VegFest 2005 this weekend – and – vegetarian is as vegetarian does


The weekend of March 12th and 13th, Vegetarians of Washington is hosting VegFest 2005, a festival of vegetarian food.

This reminds me of a Time Magazine cover story from July 2002, wherein it was revealed that...

In a survey of 11,000 individuals, 37% of those who responded "Yes, I am a vegetarian" also reported that in the previous 24 hours they had eaten red meat; 60% had eaten meat, poultry or seafood.

Comments (35)
  1. Miles Archer says:

    My 6 year old claims to be a vegetarian. She doesn’t eat meat unless it’s a hamburger.

  2. Rob says:

    I guess "Vegetarian" is a bit of an umbrella term nowdays..

  3. Arta says:

    Perhaps in the States. Once, upon telling an American that I was vegetarian, they commented "But you still eat chicken, right?".

    This is interesting because I have found that in other places (specifically, the UK and Australia) ‘vegetarian’ really does mean that: no fish, no meat or seafood of any kind. I still ate fish when I first became a vegetarian (or more accurately, ‘piscatarian’), but stopped when it was pointed out to me that fish aren’t vegetables, which became my standard response to questions like "But you still eat chicken, right?".

    It’s funny how attitudes about this kind of thing vary from place to place :)

  4. Jim says:

    "Perhaps in the States. Once, upon telling an American that I was vegetarian, they commented "But you still eat chicken, right?"

    I get kind of tired of being ask that question (or Fish). I am from the states and for one reason or another my wife and I slowly stopped eating meat a decade ago. No particular reason just got tired of it and and went looking for other more interesting foods from around the world. We were in an area several years ago where getting a meatless meal was a major effort so I tried a shrimp dish. I was ill for a day. Guess I can’t digset it anymore.

    Also what bugs me is the first thing that people think is that you have to have a agenda for being vegetarian (PETA, etc.) We have none. Just don’t like the taste of it anymore. There are too many other great dishes out there to sample!

  5. Mat Hall says:

    Last time I was in the states and told someone I was a vegetarian I got a look that sort of suggested that had I confessed to being a terrorist, mass murderer, or Frenchman I’d have been more welcome, and that being some sort of non-meat-eating weirdo pervert I should consider myself lucky I’d been allowed in to the country. (I’d given up trying to explain that I was actually a vegan — I suspect that I’d have got lynched!)

  6. Jay says:

    Mat Hall: "Last time I was in the states and told someone I was a vegetarian I got a look that sort of suggested that had I confessed to being a terrorist, mass murderer, or Frenchman I’d have been more welcome, and that being some sort of non-meat-eating weirdo pervert I should consider myself lucky I’d been allowed in to the country."

    It’s funny how people are offended by other people’s choice of food. Once I had the opportunity (or bad luck) to talk to a person I would describe as the stereotypical militant vegetarian. In her eyes, I was a murderer or something worse for enjoying my schnitzel. The conversation was very discomforting.

  7. Mike Dunn says:

    Jim> You could be allergic. My mom can’t eat most kinds of seafood, including shrimp, for that very reason.

  8. Bob says:

    Also what bugs me is the first thing that people think is that you have to have a agenda

    Probably because often the only memory of vegetarians some people have are the vegan college campus groups that scrawl "Meat Is Murder" on public property.

  9. It’s sad that most people think that chicken and fish are vegetables. And many people can’t imagine what to eat when animals are excluded from the meal. Like this popular question: "So, you don’t eat any meat… what do you eat then?"

    Seems like it is very trendy to say that you’re vegetarian these days, so a lot of people who eat white meat (eg. chicken) say that they’re vegetarians. Lot’s of these surveys ends up with an incorrect result.

