Jonathan Petrides, founder of vegan food delivery service allplants.com and a vegan, explains why he thinks PETA's campaign to make British phrases more vegan-friendly will not endear people to the vegan way of life
“Mate, don’t tell me you are going to start saying ‘bringing home the bagels,” a pal texts me.
A stream of messages arrive from friends joking about the news that PETA has called for rewording a whole host of fruity old British phrases that happen to include animals. The animal activist charity said: "Words matter, and as our understanding of social justice evolves, our language evolves along with it.”
Instead of “kill two birds with one stone,” PETA suggests “feed two birds with one scone.” Just rolls off the tongue...
'Are PETA trolling?'
What I can’t work out is whether PETA are trolling the internet or are they seriously trying to make the world hate vegans? I live and eat a fully plant-based lifestyle, and I think it's important Britain understands that not every vegan is judging you for what you eat, wear or say.
While I’d always bring home bagels and not bacon (or maybe some smoky jackfruit bacon!?), I certainly won’t be curbing people’s linguistic choices anytime soon. I don't agree with anybody becoming the word police – it’s just another form of radical placard-toting that paints vegans as judgemental holier-than-thou activists. Not cool.
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While PETA do some great work, they aren't going to appeal to the general public by radically enforcing change. Sayings like killing two birds with one stone or flogging a dead horse are culturally ingrained in society and that takes time to shift. These phrases are second nature and arise from centuries of common chatter – they reflect our past society and I’m proud of our British language and all it’s wonky quirks.
Allplants.com founder Jonathan (right) gives a talk. Image: Jonathan Petrides/Facebook
Now we are living in an exciting time where many of our generation are starting to ask questions about how to live a healthier, more sustainable and ethical lifestyle, but much of that progress can be undone if PETA try to force people to change overnight.
When I started allplants.com, UK’s largest plant-based kitchen delivering meals – we came to realise that the ‘ve-gang’ word feels alienating, exclusive and generally wasn’t attracting people. It’s niche. Most people are busy enjoying their life and just want to eat a tasty healthy meal at the end of the day.
Scaremongering people into how they eat or what words to choose isn’t a smart approach to creating change. With reports on meat impacting on our health, our environment and recently, a proposed meat tax, we have reached a precarious time with heightened awareness of the need for change, so it’s all about inspiring people to make positive lifestyle changes.
A person’s diet is a personal journey, it’s also not something you change overnight (my journey into plant-based living started very gradually!) In fact, 70% of allplants.com customers across the UK ordering our chef-made meals don’t describe themselves as vegan, they just fancy trying out eating more plants. A very positive sign of shifting diets across the nation. So, let’s allow that shift to happen naturally, not force it.