You Are What You Pretend to Eat


A recent subgroup of vegetarians is making waves in the animal rights movement. Calling themselves anti-imitarian, they demand that people not only stop eating foods made from animals, but any foods that look like animals. “Finally,” bystander Dora Stevens observed with relief, “the phrase ‘I don’t eat anything with a face’ will have actual, literal meaning.”

Some find the new demand confusing, as surely there can be no harm in eating animals that don’t actually exist in the first place. When asked about this, Casey Bielski, spokesperson for the movement, sniffed, “I wouldn’t expect a Finn-the-Cheddar-Goldfish-killer like you to understand.”

“Eating animal-shaped food blurs the line between fantasy and reality,” says Aloysus Krause, another advocate of the new diet, “Do you know how many children who grow up eating cow-shaped animal crackers go on to eat hamburgers? Once someone’s bitten off the head of a Goldfish, how long is it until they go to a restaurant and order filet mignon?”

The list of banned foods is surprisingly extensive, including but not limited to animal crackers, Teddy Grahams, gummy bears, gummy worms, novelty-shaped pancakes, cashew turtles, Goldfish, and Swedish Fish (unless you’re a pesca-anti-imitarian).

Of course, as with any new diet fad, members are divided on various gray areas. Some, for instance, avoid food named after animals as well, like zebra cake and ants on a log, while others see no issue with it. Egg-shaped foods like Cadbury Eggs are divisive as well. When asked about the ethicality of gingerbread men, though, most anti-imitarian agree that it’s probably fine.

That the trend is facing some criticism is no shock, though it does have enemies in surprising corners. The conservative right, for instance, condemns the trend, accusing the groups of trying to take the ‘Eat’ out of ‘Easter’. [Editor’s note: “Eat-ster”?] “Jesus himself ate Peeps and chocolate bunnies on Easter Sunday,” said Pastor Brim Thunderstone, “Saying it’s wrong for us to do the same is a violation of our religious freedom.”

Despite this, the group is determined to press on with its agenda, though not without some minor setbacks. “We’re having a little trouble coming up with a good slogan,” marketing representative Erika Valditi admits, “‘Fake Meat is Fake Murder’ seems a bit counterproductive, and ‘Fake Meat is a Misdemeanor Crime Punishable by a Fine of up to 5000 Dollars and Six to Eight Months in Jail’ doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. ‘Fake Meat is Fraud’, maybe?”

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