I just tried to very politely give a group of people my opinion on something: I am a vegetarian. I have been for over 12 years. I do not get up in people's faces about it, I do not yell at them for eating meat. I have many good reasons for my decision, but I also realize there are many good choices I do not make. I am totally respectful of the decisions of others, all I ask is to be respected in return.
People love, love, LOVE to make fun of vegetarians. Often it is as a cruel response to a perceived weakness "Oh, you care about bunnies? let me try and exploit that by talking about how great killing bunnies is." However more frequently it is not so overtly malicious. There is the image of the 'crazed vegan' yelling 'Meat is Murder'' at you, and people love to make fun of it. Then they transfer that to anyone who doesn't eat meat. They stand proud of the fact the kill bunnies and cows for their food (for the record, I have significantly more respect for anyone who has actually kept and slaughtered an animal and actually knows what they are talking about). Vegetarians and Vegans are just sooo much fun to mock. I mean, what's funnier than someone with a conviction whose actually walking their talk, right?
Let me be really clear. I am NOT writing this to tell you all why you should be vegetarian or vegan. If you want to know why I believe it is a good choice, ask me in person and I will be happy to talk about it. I made this choice long ago, and I am satisfied with it. I try to set a quiet, respectful example to others. If nothing else, I control my particular influence on the planet. I generally do not engage in any of these conversations, I let it go. But lately I'm just getting a little tired of it. What the hell is so threatening about me making a choice you haven't? Why do you need to pounce on me? If I respect you, why can't you do the same to me?