In later 2008, 750 people united in cyberspace to respond to a Vegan Relationship
Survey conducted by M. Butterflies Katz (www.veganpoet.com) Here is a summary of
the questions and findings. The overall conclusion of the survey is that there is no
stereotypical vegan. There are abolitionists, raw-food vegans, straight-edge vegans,
Jain, Christian, Jewish, and Atheist vegans, and so on. Vegans think differently on
different topics. To see the complete survey and the bountiful assortment of quotes
from responders the world over, see:
Vegans cited location and education as the biggest factors determining the reaction
their veganism elicits from others. Responders from the United States agreed that
typically now the general population is conscious of the word ‘vegan’ and what it
means. The survey revealed some often humorous quotes in response to the question:
‘How do people you know or meet react towards your veganism?’
The great majority of responders answered ‘no’ (for various reasons) in response to
the question ‘Do you date only vegans?’; many said because it limits the pool too
much or they don’t ever meet vegans. Others felt dating is a good way to educate
non-vegans. Some thought dating non-vegans was fine, but they would not get
seriously involved with a non-vegan. Others are happily married to non-vegans, while
others opened up and revealed their great difficulty in living with a non-vegan
spouse. As was seen in many of the questions, there was a diversity of thought on
With the question: ‘Would you object to being romantically involved with someone whois not vegan?’ the responses boiled down to three categories of responses: Yes,they object, No, they don’t object, or they could be with a vegetarian; but not a
meat-eater. The recently converted vegans tend to object less than the long time
vegans, in many cases. Many of the responders who did not object were actually not
totally vegan themselves, I noted. Just a few responders identified themselves as
There was a bit of a “Fun Break” with the question: ‘What is your sexual
orientation?’ The majority of the responders, by far, were heterosexual; same as in
society. There seemed to be a generational divide in this question. Older responders
answered “Man and Wife” or “Normal” while younger responders said “Equal
opportunity”. Perhaps this question didn’t have much relevance to veganism, but it
had some fun answers!
Surprisingly, many responders answered ‘no’, ‘not at all’ and even ‘definitely not’
to the question ‘Does being vegan influence how you relate to others?’ More than
half of the responders said yes, though. Most responders felt they could be closer
with vegans; that there’s an immediate bond, and choose the company of other vegans
over non-vegans. The word ‘judgmental’ was seen A LOT with this question, as vegans
are often perceived by people as elitists or acting ‘holier than though’. Many
vegans explain that they can’t help but being judgmental towards non-vegans, but
most of them keep those judgments to themselves and are kind to all.
Some responders said they would not associate with persons involved in blood sports,
hunting, rodeos, circuses, slaughterhouse workers, and some won’t sit at the table
with meat-eaters. Many responders eloquently explained their feeling of isolation or
alienation from society, while others consciously choose to be a part of society in
order to influence others. Plenty of responders explained that becoming vegan has
made them a kinder, gentler, more compassionate and better person towards all human
and non-human animals. Some vegans are careful in their approach so as to dispel the
stereotype of the preachy, condescending vegan.
There were plentiful good responses to the question: ‘Is your veganism directly
related to the influence of a relationship?’ Many of the responders came to their
veganism from a relationship’s influence (whether it be a parent, sibling, spouse,
lover, friend, child, activist or a non-human animal.) But even more said they made
the choice all on their own or that they ‘self-educated themselves’. Numerous
responders mentioned their relationship to animals as the major influence. Others
said it was their relationship to the planet, to logic, to the Great Spirit, etc.
A large percentage of survey responders were influenced by books and DVD’s rather
than a relationship. It became apparent just how good books and educational
materials are at spreading the message. Frequently mentioned materials were: John
Robbins’s books, especially DIET FOR A NEW AMERICA, the books: SKINNY BITCH (Rory
Freedman), THE CHINA STUDY (T. Colin Campbell), MAD COWBOY (Howard Lyman), and VEGAN
FREAK. Also mentioned were the films, EARTHLINGS, THE PEACABLE KINGDOM and THE
WITNESS (Tribe of Heart) as well as the video, MEAT YOUR MEAT (P.E.T.A.). Other
responders mentioned influences like P.C.R.M. (Physicians Committee for Responsible
Medicine) and S.A.F.E. (Save Animals from Exploitation) or attending animal rights
workshops/camps by organizations like Farm Sanctuary or P.E.T.A., etc.
Another question that was related in that many of the same titles/authors were
mentioned was, ‘Have you influenced others to become vegan?’ Here we saw an array of
thoughts from ‘It’s my life’s mission’ to ‘I don’t try anymore’. Some responders
feel so judged and ridiculed when trying to share the facts, and have thus become
quiet about advocating veganism in society. Many let books/DVD’s/
literature/websites do the speaking for them. Many believe just being an example is
the best approach. Numerous responders shared their disbelief in people who won’t
listen or won’t change, even after hearing about the horrific conditions animals are
subjected to. Once again, we see the overall conclusion, there are vegans and there
are vegans. Quite a few responders said they had not converted a lot of people (or
any) to veganism, but have influenced them to make more ethical choices, or to be
vegetarian, at least.
Survey responses to the question ‘How are your friendships with vegans different to
your friendships with non-vegans?’ ranged all the way from “I don’t have non-vegan
friends” to “they are not different; and it’s absurd to think they are.” Some
thoughts repeatedly heard were:
1) Sharing meals with vegans was much easier; eating with non-vegans is difficult or
impossible for some vegans.
2) You can talk about animal rights issues or vegan food & shopping, but non-vegans
would just roll their eyes at you.
