Why Are Vegetarians Annoying? (An Exploration of a Cultural Rift)

Why Are Vegetarians Annoying? (An Exploration of a Cultural Rift)

In which Hank delves into the meme of the annoying vegetarian, where it comes from, why it annoys us, and what’s really at the root of it all.

In researching this video, I found that a lot of the numbers we throw around when talking about how bad meat eating is for the environment are really confusing and occasionally just wrong.

The most damning report (which I have quoted before) from WorldWatch turns out to have a bunch of obvious problems. Like, it counts the exhalations of livestock as a carbon emission. This isn’t accurate as all carbon exhaled by livestock was recently extracted from the environment by the plants that the animals eat. I was pretty frustrated to find that WorldWatch had made this mistake (or worse, stuck by it intentionally.)

It’s all further complicated by the fact that making a cow in America is actually far more efficient than making it other places. Often times we’ll talk about how the food being eaten by animals could be eaten by people, but that’s not always the case. Raising corn for animal consumption is much easier and cheaper and requires less resources and can be done on less-fertile land than raising it for human consumption.

So, I came out of this video with a more nuanced view, but nonetheless knowing more than ever that less meat eating means more food for more people with less impact, which is what we need most of all in this world right now.

I hope this video isn’t too controversial. The number one thing I wanted to say is that I wish I were better, and I will keep working toward that, but that it is also OK to be an imperfect person in an imperfect world. And so it is possible to agree with all arguments in favor of vegetarianism and remain an omnivore.

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20 Responses

  1. camdevtube says:

    I’m going to continue to eat meat for a very simple reason: I don’t need
    someone else telling me what to do. If you want to stop eating meat in an
    attempt to save the planet, kudos to you buddy. Whatever helps you sleep at
    night. But when you stop me in the hallway at work and try to confront me
    on what I choose to spend the money I work for on or what I decide to put
    into my own body, I’m going to ( very rudely ) tell you to go fuck yourself
    sideways. I’m going to live my life based on what I feel like doing, not
    what some other self-righteous holier than thou jackass suggests I do. If I
    didn’t ask for your opinion, that probably means I don’t give two shits
    about how you feel about my life choices.

  2. Charles Xll says:

    I watched a documentary (can’t remember what it was called) about how the
    breeding of animals for meat affected the environment and (according to
    this documentary) every person ON THE ENTIRE PLANET could be eating 100
    grams of meat every day and it would barely have an effect on the
    See, if you didn’t eat meat during the entire week you’d have 350 grams
    meat for Saturday respective Sunday.
    Don’t sound to bad to me. :)

  3. mickeynotmouse says:


  4. ShikariScoff says:

    To me the problem is not eating meat. It’s the scale on which we produce
    I do not think that killing animals for food is wrong, it is after all a
    necessary evil as a heterotrophic species. However growing a herd of
    animals on growth hormones, feeding them food that is perfectly good for us
    to eat and doing so with an absurdly irresponsible use of antibiotics is
    ludicrous and cruel.
    I get that farming animals is a tradition that dates back thousands of
    years and millions of lives depend on it for livelihood, but it just can’t
    continue in its current form.
    I don’t believe we need to stop producing animals for food, but we
    seriously need to reduce the scale on which it is done and rethink our

    I speak by the way as a vegetarian, convinced that we will never have a
    society that chooses to wholly abstain from meat. I believe the best course
    of action is to reduce the impact it causes.

  5. Wratho says:

    I experience this with my consumption of Soylent for meals. People
    definitely get the ‘thats not normal’ connotation and try to convince me
    that im missing out on what eating is really about’

  6. Robert Robinson says:

    I think vegans are right, but it’s hard to be vegan with celiac

  7. Raven Wilson says:

    IM FROM MONTANA and I’m vegan and no one cares it is normal actually I’ve
    found more vegetarians here then in California! So that’s BS. Then you said
    you don’t do it because you can’t control yourself? That’s a pathetic
    excuse. The reality is to help the planet and stay a meat eater you’d have
    to eat about a portion a week and make sure its from grass fed farms.
    People forget that out great great grandparents didn’t eat meat in every
    meal. I get that y’all like meat and I’m a pretty reasonable vegan compared
    to some but come on guys. We like to be lazy and not recycle, we like to be
    lazy and use fossil fuels, we like to be lazy and eat animal products. But
    that laziness will kill our planet. We all have to step up and make
    positive changes in our lifestyle to lessen our impact. You don’t have to
    go vegan but please everyone look into what you can do to help life as we
    know it survive. Right now we’re going through a mass extinction and the
    most drastic climate change in recorded history so whatever we’re doing now
    is far from enough.

