Phrases like ‘bringing home the bacon’ will go out of fashion as veganism grows, says academic
“Bringing home the bacon” or “killing two birds with one stone” will soon be phrases of the past as the rise of veganism “dethrones” meat-related metaphors from the English language, an academic has claimed.
Such expressions – which Dr Shareena Hamzah of Swansea University said came from the “power” associated with meat – would go out of fashion as awareness of vegan issues “filter through our consciousness to produce new modes of expression”.
The language expert said the negative effects of eating meat and meat consumption on the climate could force people to deliberately avoid powerful meat metaphors.
She said rising concerns about animal welfare would also prompt language to change, saying “some shift in language is inevitable”.
The comments come after animal charity PETA launched an initiative to encourage people to replace idioms such as “take the bull by the horns” and “bringing home the bacon” with alternatives like “take the flower by the thorns” and “bringing home the bagels”.
Dr Hamzah said meat metaphors could also “gain an increased intensity” if killing animals for consumption became less socially acceptable.
“The image of ‘killing two birds with one stone’ is, if anything, made more powerful by the animal-friendly alternative of ‘feeding two birds with one scone’,” she wrote in an article for academic website The Conversation.
“If veganism forces us to confront the realities of food’s origins, then this increased awareness will undoubtedly be reflected in our language and our literature.”
The academic said language would take a “long time” to change and said vegans and vegetarians may not necessarily want it to change at all.
She added: “It is interesting to note that a range of vegetarian burgers have been made to ‘bleed’ like real meat.
“Although the animal components of such foods are substituted, attempts are made to replicate the carnivorous experience.
“Beetroot blood suggests the symbolic power of meat may well carry into the age of veganism, in which case the idea of meat as power will also remain in literature for some time to come.”
The language debate comes as a tribunal decides whether veganism is a philosophical or religious belief after a man said he was sacked by a charity after raising concerns about its pension fund and it being invested into firms involved in animal testing.
Jordi Casamitjana claims the League Against Cruel Sports unfairly disciplined him for making the disclosure and that the decision to dismiss him was because of his philosophical belief in ethical veganism.
The charity says the man was sacked for gross misconduct.