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I think meat-eaters get so defensive because they believe that by opting out of something that they participate in, we are telling them that they are wrong.

Yep. Essentially, you're holding a mirror up to them and forcing them to look at the choices they make. You don't have to say a word; you don't have to be provacative at all ... just *knowing* you're vegetarian sets some people instantly on the defensive. My wife has to put up with snide comments almost every day from the people she works with because she's a vegetarian. Interesting, isn't it? If she got razzed about virtually anything else, it would count as harassment in the workplace. But because it's her eating habits, it's apparently OK to make her feel on edge all the time. And she's pretty much forced to eat lunch with everyone else in the break room -- eating at one's desk is frowned upon -- so she has no choice but to hear it every single day.

Granted, it's not openly hostile stuff she gets, but it's just the fact that everyone waits for her to show up so they can make their "Oooh, what's *that*? What did you bring in *today*?" comments, as if her lunch is some kind of freak show brought in for their entertainment. And then there are the comments about getting enough protein (plenty, naturally), whether she uses any leather products (no!), and on and on. She can't even get any relief from her boss, who has commented more than once, "I couldn't survive without meat." Well, obviously, you can. My wife and I are both vegetarians, and neither one of us is exactly wasting away. ;-)

Luckily, I seem to work with more enlightened people here at the Fool. (Hi, Lucky and HelloKitty!)

I know I'm jumping in late here, but I hope the original poster's situation has improved.
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