  8. CaBobProductions says:

    I’m a vegetarian and I like this! I’m of course sad that you won’t
    discontinue meat, but I understand. It is extremely hard to make yourself
    stand out in social situations like that, and it’s really annoying to go
    through it every day! I have a support system of vegetarians and vegans to
    help me through it. And I’m happy you can acknowledge the truth of meat
    production, instead of just calling vegetarians pansies. We all do things
    that aren’t the 110% best most perfect thing for the future, I get that :)

  9. Ladie Anaxo says:

    Vegetarians/ vegans aren’t annoying because they do their best to bla bla
    it’s because so many of them push it on others. Ever thought I don’t want
    to spend my time googlinng and researching every nutrient before I put it
    in my mouth

  10. Jeff Short says:

    excellent work

  11. Arkius Azure says:

    These comments are annoying. None of you are right. There is no “right”
    answer to an argument like this, so stop acting like what the opposing side
    is doing is inherently wrong. There are plenty of valid reasons to be on
    both sides. I’m not even going to mention which side i’m on, because it’s
    irrelevant at this point. If you stop assuming you are correct from the
    get-go, arguments become a lot more constructive.

  12. RoulinBrooks says:

    It’s a lot more work being a vegetarian. You have to be a lot more
    creative in the kitchen. If it’s been a long day, a steak and potato can
    be served up in ten minutes. I admire vegetarians, but don’t like the
    self-righteous ones. One veggie I knew once said “You all eat meat because
    you hate animals.” Asshole.

  13. Sayuas says:

    I eat meat because while I think that good food is one of the best
    pleasures of life, vegetarianism has very little good food to offer.

  14. Natalie Eiting says:

    The struggle is real.. the Oreo one I mean! Ditto!

  15. Riya Vyas says:

    As a vegetarian people constantly ask me about why I don’t eat meat, they
    think it’s ridiculous and i think they feel like im trying to be better
    than them and healthier. I’ve been a vegetarian since birth!!! Like meat
    grosses me out now, why do meat eaters want to convert the vegetarians (and
    vegans too)??

  16. thebagelbomb says:

    I used to love meat. Now I’m vegetarian. I tried being vegetarian for a
    month and it ended up sticking. I think everyone should go vegetarian for
    just one month. It’s a great experience. A Youtuber named MissFenderr and
    her boyfriend went vegan for a month and after that they felt so good
    mentally and even physically that they stayed vegan.

  17. Shelly D says:

    I agree with everything Hank said in this video. And to be fair, there are
    so many other battles Hank is fighting to improve the good of society and
    the world that eating meat almost becomes trivial compared to those. And
    like he said, we all cannot be perfect humans whose lives are 100% devoted
    toward going completely against current societal norms to try and improve
    all that is wrong with the world. Thanks for yet again explaining so
    eloquently how so many of us feel Hank. You da real MVP.

  18. RosaHugs says:

    Hank, I don’t know if you’ve tried being a vegetarian, but if not I think
    it’s worth at least giving it a go. It’s very easy to get accustomed to
    eating meat but it’s surprisingly easy to get used to not eating it! Your
    values are clearly in accordance with vegetarianism, so at least if you try
    and don’t want to continue you can say for sure it didn’t work for you. But
    don’t assume you can’t do it! You’re Hank effing Green.

  19. Nathan Kraus says:

    If Vegetarians are like pushy “always preaching” Christians…Then Vegans
    would be like the Westboro Baptist Church of Christians.

  20. Katie Walsh says:

    This is very interesting. Would livestock producing daily/eggs/etc. have
    the same idea that we’re feeding the livestock food we could eat? Not sure
    if that made sense. Basically, would reducing your intake of animal
    by-products also be helping that same idea? Just curious. This video has
    sparked my interest.