Anyone living in France knows that being a Vegetarian in France is tough. There are hardly any restaurants that have one dish without fish, meat, eggs or shellfish. And to be vegan, it's totally impossible. No animal products at all. Not even cheese, honey or gelatin? Zut Alors.
Not that I don't think that vegetarian have the right to be so, but in the US, they seem to be a quiet 'born again' movement. Recent converts to the no-meat church, try to recruit others, the way that evangelicals do. They bring out all kinds of arguments about morality, healthy, and an almost euphoric feeling that not eating meat will bring, similar to how I suspect Evangelicals talk about accepting the holy spirit. Vegetarians aren't content letting you get by with eating your hamburger or chicken soup for lunch, they have to try to use this as a teaching moment about how your soul is jeopardy. I think that evangelicals reserve that kind of scrutiny for teenagers trying to get into abortion clinics.
I used to share an office with a vegetarian. Last December my Frenchie had called me to ask me about how much foie gras we should order for Xmas dinner. Well this didn't sit too well with my officemate. For hostility usually reserved for genocide, I was called every horrible thing imaginable. We didn't speak to each other until the following spring. How awkward, spending 8 hours in an office with someone and not saying hello or how was your weekend. He also liked to start sentences with 'You know what your problem is' .
The most ironic thing, is that most of these people have a problem with people talking about religion or imposing religious beliefs onto them. But at the end of the day, whether we call it religion or vegetarianism -- strong beliefs are just that and trying to convert your friends, officemates and neighbors can lead to conflict.