Phrases like “bringing home the bacon” and “flogging a dead horse” could be culled to avoid offending animal lovers, an academic has claimed.
Shareena Hamzah, from Swansea University in Wales, claimed the growing popularity of veganism could see people give meat-based metaphors the chop. It could mean historical sayings such as "taking a bull by the horns" or “putting all one’s eggs in one basket” become a thing of the past.
Writing on the academic website The Conversation, Hamzah claimed the growing influence of veganism will raise awareness of animal cruelty and put an end to meaty descriptions.
“In today’s reality, meat is repeatedly the subject of much socially and politically charged discussion, including about how the demand for meat is contributing to climate change and environmental degradation," she said.
"Studies have indicated the negative effects of meat-eating on the human body. When concerns about animal welfare are added to the broth, the growth of vegetarianism and veganism threatens to dethrone meat from its position at the top of the food hierarchy," she added.
“Given that fiction often reflects on real world events and societal issues, it may very well be that down the line powerful meat metaphors are eschewed. While it’s unlikely we’ll start saying that someone has been overlooked like 'chopped cabbage,' some shift in language is inevitable.
“The increased awareness of vegan issues will filter through our consciousness to produce new modes of expression – after all, there’s more than one way to peel a potato.”
Hamzah admitted it was unlikely such sayings would be completely cut out of the linguistic diet, and their more sparing use could in fact heighten their impact.
"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.'
“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 animal-rights group PETA has been pushing for "animal-friendly idioms" for some time, and has a list of suggestions people could use to avoid causing offense to vegans. Examples include “feeding a fed horse” instead of “beating a dead horse,” and “taking the flowers by the thorns” instead of “taking the bull by the horns."
“While these phrases may seem harmless, they carry meaning and can send mixed signals to students about the relationship between humans and animals and can normalize abuse," PETA writes.
“Teaching students to use animal-friendly language can cultivate positive relationships between all beings and help end the epidemic of youth violence towards animals."
This article originally appeared on The Sun. Read more content from The Sun here.