Phrases like ‘bring home the bacon’ and ‘kill two birds with one stone’ should be culled to avoid offending vegans, says academic

"Bring home the bacon" could be changed to "Bring home the bagels".

bacon toasterImage Picture UK Space Agency (Max Alexander). Star City, Moscow.

PHRASES such as “bringing home the bacon” and “killing two birds with one stone” will soon be sayings of the past as the rise of veganism “dethrones” meat-related metaphors from the English language, an academic has claimed.

Dr Shareena Hamzah of Swansea University said expressions such as those listed above come from the “power” associated with meat, and will go out of fashion as ethical veganism “filters through our consciousness to produce new modes of expression”.

Writing on academic website The Conversation, the language expert said rising concerns about animal welfare as well as the negative effects of meat consumption on the climate will prompt people to deliberately avoid meaty idioms.

“If veganism forces us to confront the realities of food’s origins, then this increased awareness will undoubtedly be reflected in our language and literature,” wrote Dr Hamzah.

Animal rights charity PETA recently launched a campaign to axe meat-related idioms (Image: TeachKind)

“The increased awareness of vegan issues will filter through consciousness to produce new modes of expression.”

The researcher’s comments come after animal rights charity PETA launched a campaign to encourage people to replace phrases such as “take the bull by the horns” and “flog a dead horse” with vegan-friendly alternatives such as “take the flower by the thorns” and “feed a fed horse”.

Another expression – “more than one way to skin a cat” – could be amended to “more than one way to peel a potato”, according to PETA chiefs.

Dr Hamzah said that “some shift in language is inevitable” but admitted it was unlikely such sayings could be culled completely.

She added: “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’.”

PETA’s animal-friendly alternative phrases:

  • Out: “Bring home the bacon” In: “Bring home the bagels”
  • Out: “Let the cat out of the bag” In: “Spill the beans”
  • Out: “All your eggs in one basket” In: “All your berries in one bowl”
  • Out: “Open a can of worms” In: “Open Pandora’s box”
  • Out: “Flog a dead horse” In: “Feed a fed horse”
  • Out: “Hold your horses” In: “Hold the phone”
  • Out: “Killing two birds with one stone” In: “Feeding two birds with one scone”
  • Out: “Taking the bull by the horns” In: “Taking the flower by the thorns”
  • Out: “More than one way to skin a cat” In: “More than one way to peel a potato”
  • Out: “Be the guinea pig” In: “Be the test tube”.

“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 normalise abuse,” PETA says on its website.

“Teaching students to use animal-friendly language can cultivate positive relationships between all beings.”

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