  10. Eric TF Bat says:

    In Australia, as far as I’ve seen, "vegetarian" means you don’t eat animal products; this includes the sort of products that are frequently seen in some of the low-clue eateries under the heading of "vegetarian option": bacon bits, chicken, anchovies, chicken stock, and so on. Vegetarians don’t eat fish, chicken or pork, so it’s not just a "I don’t like red meat" kind of thing. If you want to go one step further, you can be vegan: avoid cheese and eggs because they’re "stolen", in a sense, from the animals that suffered to produce them. Vegans will also avoid wearing leather, and possibly even wool (although you’ll find arguments either way, since sheep that don’t get shorn regularly end up feeling less comfortable than those that do). Halfway between you’ll find vegetarians who will eat cheese only if the rennet (an obscure ingredient) wasn’t made from calf stomachs, and will avoid gelatine in sweets and desserts because it’s made from the hooves of cattle. At the even more extreme end you’ll find fruitarians, people who hate the idea of even killing plants, and will therefore only eat plant products that don’t require death: fruit is OK, cos the tree lives on; carrots are not, because the carrot is the root of the plant, which then gets thrown away.

    I also coined a term for people who avoid eating "cute" animals like sheep and cows, but don’t mind eating ugly ones like fish and lobster: I call them "uglytarians". They’re making the world a more beautiful place!

    This is a hugely cultural and political issue. You’ll find extremists everywhere, and there are more bitter feuds between individual vegans who do and don’t wear specifically second hand woollen clothes, say, than you’ll find between George W and Osama B.

  11. boxmonkey says:

    I question the meaning of these results. Is it that people don’t know what vegetarianism is, or is it that surveys of this nature are terribly flawed because people will just make up answers without even reading the questions?

  12. It’s funny how people are offended by other people’s choice of food.

    > Once I had the opportunity (or bad luck) to talk to a person I would

    > describe as the stereotypical militant vegetarian. In her eyes, I

    > was a murderer or something worse for enjoying my schnitzel. The

    > conversation was very discomforting.

    I am not really wanting to turn this into another discussion war, but I guess you have to admit to yourself that there is a certain error in this logic. You are complaining about people questioning your "choice of food". But at the very same time you are questioning the choice of life of the living creatures which "serve" for your Schnitzel.

    Anyway, to reply to the other comments …. I always wonder how someone can consider a cow as meat but not a fish (or in my experience more seldom) chickens. Meat is Meat.

    A related URL: http://www.meetyourmeat.com

  13. Norman Diamond says:

    Meat is meat except for dogs (in some countries), whales (in some countries), horses (in some countries), etc. This doesn’t mean I favour torture of conscious animals or hunting any species to extinction, it just means I still think logically ^_^

    In some parts of India the difference between a veg meal and a non-veg meal is that the non-veg meal includes an egg. But yogurt seems to be pretty popular.

  14. Aaargh! says:

    "But at the very same time you are questioning the choice of life of the living creatures which ‘serve’ for your Schnitzel."

    I assume you don’t take antibiotics when you’re ill, nor clean your bathroom ?

  15. I assume you don’t take antibiotics when you’re ill, nor clean your

    > bathroom ?

    If you dont agree with me, then this is more or less fine. But dont try to come up with "arguments" which come not close at all.

    When I take antibiotics I am defending myself against "intruders" who harm my own life. I doubt you can say an innocent Schnitzel-source (aka cow) is doing the same.

  16. Petr Kadlec says:

    "I just don’t want to eat an animal that’s standing here inviting me to," said Arthur, "it’s heartless."

    "Better than eating an animal that doesn’t want to be eaten," said Zaphod.

    […]

    "A green salad," said Arthur emphatically.

    "A green salad?" said the animal, rolling his eyes disapprovingly at Arthur.

    "Are you going to tell me," said Arthur, "that I shouldn’t have green salad?"

    "Well," said the animal, "I know many vegetables that are very clear on that point. Which is why it was eventually decided to cut through the whole tangled problem and breed an animal that actually wanted to be eaten and was capable of saying so clearly and distinctly. And here I am."

    ;-)

  17. Aaargh! Dosent know a thing says:

    Maybe thats news for you but animals need food also.

    So for each 1 pound of meat produced you need at least 12 pounds of grains (to feed the animal), so you still causing more harm by eating animals than grains, the higher you go in the chain of food the more resources (water, food, etc…) are wasted, there is no magic.

