Being vegetarian
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Date: 13 June, 2005



'Are there ethical issues beyond not wanting to eat something that recognises its fellow creatures?'

Suzanne Elvidge looks at vegetarianism on the web.

The Vegetarian Society has issued a challenge to see if you can do it for a week (I managed it for around 20 years). So… what is a vegetarian? A vegetarian is someone who chooses not to eat meat or fish, or any products derived from animal carcasses (e.g. gelatine), but whose diet often includes dairy produce and eggs.

According to The Smiths. Meat is Murder. Morrissey of the Smiths is a vegetarian, and other well-known vegetarians range from Saint David to Alan Clarke.

So, why be vegetarian? Rosamund Young, author of ‘The Secret Lives of Cows’ says that cows are intelligent, social and complex creatures. But are there ethical issues beyond not wanting to eat something that recognises its fellow creatures?

According to Viva, eating meat causes environmental destruction, damages human health, contributes to global hunger and inflicts immense suffering on billions of animals across the world. Producing meat pollutes the planet and uses scarce water resources, and adds to poverty by using land to grow animal feed.

So… you’re persuaded (after all, some people think all Christians should be vegetarians) and want to go vegetarian. Once you’ve got your starter kit, you need some vegetables!

There are a number of organic farms and companies that will deliver veg boxes — selections of locally produced in season vegetables and fruit. Another route is to use a farmer’s market or farm shop. You might even be able to pick up some plants there to begin growing your own veg, perhaps even organically. Not got a garden? Well, try an allotment, a rooftop garden, or growing vegetables in pots.

From the vegetables, on to the recipes. These are all over the net (a search on Google for vegetarian recipes brings up nearly 4 million pages), from ‘Cordon Vert’ to fat free.

Many vegetarians and vegans carry their beliefs through to their clothes, shoes and even dog food. I personally do not recommend feeding cats a vegetarian diet.

If giving up meat and animal products isn’t enough for you, what about instinctive eating (no, I’d never heard of it either), being a vegan (no animal products at all) or fruitarian (only eating raw fruit). I’d maybe draw the line at being a breatharian though!



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