First of all, hello everyone. I am new to this site and have found it on the most part to be very informative.

I have, however, also found an alarming amount of hostility and confrontation towards other members who do not share certain moral or ethical beliefs. I am a vegetarian, not a vegan. I take my vegetarian diet very seriously. I am comfortable with my personal ethical, moral and dietary choices.

That being said, I do have the upmost respect for those that have come to a personal decision that a vegan lifestyle is right for them.

Has anyone else found that vegetarians are often viewed as the half hearted, less disciplined counter parts to our vegan friends?

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I too am new to this group.  I became a vegan after 55 years, wandered to being more of a vegetarian, and now back to being vegan.  My reasons for being vegan are primarily health.  I do respect those who are such vegan/vegetarian based on moral issues, as my wife does.  My problem with being a vegetarian is it does not address the issues many vegetarians have with an unhealthy diet.  Not eating meat is good.  However, a lot of vegetarians eat an array of foods bad for their health.  Junk foods, processed foods, dairy, donuts, etc., would all be acceptable as part of a vegetarian diet, although a very unhealthy one.  I respect anyone's personal choice, even being carnivorous, but knowledge of the crap we put in our bodies and the health risks associated require much more education.

Exactly Lee, well said.  I've gotten a family member off Statins since going vegan and in addition eliminating other modern food problems namely sugar, salt, oils (not totally), soy, corn, wheat and peanuts. Wow, what a difference. To your health !

Speaking from a Vegan stand point, I think whether or not it feels like someone else is being hostile or confrontational in these discussions depends on why that individual chose a Veg@n diet. Not everyone makes these choices for the same reasons but if the reason is ethical, the discussion, even an uncomfortable one is warranted.

While I appreciate the efforts of anyone who practices a lifestyle that reduces suffering on any level, regardless of the reason, the notion that a vegetarian diet is somehow more humane than say that of a meat eater is factually incorrect and it's very difficult to have these important discussions without some people feeling offended. I believe most vegans feel the same frustration with so called ethical vegetarians as vegetarians feel when trying to explain their choices with their meat eating friends and families. It’s not meant to be a holier than thou attitude, we all can do better.

well said and so tactful!

Thank you for your replies. I find it interesting that both reponses are made by vegans. Hearing a view that is contradictory to your own is always useful, if for no other reason than food for thought. If I had never questioned my own meat eating choices, I would never have become a vegetarian.

From a health point of view, yes I can understand your point Lee. It is undeniable that some of the foods that are acceptable in a vegetarian diet are unhealthy, especially if eaten in large quantities. In my mind however, health is a secondary, though important consideration. The potencial death of the animal is more of a priority to me.

I can understand your frustration to a certain extent, Merryberry. I can appreciate the difference between not consuming flesh because of the death of an animal, and going a step further and not consuming any product that directly affects the suffering of an animal, such as eggs or milk. That I suppose, lies with the conscience of the individual.

However, as I am always looking for new information, please elaborate on the point you made that a vegetarian diet is not more humane than a meat eaters diet. I find this confusing, and I am not sure that I agree.

Hi Louise, I'm fairly new here also so bear with me :) I believe there are some "rare" exceptions to my statement but for the average Lacto ovo vegetarian, while their actions may help reduce the amount of unnatural death, the end of the line, so to speak, for egg producing hens is still to be slaughtered. Also, as part of the egg producing process, Male chicks are ground up for fertilizer since the majority of them are of no use to egg production. There is a large part of factory farming that includes the practice of searing off their beaks to keep them from attacking each other in their un-natural, cramped quarters. Where cows are concerned, when boy calf’s are born, the majority are torn away from their mothers and sent to slaughter for the veal trade so even though one might only be drinking the milk, the process of getting the milk contributes to the death of innocent lives. These are just a few examples but there are so many more.

Like I said before, I appreciate any and all efforts that people make but we still have to be able to have honest conversations about these things, especially when our goal if ethical.

So what you are saying is that your over exaggerated in your previous post? Because insinuating that someone who eats meat at every single meal and someone who has eggs a few times a week, cheese, and still eats some things baked with eggs and milk but refrains from eating any type of animal flesh are participating in the same amount of animal cruelty is absolutely absurd. 

Naturally, there are those who participate in less. But does that mean we should all be like Ghandi and get to the point of near starvation in an effort to not cause any harm to any living thing? 

Do certain vegans cause less harm than others? Absolutely! Do all vegans cause less harm than vegetarians? Yes. Do Vegetarians cause less harm than lacto-ovo vegetarians? Yes. And so on and so forth with pescetarians, people who simply reduce meat consumption, etc. 

But to imply that vegetarianism is equitable to meat consumption is not only insulting but inaccurate. 

I agree completely. I want to be vegan, for those reasons, but in the meantime... Well, I couldn't say it better.

You do raise some thought provoking points, Merryberry. I recently watched the video 'the meat video' - so the points you made are ones that I have been considering recently myself. There is a difficult line to draw, and one that only the individual can make. I personally believe that a vegetarian diet will always be a better alternative to that of a carnivorous diet. That being said, I am always open to furthering my own knowledge and awareness. I would be interested in reading or watching any useful links that you might suggest.

If you don't mind me asking, did you start out as a vegetarian, or has the vegan diet always been your preference?

Although this thread has raised some good points, to clarifty my original question, do other vegetarians feel that they are considered less worthy of claiming a moral/ethically based diet by their vegan counter parts?

In my belief, being vegetarian is still better than eating meat. You are still causing less pain and suffering, seeing that people who eat meat also consume just as much dairy and eggs. That being said, the dairy and egg industry is just as bad if not worse than the meat industry. I do believe that it can be done in a more humane way (ex. pasture raised milk on family farms and free range pasture raised chickens for eggs). I choose to be vegan because I think animals should not be exploited in anyway. That being said I still consume honey which I am working on cutting out of my diet. All in all, I do not judge you or think of you less for being vegetarian. I was vegetarian at one point. My advice is this: If you can't give up the dairy or eggs, make sure you buy from a local farm where you see their operations, or you buy from a well-trusted organic company like Organic Valley that runs off of family farm co-ops. Never buy factory farmed dairy or eggs, which also means eating out will be a serious challenge given that almost all restaurants use factory farmed animal products. Good luck on you journey and know that you have support from this vegan.

Thank you for your support and encouragement Jake! 

Very good words, Jake :)

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