national minority  »

Quality human Cord Jefferson wrote about the results of this Gallup poll for The Nation, conducted from July 9 to 12 of this year, on Americans who self-identify as vegetarians. Of the 1,014 people age 18 and over polled, not very many people self-identified as “vegetarian.”

Some of our assumptions are correct: It’s a liberal, single ladies’ game, the abstention from meat. But beyond that, I’m surprised: More older people than younger; less educated people than more. Weird, right?

And what about the vegans?

That 7 percent gap is a curious thing. Gallup says that those respondents “did not have an opinion” when asked if they were vegan. Are they they Mark Bittman, part-time vegans? Did they not understand the question?

I immediately wanted to know how the vegans responded to the vegetarian question; Gallup explains:

Vegans apparently view themselves as different from, rather than a subset of, vegetarians; most of the small number of respondents in the survey who said “yes” to the vegan question had said “no” to the vegetarian question.

Overall, Gallup’s stats look like this:

But if vegans are not calling themselves vegetarians, can we add the vegans to the vegetarians to get a 7 percent total of American adults who at least don’t eat meat? No; for starters, Gallup didn’t define “vegetarian” or “vegan” for this survey, so this could include, ugh, pescatarians, or other not-actually vegetarian “vegetarians.”

Jefferson concludes that

The new thing is to allow yourself to eat meat, but to make sure that it’s meat that is hormone free and hasn’t been factory farmed. I can’t say I agree with that decision, but I do like that it appears we are living in a time in which Americans are thinking more than ever about what they put into their bodies.

What do you think? How would you have responded to the poll? I wouldn’t call myself a vegetarian, but seeing that the total percentage doesn’t include vegans, I might.

U.S. meat consumption is decreasing, even without the help of those pushovers at the  USDA, which is wonderful. And yes, it’s great that people are satisfying their appetite for flesh with animals who weren’t raised in environment-destroying torture chambers. I just wish there were more of us. Ex-vegetarians who now eat “only free-range chickens” depress me.

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