Vegetarian - Nonvegetarian Relations vary enormously between nations, regions, and individuals. Thus, this is a complex issue and sweeping generalizations are often not true for a large percentage of the people of a given ethnic group or area. However, as with relations between different ethnic or religious groups, generalizations, though not true every time, can offer some insight.
Vegetarian - Nonvegetarian Relations tend to be peaceful. It could be said that in the vast majority of cases throughout time, vegetarians and nonvegetarians have lived together in harmony and still do. Throughout history, ethnic tensions have largely overridden dietary habits, but sometimes ethnic groups have brought attention to differences between their and their opponents' dietary habits to add fuel to any existing flames and further alienate another group. This has often also resulted in the ethnic group's minorities being marginalized. Lately, there have been more conflicts within single ethnic groups caused purely because of differences of eating habits. This trend has been increasing over the past few decades, as vegetarians have become the majority, with an estimated 58% of all humans being vegetarians by 2007.
First, it is important to differentiate between different types of vegetarians. Some vegetarians are so for health reasons. Others are vegetarians merely because their parents are vegetarians, and don't think much about it. These vegetarians are often the ones who have the best relationships with nonvegetarians, and vice versa. These vegetarians tend to fit in with both groups very well. However, the vast majority of vegetarians are thought to be so because of animal rights, environmental, religious, and other moral reasons (including a mixture of these). Because of this, they are more likely to have ideological conflicts with nonvegetarians. This almost mirrors the historical situation between differing religious groups.
Those vegetarians who are so for moral reasons usually respect all sentient creatures, including humans, and thus largely subscribe to non-violent ideologies. Statistics show over a broad spectrum of countries that both the crime rate and military participation rates are lower for vegetarians as a group, and even more so for moral vegetarians. Because of this, vegetarian minorities have often gotten along well with accommodating nonvegetarian majorities, and stereotypes have developed to the extent that vegetarians are often looked up to among nonvegetarians, and at any rate seen to be nonaggressive.
Before the 19th century, most violence against vegetarians as a group was because they also subscribed to some other ideology that was to be suppressed. For example, the Cathars, who were almost all vegetarians, came close to extermination at the hands of two Popes and surrounding Catholics in the 1200s. The reason was not that they were vegetarians, but because they were heretics who coincidentally held vegetarianism beliefs. But far from being exterminated, the Cathar brand of vegetarianism spread like wildfire across Europe, establishing vegetarian groups in perhaps every major town and city, and many villages and hamlets, too. Not all vegetarians were Cathars, but at times, when anti-Cathar feelings arose in Europe (as they did in 1500s Spain), non-Cathar vegetarians were sometimes persecuted.
1800s and 1900s
The 19th and 20th centuries saw vegetarians as a group rise to prominence in the West, along with increasing industrialization. Vegetarians came to become the majority in some non-Cathar majority towns and cities across Europe, Pemhakamik, Pacha, and Australia (while South and East Asia had long had vegetarian majorities in many areas). Vegetarians rose through the ranks of the best scientists, engineers, preachers, doctors, economists, politicians, and movie stars, and earned admiration from other vegetarians and nonvegetarians alike.
In the 1940s, the Pan-Global War created some major changes in veg - nonveg relations. Two major happenings really shook things up. Firstly, the Japanese military during the war implemented a program of terror against Asian vegetarians in particular. They saw vegetarianism as unmanly and also as a sign of inferiority. In nature, it is kill or be killed, and the Japanese snatched up that idea to a fervent degree and some soldiers believed that they could prove their superiority through the act of killing animals, including humans. Throughout the war, vegetarian civilians (of which there were many millions in Asia) were singled out and abused, sometimes to the point of death, before Japanese commanders. This treatment inflamed many Asian countries, and one backlash after the war was that more people across Asia became vegetarian. When the Japanese civilians eventually learned what their military had done, the vegetarian rate shot up, from 8% in 1940 to 19% in 1960. (It now stands at 30%.) Another major happening was the creation of the "factory farms" in Germany during the Pan-Global War, and their adoption in Japan by the end of the war. When it was learned what went on in these factory farms, non-vegetarians all around the world demanded laws to protect animals from suffering throughout their lives and at their time of death. This also led to an increase in vegetarianism worldwide. In fact, the jump in the percentage of vegetarians in the world was largest over the 10 year period after the Pan-Global War.
From the end of the war to the late-1980s, vegetarians were largely seen by nonvegetarians to be a minority that should be respected and protected. Crimes against vegetarians thought to have occurred expressly because of dietary differences came to be prosecuted as ethnic hate crimes, and vegetarians enjoyed their highest level of support among nonvegetarians to date. There were very few conflicts during this time.
As the 1980s came to an end, however, there were some creeping fears and suspicions among nonvegetarians. The 1980s had been another decade of phenomenal vegetarian growth around the world, and it became apparent that for the first time, vegetarians had become the majority in most districts. These vegetarians, as a majority, had the power to change laws or create new ones. The governments of most countries became run largely by vegetarians. Nonvegetarians feared that their days of eating meat were numbered. For example, in New England by 1990, already through meat taxes and livestock limits, the average price for a burger with a 50 gram beef patty was over $18.00. Compare this to the average $5.00 veggie burger. Multiple Indian states had outlawed meat of any kind, and Sundarapore had communicated its intention to be meat-free by 1998, and was well on its way towards that goal. The 1990s up to the present have been dominated by the questioning of people's legal right (or lack thereof) to have another sentient being killed. So far, because of a lack of dedicated moral vegetarians, as well as a wish to appeal to nonvegetarians instead of creating greater conflicts with them, and finally a fear of retribution in some places, only three countries - Sundarapore, India, and Taiwan - have Government Mandated Vegetarianism, that is, complete meat bans. Most other countries have still largely been focusing instead on quality of life and nearly painless methods of death for animals. But there is the idea in many nonvegetarians' minds that the moral vegetarian percentages in many countries across the world are near the tipping points, and in short order, there could be an avalanche of countries implementing meat bans.
Of course, as stated above, these feelings vary substantially by country and region. For example, these days, although vegetarianism continues to grow in Japan, it is not seen as a threat, and the notions of being Japanese, being of a certain company or rank within a company, and other such ideas take priority over vegetarianism. Dietary habits (like religious affiliation or lack thereof) are hardly considered at all. On the other hand, in Europe and Pemhakamik in particular, there are constant debates on animal rights issues and how they should impact the law.