Why being Vegetarian is better than being Vegan ? (in our era)

  1. Page 1 : Veg Info
  2. Page 2 : Be Vegetarian or Vegan, that is the question
  3. Page 3 : Food sources for Proteins, Iron…

First, read the first page, in which I explain a lot of stuff about being Vegetarian and Vegan.

Vegetarian Vs Vegan

This is a sensitive point. Vegans will tell you that being Vegetarian is not good enough because also the dairy industry is cruel and involved in the killing of animals. The Vegans are right. For instance the male calves are killed after birth because the industry needs them less than the cows (which are producing also milk). In addition, the cows are treated cruelly during their live, till the moment they are slaughtered. The same goes for eggs. The industry is treating the chickens very cruelly.

So, to be Vegetarian or Vegan ?

There is a good case to claim that at this moment, in this context, being Vegetarian is good enough. Maybe in 30 years, the context will be different.

What do I mean “in this context” ?

  1. We are actually living in a non Vegetarian world, a non Vegetarian human society (but we want to change it).
  2. After being Vegetarian or Vegan, we still want to be part of society and not to isolate ourselves on an island.

Although there has been great progress regarding Vegetarianism in the developed countries, the statistics show that the world is eating more and more animals. It happens because developing countries like India and China are getting richer and they can afford (and want) to consume more animals. Also in developed countries it seems that the ones who are eating animals are just eating more animals. The number of Vegetarian and Vegans seem steady, at a maximum of 10 % in the best case, depending on the country. Usually it is just 3 %.

Why being Vegetarian can make more sense than being Vegan :

  1. Who is helping more to convert the society to one that refrains from eating animals, is it the Vegans or the Vegetarians ? I have a feeling that a person who is considering quitting eating animals could be really deterred by the difficulties of becoming Vegan and as a consequence abandon the all idea. It is one thing to convince someone to not eat animals and it is a complete other thing to ask someone to renounce eating ice-creams (and cheese). There is also the case of the individual who decided to become Vegan and found it too difficult. In that case it is more probable that the person will return to the habit of eating animals (instead of reducing the level of Veganism).
  2. Indeed, the statistics show it : There are more Vegans going back, compared to Vegetarians. You can find around you many old Vegetarians. There are persons who are Vegetarian all their lives. Look at Vegans and you will see mostly young people in their twenties who are Vegans for about a year or two (but preaching as if they were Vegans for many years). At least their intention is good. I always tell a Vegan, “I’ll talk to you in 5 more years, just to make sure you are who you pretend to be” (I am Vegetarian for about 40 years). There are much more Vegetarian in society compared to Vegans (my guess is 5 to 1).
  3. Being Vegetarian is not easy. Being Vegan can be a nightmare in some cases. The difficulty is not because of the diet itself, but because of the society in which we are living. The society today is organised to serve 95 % (or so) of the people who do eat animals, the Vegetarians are an exception. You always depend on a certain environment. It depends also on your lifestyle (eating outside or at home). Maybe in your country where you live there is a lot of available Vegan food but if you use to travel a lot it is a complete other story. I am travelling a lot and staying in Asian countries and I can confirm that finding Vegetarian options is sometimes very frustrating, I don’t want to imagine how I could survive as a Vegan in small villages in Asia (see my Vegetarian page for Bangkok and for Saigon). Even in Europe, it is not easy : a typical café or restaurant may offer 5 different salads: 4 of them will be with animals inside and 1 will be with cheese or egg inside (Caesar Salad, for example). As a Vegetarian you can still have that salad, but as a Vegan you need to go home and prepare your food.
  4. Physically (and mentally) people are not equal in the difficulty of renouncing eating animals. Anyone, can become Vegetarian. Eggs are an excellent source of proteins and can replace meat. On the other hand, there are tells of people who converted to Veganism and are reporting weaknesses and lack of Vitamins. It is probably not because of the Veganism itself but because of the difficulties of keeping a balanced diet in the environment that we are living. So, maybe Veganism may need more research. Veganism needs more adaptation of the infrastructures around us (Vegan food everywhere). Vegetarianism on the other hand, is totally safe and adapted to everyone, in all the environments.
  5. Regarding the moral issue (after all, that is the main reason for which we are renouncing eating animals):
    • Let’s not forget the context, we are living in a world where the vast majority of the people do eat animals. If you become Vegetarian you are automatically becoming a just person, relative to most people. If most of the people around you were Vegans and you were “just Vegetarian”, so there might be a problem, but unfortunately, this is not the case. By becoming Vegetarian, you are making a huge step in the right direction. Now it is the turn of the other people to make a step forward. When there will be a critical number of Vegetarians, we can maybe convert the cities to being Vegans. In other words, what I am saying is this : I know the situation is not ideal, I know that by being Vegetarian and not Vegan I am still causing the killing of innocent animals but I need the collaboration of other people in order to convert the world into a better one, I cannot do it alone.
    • When you eat eggs and dairy products, you are not causing directly the death of animals. Animals are being killed for eggs and milk because of the way that the industry is functioning right now (which wants maximum gains). Maybe, if saving lives will become a top priority, we may get these products from the animals without killing them and without causing suffering. The prices of milk and eggs will rise. So we may afford to a have a little bit of milk for the coffee or eating an ice cream from time to time and not for drinking milk like water. For eggs it could be even easier, but they will cost more.

So what is the right approach to promote the non killing of animals :

1. Reduce the consumption of Meat or better : Become Vegetarian

Most of things in life are achieved by a gradual effort. It is better to reduce meat consumption than to eat a lot of animals. If a lot of people will reduce their meat consumption it will have a real effect on the meat industry and will promote the appearance of more vegetarian products, for the benefit of all. (it is usually called a flexitarian diet).

2. Spread the Veg idea

Each of us has influence over the others, especially over the close environment. When you are eating in the same table with friends or colleagues, and you are Vegetarian, you spread the idea. People note that you are Vegetarian even if you are not preaching about it.
If you have more energy and motivation, you can participate in Veg events or Veg protests or create a Veg website, like I did.
Hopefully, with time, vegetarianism will expand in all countries, but it could take several generations till eating animals will be banned. Current efforts should focus on making vegetarianism more accessible and more prevalent in society.

3. Create a Veg business

There is nothing more effective to make people switch to vegetarianism than to offer them a product that is tastier, healthier and cheaper. Try to imagine if someone will succeed to build a vegetarian competitor to McDonald’s (I’m talking about a global network offering tasty burgers made of lentils, quinoa, etc. plus french fries and Coke). If you can’t create a McDonald’s then just create a Kiosk with Veg food.

In conclusion:

If you can be Vegan, go for it. It is just that in the world of today, even a Vegetarian is a righteous.

Continue to Page 3 – Veg sources for Proteins, Iron etc arrow1

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  1. Page 1 : Veg Info
  2. Page 2 : Be Vegetarian or Vegan, that is the question
  3. Page 3 : Food sources for Proteins, Iron…

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