Ah, bacon. It's the salty, crunchy food of the Gods. The perfect complement to pancakes! And, let's face it, there's nothing more salivating than listening to it sizzle in a pan while you butter some bread in preparation for a bacon sarnie. Unless, of course, you happen to be a vegan...
In which case, bacon is a reminder of how cruel we humans can be to animals, and, depending on your reasons for choosing a plant-based diet, a representation of the fact that we are slowly but surely destroying the environment with the livestock industry - according to WWF, omnivorous diets are responsible for 60% of the loss of global biodiversity.
Regardless of your stance on eating meat, unless you happen to be, well, to put it bluntly, a total a*shole, you should respect other people's right to choice; whether that means frying a whole packet of rashers every morning (although we don't recommend this for the sake for your heart and your waistline) or choosing to abstain from eating animal products completely.
Unfortunately, however, respecting other people's right to choose is something which often has to be learned over time. Case in point, this vegan schoolboy who was "punched by [a] bully who then tried to force-feed him bacon."
The shocking incident was revealed to the press by 14-year-old Dante's mother, Rachel. The pupil, who attends Milford Haven School in Wales, began his ordeal back in last year after moving to the area from Neath (also in Wales).
While bullying itself is nothing unusual, especially when the pupil in question has a difference which sets them apart from their peers, Rachel, 44, has been left disgusted at the abuse her son has suffered simply because he is vegan. In addition to the aforementioned incident, he's endured "weeks of meat [being] thrown at him" as well as another assault.
The first assault, the Metro reports, occurred in November of last year and involved the 14-year-old being punched in the throat in what was described as an "unprovoked attack". Then, on January 15, Dante was assaulted once again. This time, he was headbutted multiple times by another pupil who subsequently tried to force feed the 14-year-old meat.
Rachel revealed that a subsequent medical report stated that Dante was suffering from post-concussion syndrome, which according to the Hywel Dda University Health Board, is the result of a severe head injury.
In an interview with the Mirror Online, Rachel said, "They tried to force my son to eat bacon."
"There's a group but one boy did the damage while the others watched. Dante got hold of the boy's wrists to stop him putting meat in his mouth.
"But he headbutted my son then started repeatedly punching him on the side of the head on the temple."
After the shocking incident took place, the school contacted Rachel to inform her that her son had been injured, and when she arrived to collect him, she was greeted with a shocking sight. Dante's face was "all red" and "looked like a tomato".
Traumatized by the assault, Dante did not return to school. However, he is scheduled to go back this week.
But Rachel remains concerned that not enough action has been taken to prevent a similar incident from happening in the future and punish those responsible for their actions, claiming that the school has "protected" the bullies.
In response to Rachel's claim, the headteacher revealed to the Metro: "The school has investigated the alleged incidents internally and the matter has been dealt with in accordance with the Governing Body’s approved policies and procedures."
"The school wishes to make clear that it takes the safeguarding of pupils and their school community as their prime consideration.
"In addition, we have assemblies, PSE curriculum and pupil voice where we regularly discuss Respect for others, diversity, tolerances, equality, and community."
While Rachel has considered moving Dante into a different school after the teen asked to move away, she said, "My little girl is in an absolutely fantastic school, so it's a quandary."
"Who do I let down?" she added. "I love both of my babies, but one doesn't want to move, and one hates it so much."