3) And plenty thought vegans talk A LOT, A LOT about veganism or food; lacking in
4) Many described other vegans more like family, than friends. Many said it was
easier to be close or intimate with other vegans or of the implicit bond between
vegans. Many responders agreed that they respect vegans more than non-vegans and
it’s hard to get around that, even if it seems wrong. Quite a few responders used
the word “deeper” to describe their friendships with vegans.
5) Vegans can relax more in the company of vegans, because they can chill out from
all the explaining and teaching that goes on with non-vegans.
6) Repeatedly I heard from responders that they don’t know other vegans (except for
on-line), so had no basis of comparison.
7) A huge portion of responders did not see a difference in their friendships with
vegans or non-vegans.
There was a general consensus of ‘yes, very’ to the question ‘Are the vegans you
know healthy?’. Common responses to the question were: clearer skin, regular bowel
movements, allergies disappearing, and rarely, if ever, getting colds and flu’s.
Vegan responders raved of good blood work, lower blood pressure and cholesterol.
Apparently, vegans are more active and have more energy. And the adjective “happy”
was used quite a bit to describe the health of vegans.
Most agreed that vegans are more informed than the average person about nutritional
requirements. Plenty of responders indicated better health since going vegan. Sadly,
a couple responders have battled with cancer (ovarian, breast) but have pulled
through. Veganism is not a cure-all in and of itself (as far as health). We live in
a toxic world. It is important to eat plenty of raw greens, veggies and fruit and a
balanced whole foods vegan diet, and live a healthful lifestyle; but not all vegans
do that. Some eat loads of processed junk food, especially in vegan-friendly towns,
where options are available.
Several U.K. responders mentioned pallid vegans, or men being too thin. There is far
less obesity seen amongst vegans, but there are overweight vegans. I noted several
of those responders who reported vitamin deficiencies (B12 and D) were from New
Zealand or U.K. Many of the responders were physically fit and enjoyed running,
yoga, aerobics, athletics, mountain-climbing, cycling, and working out at the gym.
And vegans in their 60’s and 70’s still work and are active.
The survey question: ‘How do you meet other vegans?’ became an enormous and very
interesting list. Another amazing list born of the survey was in response to the
question: ‘Are there any activists or celebrities that have inspired you? (Joaquin
Phoenix made it to number one on that list by a huge majority). You can see both of
these lists, as well as links entitled ‘Words from Vegan Activists’, ‘Highlights
from Around the World’, and ‘A Spotlight on the under 18 year olds’ with the
complete survey results, seen here:
The statistics of the extent to which survey responders take their veganism
indicated that there are a lot of people identifying with being vegan, but not
always adhering to the guidelines of The Vegan Society or the definition of the word
A huge percentage of the responders, who think of themselves as vegans, are
purchasing and feeding meat/animal products for their companion animals, and some
believe it is the right thing to do. Some responders admitted to feeling conflicted
or guilty, so for those who want to learn about feeding companion animals a
plant-based diet, see photos of vegan dogs, learn about marketed vegan pet products,
as well as home-made vegan meal planning for pets, with some collaborating words
from a vegan vet, see
The question ‘Has being vegan changed your relationship to animals?’ evoked so many
heartfelt responses. Many responders think it absolutely has, of course. Many others
said no, because they have ALWAYS felt a kinship with animals. One idea was voiced
in many different dialects from around the world, and it became apparent that, not
all, but most of the responders were vegan because of the animals, first and
Most of us were not fortunate enough to be born vegan and the majority of survey
responders did not know vegan children. However, the ones who did, for the most
part, raved of their health and intelligence. I am not personally an advocate of
continuing the overpopulation of Earth, but for those who have chosen to have
children (unlike myself); the complete survey results reveal an assortment of quotes
from vegans worldwide in response to the question: Do you know any children/people
that are vegan from birth?
Generally speaking, college towns and metro areas have more vegans. Many vegans are
isolated and don’t know any other vegans but themselves. A popular response (from
differing locations) was ‘not enough!’ in response to the question ‘Are there many
vegans in your area?’ The most responses came in from the United Kingdom, with the
state of California following right behind. In the complete survey results, from
around the globe, you can see where responses came in from along with remarks from
the responders on the vegan population of that area. Survey responders told of
cities that are referred to as ‘Vegan Heaven’ or ‘A Vegan Mecca’ or ‘The Vegan Freak
Capital of the World’; others revealed their location as the most vegan-unfriendly
place in the world.
The question ‘When did you become vegan?’ revealed responses like: “I went vegan as
a new year’s resolution”, “I went vegan with F.A.R.M.’s ‘Meat-Out’’, “I went vegan
when a P.E.T.A. workshop came to my city” or “I went vegan after reading DIET FOR A
NEW AMERICA in the 80’s”. Some were vegetarian prior to becoming vegan, and some
had ‘vegan days’ while vegetarian; leading up to their full commitment. Quite a few
responders from the U.K. were vegan since the 70’s and 80’s, which had a historical
feel to it since the first vegan society was formed in the U.K.
Don’t deprive yourself of the entire results filled with quotes from vegans
worldwide. See the results here:
M. Butterflies Katz
www.veganpoet.com (Vegan-Environmental poetry/Informative & Inspirational Articles;
such as Veganic Gardening, Feeding Pets a Plant-Based Diet and More!/Vegan
Relationship Survey Results/Vegan Links Galore!)
VEGAN RELATIONSHIP SURVEY RESULTS:
COMPLETE SURVEY RESULTS LINK:
HIGHLIGHTS FROM AROUND THE WORLD:
WOULD YOU OBJECT TO BEING ROMANTICALLY INVOLVED WITH A NON-VEGAN?
WORDS FROM VEGAN ACTIVISTS: