The growing popularity of veganism could lead to a cull of meat and dairy sayings, an academic has claimed.

According to Shareena Hamzah of Swansea University, phrases like "bringing home the bacon", "Killing two birds with one stone" and "flog a dead horse" may also go out of fashion.

Peta (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), an animal rights charity, is also behind the idea and has suggested changing expressions such as "take the bull by the horns" with "take the flower by the thorns".

Hamzah said the influence of veganism will raise awareness of animal cruelty and push people towards using less meaty metaphors.

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"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.

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

While she understands the phrases will unlikely be cut out of people's vocabulary completely, she hopes their more sparing use could heighten their impact.

She said: "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 also wants to replace the phrase "to flog a dead horse" with "to feed a fed horse".

Likewise, "more than one way to skin a cat" should become "more than one way to peel a potato", it says.

Alternative phrases

PETA has suggested the following can be used instead of meat-themed 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