November 15, 2011 9 Comments
Everyone is going green. People are much more conscious of the impact their choices have on their health, the health of animals, and the health of our planet. Part of going green is changing one’s diet to a more sustainable one, which usually involves completely eliminating or at least diminishing the amount of animal products one consumes.
The new growing fad in the green scene seems to be what is known in the vegan community as “pseudo-vegetarianism”. Pseudo-vegetarians are unfortunately mistaken though well-meaning people who claim to be vegetarian, but really aren’t.
Here is the simplest and most accurate definition of the word “vegetarian”:
Vegetarian (n.): one who exclusively eats vegetation
Pretty simple, right? Vegetarian –> vegetation. Makes sense. However, many people have much more different definitions of the word that can include dairy, eggs, sea life, poultry, or even cows, pigs, and other animals as well.
While it may seem painfully obvious to many of us, the fact is that there are still a great number of people who believe themselves to be vegetarian when they are really just pseudo-vegetarians. This post is for them.
Flexitarians are self-described “flexible vegetarians” who eat meat occasionally (usually between one and three times per week). Flexible vegetarianism is no more a form of vegetarian diet than flexible celibacy is a form of abstinence.
Pollotarianism and Pescetarianism
Pollotarians eat no meat other than poultry and pescetarians eat no meat other than aquatic life. People following these diets are often mistaken as to the definition of meat. Meat is defined as follows:
Meat (n.): the flesh of an animal as food
Being that chicken, turkeys, ducks, fish, shrimp, squid, shellfish, and other animals in the poultry and sea life groups are scientifically classified under the Kingdom of Animalia and are therefore animals, eating their flesh is not vegetarian.
Others following a pollotarian or pescetarian diet are doing so in transition to a vegan diet. This is a great step forward in the right direction, but they should never lose sight of their goal. Too many find it too easy to rest on their laurels and become lazy.
Whether you are an ovo vegetarian (eggs only), lacto vegetarian (dairy only), or ovo-lacto vegetarian (eggs and dairy only), you are still a pseudo-vegetarian. Remember what I said about vegetarians only consuming vegetation? Let me ask a few questions…
What plant does milk come from?
What plant does cheese come from?
What plant do eggs come from?
Just because it’s not meat doesn’t mean it comes from a plant, and it certainly doesn’t mean that you aren’t still funding the meat industry by purchasing dairy and egg products.
In the end, all animals end up at the same place: the slaughterhouse. “Spent” (as they are called in the industry) mother cows are turned into hamburgers, “spent” hens are turned into pet food and broth, baby boy calves are turned into veal only months (or sometimes even hours) after birth, and baby boy chickens are ground up alive or suffocated in garbage bags often by their second day of life.
If an animal is not an asset, they become a liability. The people in charge of dairy and egg farms want to squeeze every bit of profit they can from these poor animals and unfortunately, putting them out to pasture isn’t very profitable. I strongly urge you to read my pages on why dairy and eggs are bad. If you are a cheese addict (as many ovo-lactos are) you could benefit greatly from reading my post on why cheese is bad.
Don’t buy into the humane myth. Open your eyes and see the effects your actions have. You vote with every dollar you spend. Please do not vote in support of animal exploitation.
If true vegetarians don’t eat eggs or dairy, what is the difference between a vegetarian and a vegan?
The word “vegetarian” generally refers to one’s diet, while the word “vegan” generally refers to one’s lifestyle. Part of a vegan lifestyle includes eating a vegetarian diet. The reason vegetarians are not considered vegans is because they may still use other animal products in a non-dietary fashion, such as leather, wool, or pearls.
Why does it matter that I’m not technically a vegetarian? What would it hurt if I just keep calling myself one?
One: Words are powerful because they represent ideas and convey meanings. Saying that you are a vegetarian when you are not a vegetarian cheapens the word itself. The meaning becomes degraded through repeated misuse. This has already happened with the word “vegetarian” to such an extent that now many people believe that true vegetarians eat egg and dairy products.
Two: Because you are clearly interested in helping animals, our planet, and/or your health (or any combination of the three) by being a pseudo-vegetarian, wouldn’t you like to learn about how much more you could help? You’re already so close, why not go all the way? Calling yourself a vegetarian when you know that you are not a vegetarian doesn’t magically mean that you are helping more. If anything, calling yourself a vegetarian and not caring to actually BE a vegetarian hurts your health, animals, and our planet more because you’re NOT doing more.
I’m a pseudo-vegetarian. Now what?
If you’ve read this and are able to admit that you are indeed a pseudo-vegetarian, where does that leave you? On the bright side, the little bit you’re doing is still most definitely helping animals, your health, and our planet, and on this I must applaud you. You are at least aware of and open to the information and you are certainly helping animals by decreasing your animal product consumption.
If your aim is to help animals, your own health and the health of the planet, veganism is the only solution you should be working toward.
I understand that many current pseudo-vegetarians are working on going vegan and are just easing into it. That is perfectly okay. Some people just need more time. However, while you are taking your time there are still billions of animals being tortured, raped, abused, psychologically and physically tormented, taken from their mothers, exploited, and murdered. Please don’t lose sight of that fact. I hope you think of what they must endure every time you eat cheese, salmon, sushi, buffalo wings, or mayonnaise, because until you stop trying to go vegan and actually go vegan, they’re going to keep dying — and the blood will be on your hands.
Don’t live in denial. Realize the effects your choices have, admit to them, and do something about it. Only you are responsible for your own actions. It’s time to start practicing what you preach: live vegan.