Why do vegans refer to people who eat meat as "meat eaters" or "carnivores"?

It a misrepresentation because most "meat eaters" are actually omnivores who eat meat, fruits, vegetables, and grains. Why is our consumption of meat the only part of our diet that is emphasized?

Bubba Gubbins

It's called sensationalism.


A "meat eater" is a carnivore - something like a lion or a tiger. Its not "a person who eats meat" it's a creature that eats only meat. The obvious words to use to describe humans who include meat in their diet would be "people" or "ordinary people" or if the context requires it, "non-vegetarians". A minority of vegans (and some vegetarians) want to give the impressiion that their diet is the norm and that a special term is needed for people who are not vegan or vegetarian, so they use the term "meat eater" which also carries the implication that anyone who is not a vegan or vegetarian is sub-human. Of course, the truth is that people in general follow an omnvorous diet and that the "special term" is needed for people who don't because they choose to exclude meat. Added, obviously there are some people who use these terms because they don't know any better - they don't know they are incorrect. In the same way there are people who seriosly believe that veganism prevents cancer, diabetes, heart attacks etc. They are not lying, they believe it. Simpson G (a previous answer) has given a thorough, articulate justification for the use of these terms to describe "people". The problem is that they already existed (and meant exactly the same thing - a creature that eats only meat) before the "invention" of veganism in the 1940s. Added (again) - a couple of people ask what we'd prefer to be called. Personally, it's the ignorance and the offence that's meant to be caused that bothers me (but only very slightly). Usually when the term "meat eater" is used, it's followed by some kind of insult or criticism of people who aren't vegetarian. Most of the time the appropriate term would be "people". I looked for a question to use as an example and found: "Why do meat-eaters hate vegans?" Why not just ask, "Why do people hate vegans?". I'd say that 90% of the time, "people" would do nicely and won't cause any kind of confusion at all. People seem able to wade through the atrocious spelling and grammar, usually without problems. Of course, in casual conversation, IF a specific term was needed, "meat eater" is far more sensible than "a person who eats meat" but only slightly better that "non-vegetarian". This isn't casual conversation though, it's the internet where written English and a reasonable amount of thought and care are needed. The main thing that I find irritating is the notion that a special term has to be made up for the huge majority of people rather than the tiny minority that deviate from the norm.


its an easy way to say it. No its not exactly right but if they called us omnivores, it doesn't make sense since all humans are omnivores, including vegans, vegetarians, fruititarians, pesctatarians, etc, etc.

Lim Yuan

It can be any number of reasons, for simplicity when describing a diet, him and the other meat eaters had the roast turkey that day, it kinda rolls off the tongue better than him and the other omnivores. It can also be used as an insult those "damn meat eaters", still better rolls off the tongue. Its one of those words whose tone and context is needed to imply any hidden messages....


We are all omnivores; it’s a species classification, not a diet choice. Being omnivorous means that we can survive and thrive on a diet that includes meat or on a plant-based diet. Omnivore is not simply a term for someone whose diet includes meat. As a species humans are omnivorous - we are neither carnivores nor herbivores. ‘Meat-eater’ is often used as a matter of convenience when discussing people's diets to identify those whose diet includes meat. There is no implication that a person so described eats only meat (or that eating meat is all they do); it's simply used to distinguish those who eat meat from those who don't when that is the subject under discussion. And 'person whose diet includes meat' is in fact the only possible alternative to 'meat-eater' in such discussions. That's a bit of a mouthful, and a lot longer than 'vegetarian'. What word or term would you prefer, bearing in mind that omnivore is as incorrect as carnivore?

Does Not Play Well With Others

The words "meat eaters" and "carnivores" are veganism and ethnic slur typically directed at omnivores used to dehumanised them

Jeff H

Factually, the term would be fully omnivorous since people who consume meat as a part of their diet take advantage of the full range of nutrients available to us. The facts are that, no matter how much they claim to be, vegans are omnivores, they do not magically become herbivores (such as claimed in the comments to one answer) simply because they choose not to consume animal or animal based products. The fact is that humans cannot obtain all of the necessary nutrients for a healthy life solely from a plant based diet, they must take supplements to meet the necessary shortfalls in their required nutritional needs. When this is brought up some tend to state how little is actually required however that is irrelevant since the lack of these nutrients will create significant health issues in the long term. As to why only a part of the diet is emphasized seems to me to be a way of insulting, in many cases, those who do not choose to undertake their specific dietary lifestyle. The sad thing is that most people who are fully omnivorous have no issues with vegans as long as they grant them the same respect, something that some of the trolls on here and some vegans in real life refuse to do.

Simpson G.

Because you eat something they don’t, meat, and that’s how you differ. It’s obvioisly not a list of what you eat; it’s highlighting what you/they do differently. The term carnivore isn’t correct, you are right. And I’ve heard plenty of meat eaters brag about being carnivores. It’s a term that’s more evocative than “omnivore”. I will say, however, carnivores often eat things other than other animals. Wolves snack on berries. Cats chew on grass. Bears eat acorns.


I never understood this either. My dad does it and I said it as a kid till I realize how stupid it was

M'aiq The liar

Okay, then what would you prefer us to call "people who eat meat" if not "meat eaters"?


vegans get more flack than meat eaters


It is to be emphasized too!


Animals are tasty

Nerdy Keith

I suppose omnivore would be more accurate. But the reality is vegans do not support animal slaughter and if you consume meat that is what you are supporting. If you've got a person convicted of murder, do you think people are going to be interested in hearing about their work in a charity shop? No of course not, because it will not take away from the fact that they have taken a life. Omnivores eating plant foods as well as their meat, doesn't take away from the fact that they eat meat at all.


It is a handy distinction. You have vegans and you have ____. Since to me vegan is a lifestyle and not just a diet I prefer "carnist". A carnist is someone who believes its OK to eat meat. It also seems to me to be a less derogatory term.


to point out their flaw. you should be more concerned with the fact that omnivore means, you can eat plants and animals. It does not mean you need both. Anti vegans often try to use 'omnivore' to mean vegans are wrong.