A few weeks ago, William Sitwell, the editor of Waitrose Food — a monthly magazine published by a British supermarket chain — decided to leave the mag after an email exchange in which he wrote about hunting and killing vegans went viral. Naturally, this led a lot of people to weigh in on veganism. The general consensus on Twitter seemed to be that vegans do, in fact, suck. Like really suck. Like Hoover-manufactured-a-sex-robot levels of sucking. Because now they made some nice British man lose his job. Those non-flesh eating monsters!
But that’s a shit takeaway. When freelance journalist Selene Nelson approached Sitwell, she wasn’t being a preachy vegan. She was a just an eager writer making a cold pitch to an editor who she hoped might be interested in some “plant-based meal” coverage for a publication that boasts over 680,000 monthly readers on its website. Statistically speaking, there had to be a relatively significant segment of that readership looking to add some veg-friendly dishes to their lives. Especially considering the UK’s current “vegan boom.”
Sitwell, however, clearly had a raging hate-on for vegans, which prompted him to reply in a totally unprofessional manner, as he wrote back with:
Hi Selene. Thanks for this. How about a series on killing vegans, one by one? Ways to trap them? How to interrogate them properly? Expose their hypocrisy? Force-feed them meat? Make them eat steak and drink red wine?
Oh, that saucy British humor! What a scamp!
The fact that the editor’s apologies were deemed insufficient and he lost his job isn’t about whether or not vegans can be preachy pains in the ass. That’s a given. It’s about his derisive mockery, which makes his ability to do his job suspect. It’s like the editor of Cat Fancy making some stale crack about killing hairless cats (don’t you dare Cat Fancy!).
As Waitrose magazine is run by a grocery store that’s made a huge push into vegan food over the last year, higher-ups were obviously invested in informing readers about how to make the most of them. There’s not much point in carrying jackfruit if no one knows what the hell a jackfruit is. And why would the store bother to make this change? Because, when you come down to it, meatless dining is not only an increasingly popular approach, it’s an environmentally sound one.
This year, the Institute for Agriculture & Trade Policy published a first of its kind study that examined the emissions from 35 of the globe’s largest meat and dairy companies. It turns out the five biggest meat and dairy corporations (JBS, Tyson, Cargill, Dairy Farmers of America and Fonterra), when grouped, are currently responsible for more annual greenhouse gas emissions than ExxonMobil, Shell or BP. Hell, the combined emissions of the top 20 meat and dairy corporations exceed those of entire nations like the UK, Canada, Germany, and Australia. The footprint of large-scale factory farming is unfathomably massive.