Veganism has been on the rise in the US, nearing 3% in the American population (and 6.7% in #vegetarianism) and having doubled between 2009 and 2013. While for some this is simply a fad diet, it is a lifestyle change for many others and there is no debate that these numbers will only continue to grow.

Based on a survey of over 8,000 vegans conducted by Top RN to BSN, 45.06% of vegans slowly transitioned into the #Veganism by reducing meat intake over time. For most, veganism is not just a diet, it is a lifestyle change, habits are indeed difficult to break and institutional shifts cannot be instigated with the snap of a finger.

It is important to point out, as shown in the statistics, many vegans have reached this point today through gradual changes.

Credit belongs where credit is due

These are people who have decided to live against mainstream beliefs in a world that does not cater towards them and should be given credit for their sacrifices. Yet there is still strong sense of hatred and belittlement towards vegetarians, semi, pesco and those in between. There is an attitude that one is lesser because he has not quite yet given up dairy, or that she will still occasionally eat fish when she eats out. Vegetarians are treated as though they are not pure. This transitioning community is not separate from veganism but rather an incredibly valuable commodity towards the movement. These members are interpretive and mindful about bioethics, but they are often a group that receive the most shame and guilt for their so-called "inadequate" dedications.

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Belittling behavior will only incite greater backlash 

It is obvious that many stereotypes about vegans are a result of backlash against the movement -- as there will always be hatred and resistance towards a minority group voicing for change. Nonetheless, the one vegan stereotype that both holds true and absolutely must go is the demeaning, "holier than though" attitude, particularly towards those in transition. This behavior will not only create a loss in the credibility of the movement but also perpetuate stereotypes. Nothing is more disheartening and regressive towards the improvement of bioethics than for vegans to target and abuse the ones that have made far strides and will only continue to go further.  #Animal Advocacy