  18. Miles Archer says:

    I knew a vegetarian chick from Santa Cruz who said she would never eat anything with a face.

  19. Tom M says:

    I remember watching a wildlife documentary about lions where a herd of african buffalo decided to attack the lions and their cubs. As I watched these huge muscular creatures trying to trample the lion cubs to death all I could think of was "Mmmm. Buffalo steaks!"

  20. Tom says:

    Alexander Muller,

    >First of all, eating no meat does not harm >anybody! This is a proven

    >fact, period.

    That may be true for adults, but a recent study on the effect of a vegan diet on children prompted the leader of the study to claim that denying children meat in their diets was morally wrong because of the significant detrimental effect on their mental and physical development. The same is also true for breast feeding women.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/4282257.stm

  21. SR says:

    This may be stating the obvious for many, but the concept of fish not being considered meat should be fairly undestandable (especially right now). AFAIK, catholics are not supposed to eat meat during lent, but fish is safe.

    My personal classification is that meat = muscle. I.e. liver != meat, it’s just liver. I do tend to judge food by taste exclusively, though, not by where it comes from or what had to die to produce it….

  22. > That may be true for adults, but a recent study on the effect of a

    > vegan diet on children prompted the leader of the study to claim

    > that denying children meat in their diets was morally wrong because

    > of the significant detrimental effect on their mental and physical

    > development. The same is also true for breast feeding women.

    You know, there are lies, damn lies and statistics. I wouldnt really

    call the USDA unbiased, least of all when they claim as one of their

    missions to "ensure profitability for farmers and processors".

    Anyway, what it definitely cant be is "being morally wrong or

    unethical", because that is already "murdering other creatures". What

    it could be – for human children and feeding women – is that eating

    small amounts of meat might actually give additionally required

    nutrients, but even that I doubt very much as there are plenty of

    counter studies which show that plain vegetarianism (I am not talking

    about veganism) does not have any negative effects.

  23. > This may be stating the obvious for many, but the concept of fish

    > not being considered meat should be fairly undestandable (especially

    > right now). AFAIK, catholics are not supposed to eat meat during

    > lent, but fish is safe.

    This is not about silly religious myths but about facts. The roman

    catholic church also speaks about not having sex before being married

    and so on.

    >

    > My personal classification is that meat = muscle. I.e. liver !=

    > meat, it’s just liver.

    If that is your personal classification then it is fine for you. But a

    fish is still a living and feeling creature and anybody eating fish is

    no vegetarian.

  24. Tito says:

    Just to toss something out on the debate… there is an alternate way of looking at the debate rather than the two ends.

    Another option is to look at how the animal has been treated and whether or not it was given a chance to live, or simply viewed as a meat-wad. So, consider this: eat meat (eggs, etc), but require it to be organic, free range, cage-free, no-GMO (not really applicable to meat yet, AFAIK), etc.

    It costs a bit more, but is well worth it.

    I’m not trying to convince (real) vegetarians they should eat meat or anything, just toss out an alternate way.

  25. Tito, of course this is a better way, but still not really acceptable, because the result is the same …. a murdered being

    Raymond, unfortunately it is a common behaviour in today’s (and probably also yesterday’s) world that people say something but act completely different. This does not only happen with vegetarianism but also in politics, religion, daily life …. and even in the IT – just have a look how people criticise things at Microsoft and accept the very same things with other corporations or organsiations.

    I think the actual problem is that ever since humans existed the majority didnt think independently but only followed the flow – or in newspeek "Hype".

  26. Gerrard says:

    What always amuses me is the fact that so many meat eaters seem to be closet vegetarians! Every time I’m at an event where there are vegetarian and non-vegeterian options, the veggie food is gone way before the more meaty stuff. I chuckle every time I see the "sausage and pepperoni" pie going to waste while all of the veggie pies are quickly devoured.

    I actually suggested to one admin that they should order more veggie stuff to adjust for the imbalance, but she jumped to the conclusion that I was making a moral argument ;).

