Nottingham Vegetarian/Vegan Meetup Group Message Board › Why Are You Vegetarian?
|A former member||
A while ago I started a thread on a message board asking people why they were vegetarian. I've long been interested in this subject because I think a lot of people, both meat-eaters and vegetarians, assume there can only be one or two reasons, when actually after some thought I could work out 8 or 9. It is possible to have more than one reason at once of course.
In a 6th form discussion I claimed that if you didn't eat meat it had to be because you thought it was morally wrong, but several people pointed out that someone may just not like meat, they didn't have to have a moral opinion on it. I realised they were right, and after some years I also realised that my own vegetarianism was more to do with being personally repelled by meat than any kind of ethical basis. I no longer considered it 'wrong' for meat-eaters to eat it.
Since then I have encountered many more reasons. And what I find is that both meat-eaters and vegetarians often make wrong assumptions about why a vegetarian is one. E.g. "if someone doesn't want to eat meat themselves they must want to convert others to the same". Or "just because someone is not eating meat it must mean they don't like it". It may not be so.
Here are the options I chose for that message board poll:
1. ETHICAL: I believe meat-eating is wrong
If your reason is a moral belief, e.g. in an animal's right not to be killed and eaten by humans (altho it could be something else)
2. EMOTIONAL: I am simply repelled/disgusted by meat
If your choice is simply personal and based on emotional/visceral response
3. HEALTH: I avoid meat cos it has bad health effects
Examples being saturated fat, hormones, anti-biotics, BSE, digestive problems...
4. PERSONAL ECONOMIC: Meat is too dear for me
A choice - or sometimes a necessity - of some poor people, since meat is usually more expensive than vegetable foods
5. POLITICO-ECONOMIC: Meat is too dear for the planet
Based on the perception that meat production requires so much more land and veg produce that could otherwise be used/eaten much more efficiently by humans
6. RELIGIOUS: I follow my religion's rules on diet
The best examples being Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism
7. CULTURAL: Meat isn't traditional where I come from
If people have grown up in a culture - or household - where there is no or little meat and they have not learnt to include it in their diet
8. SPIRITUAL: I avoid meat's low vibrations
Some spiritual believers believe meat has lower energies than other foods, and avoiding it helps one's spiritual development
I'd be very interested in people's thoughts on this. Are there yet other reasons I've not included? Have I split hairs too much? Do you combine several reasons? Have you moved from one to another? How do you feel about meat-eating in others - especially your partner, children, friends, colleagues? Do you keep vegetarianism to yourself or try and encourage it in others, and for what reason? Did you go thru the same learning process as me where you realise you had been wrong about what reasons people may have, even for yourself?
Has this thread made you think again about why you're vegetarian?
|A former member||
I originally became vegetarian 18 years ago because I associated it with pacifism - i.e. I felt it was wrong to kill humans and vegetarianism extended this belief to animals. I guess this is a spiritual reason, which still holds for me, but I'm also vegetarian for many of these reasons posted but particularly the first three...
|A former member||
Have I split hairs too much? Do you combine several reasons?
I would maybe use different terms for my being vegetarian: philosophical, personal (tout court), or whatever other reason(s) may strike me at any given moment - we change our opinions on things frequently - but essentially I'm vegetarian because my life wouldn't make sense if I weren't: I would be insane by my definition of insanity. Maybe we could call this existential, which I don't really think is included in your list. But although this is a part of my vegetarianism that perhaps doesn't have any part in your eight categories, I would certainly also include your first two - ethical and emotional - as subsidiary factors. This is huge.