Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Steak Doesn't Grow on Trees

OK folks, repeat after me: A vegetarian is someone who refrains from eating the flesh of animals. Not just on Mondays or Thursdays. Not just during daylight hours. Not just when it's convenient. It's a definition, not a judgement.

There is no such thing as a ''part-time vegetarian'' or ''casual vegetarian''. Someone who only eats a little bit of meat some of the time is an omnivore who only eats a little bit of meat some of the time. It's like saying that someone can be a ''part-time Christian'' or ''casual Christian''. A ''flexitarian'' is an omnivore who doesn't eat a lot of meat. It's not a subcategory of vegetarianism, regardless of how desperately one wants to cling to a label that doesn't fit.

Yes, eating less meat is good for your health, good for the environment and good for the animals whose lives aren't lost to end up on your plate. That being said: Meat eating isn't vegetarianism.


Unknown said...

God, thank you. If I have to hear that word one more time I might just start pelting them with tofu dogs (a horrendous death, to be sure).

J said...

I can't tell you how many flippin' times someone has asked me if I ate chicken or fish since they had met "vegetarians" how did. Now, I'm not an elitist with labels or anything, but this is frustrating, especially when it comes to someone cooking/ordering food for you. VEGETARIANS DO NOT EAT ANIMALS AND YES FISH ARE ANIMALS!!!!! What is so difficult to understand about this?!

mv said...

I keep hoping the terms "flexitarian" and "pescetarian" will catch on and people will start to notice that neither term has "vegetarian" (or any portion of the word) in it.

There's nothing that annoys me more than "pesco-vegetarian" or "semi-vegetarian". That's like saying "I don't eat flesh, except that I do."


M said...

Hi vegatee. The problem with the terms flexitarian and pescetarian is that people are using them as sub-categories of the term vegetarian. The "-arian" seems to be enough for them and they define the respective terms as forms of vegetarianism.

I do agree that pesco-vegetarian and semi-vegetarian are bunk. Unfortunately, as long as people keep using the terms flexitarian and pescetarian as sub-categories of vegetarianism, the confusion / misinformation will persist. I wish they'd just use something completely different.

mv said...

I don't know... No one confuses "carnivorous" with "herbivorous" just because they both end in "vorous". As for "pescetarian" or "flexitarian" being used as sub-categories of "vegetarian", I'm not sure I know what you mean. Can you give me an example?

M said...

I mean that people are using the term "pescetarian" in articles about vegetarianism and are using the term to refer to people who eat fish as if they were a type of vegetarian. I mean that people are using the term "flexetarian" to refer to term "semi-vegetarian" which you mentioned, and touting it as being a kind of occasional or part-time vegetarianism. Yes, the terms are a bit less onerous than "pesco-vegetarian" and "semi-vegetarian" but people are using them for the same purposes -- i.e. to refer to a sort of meat eating that they want to classify as a type of vegetarianism.