  27. Mmm.. Veggies says:

    I hate when people confuse me with a vegetarian just because I like eating veggies. My favorite lunchtime meal these days is this veggie burrito listed on the menu as "Vegetarian". It’s great, but every time someone finds out that’s what I’m eating, they’re like "Oh, you’re a vegetarian now?". Kind of annoying.

  28. Aaargh! says:

    "When I take antibiotics I am defending myself against ‘intruders’ who harm my own life. I doubt you can say an innocent Schnitzel-source (aka cow) is doing the same."

    So you’re saying one life is worth more than another ? You’re willing to kill millions of living beings to stop them from harming 1 life (yours). (just an observation, I totally agree with this)

    "I doubt you can say an innocent schnitzel-source (aka cow) is doing the same."

    The cow is not harming me, but not eating the cow *does* harm me. In case you didn’t notice, humans are omnivorous, our entire digestive system is built for a mixed-diet, and we require certain nutrients we aren’t capable of producing ourselves.

    And what about carnivorous animals ? shouldn’t they be able to eat ?

    While one cow is killed to produce the nice juicy steak on my and a lot of other people’s plates. Dozens of animals die from farming equipment while growing and harvesting the same amount of ‘vegetarian’ food.

    Btw, if you your goal is to harm as little animals as possible, you should read this: http://www.wildlifedamagecontrol.com/animalrights/leastharm.htm

  29. > So you’re saying one life is worth more than another ?

    No, meat eaters are saying that!

    > You’re willing to kill millions of living beings to stop them from

    > harming 1 life (yours).

    This is something called self defence.

    > The cow is not harming me, but not eating the cow *does* harm me.

    First of all, eating no meat does not harm anybody! This is a proven

    fact, period.

    Secondly, this is exactly the point where your "argument" collapses.

    Jay complains about people questioning his "choice of food", while he

    is doing the same and questions the "choice of life" of other living

    creatures. This stands in no relation to self defence and hence your

    argument has simply no ground.

    If someone has got a reason to question the existence of someone else,

    then it is just as justified when someone only questions food habits.

    Have you watched the video at http://www.meetyourmeat.com ? If not,

    then please do so before posting another reply.

  30. Raymond Chen says:

    Okay people enough with the "meat is murder" arguing. My point with this article was the disconnect between people *saying* that they are vegetarian and actually *being* vegetarian. I’m making no value judgements about ethics.

  31. Merle says:

    Gerrard: I see that too, especially with pizzas. The veggie slices are usually the first to go.

    The few times I’ve been able to convince people to order a [pepperoni/onion/pineapple] pizza, that one also disappeared almost before I had a slice, even though everyone claimed it sounded disgusting. Sigh.

  32. Jim says:

    I just returned from an East Coast (US) trip. Finding a "vegetarian" meal was rather difficult in the smaller communities in central New York.

    I went to a Mediterranean Restaurant that had a whole section of "vegetarian" dishes. They all contained shrimp and fish except for the spinach pie. Don’t ask me why they did not call it what it was, Spanikopita, I don’t know. I also did not quite get the definition of "vegetarian" either.

    I have never seen this in the southwest US or southern California.

    Jim

  33. Jim says:

    "The few times I’ve been able to convince people to order a [pepperoni/onion/pineapple] pizza, that one also disappeared almost before I had a slice, even though everyone claimed it sounded disgusting. Sigh."

    The administrative assistant where I work makes special orders for me when we have lunch at meetings. I see the same thing with Pizza but not with Lasagna. One place makes an absolutely amazing veggie Lasagna but that one must just seem "wrong" to meat eaters.

    Jim

  34. Amit S says:

    When it comes to vegitarian food, pasta is one of my favorite choice. Also if thinking of some pure vegitarian and delicious food try Indian restaurant.

  35. "In a survey of 11,000 individuals, 37% of those who responded "Yes, I am a vegetarian" also reported that in the previous 24 hours they had eaten red meat; 60% had eaten meat, poultry or seafood." I’m so glad…

Comments are closed.

Skip to main content