Choice of diet / vegetarianism -- poll

I’m somewhat curious to know, how many iNatters are vegetarian or vegan? And how does it compare to the general population?

Choice of diet varies dramatically by country, of course. Culture and religious background can have a large influence on it as well.
Israel (where I live) is about 13% vegetarian and 5% vegan (one of the highest rates in the world!).
The USA is 5-8% vegetarian and about 3% vegan.

So I made this poll. What diet do you follow? And would you like to share why?

A few months ago I switched to a vegetarian diet. I did it because of the environmental impact of the meat industry, and secondarily due to the usually awful living conditions of animals raised for meat. Killing or eating an animal does not, per se, bother me.

  • I eat without dietary resrictions (including meat)
  • I am vegetarian
  • I am vegan
  • Other (describe if you want)

0 voters

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I have the privilege of accessing quality food, organic and cheap food, here in Chile, and I consume animal protein, but I try to eat protein of marine origin, just for its sustainability, since they come from small-scale artisanal fishing (at least here in Central-North Chile), I have tried to follow a vegetarian diet, using 100k foods, which accommodates me a lot, adding seaweed and microalgae, but I really can’t stop eating fish or shellfish :(

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I eat meat. Animals can convert things we humans cannot or should not eat (grass, kitchen scraps) to human food. Having raised cattle in Iowa, I know it can be done with relatively little environmental harm (from current baseline, given that the destruction of the tall grass prairie was accomplished over a century ago). Of course, I also know that cattle-raising often does cause harm! However, it can be done sustainably.

As an ecologist, I know that death has an essential place in our world. I do not oppose killing animals, though it often pains me. I know that it can be done humanely even in the context of a slaughterhouse, though the trip there is highly stressful to the livestock. I also know that raising plants as food is not without environmental harm and even death to some animals (mostly but not entirely invertebrates). So I accept my role as an omnivore.

On the other hand, I eat less and less meat, for reasons of cost and disliking cooking.

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Во-первых. Человек по природе своей всеяден и его рацион зависит от климатической зоны. Чем ближе к полюсам - тем выше должна быть доля мясной пищи, чем ближе к экватору - тем выше доля растительной пищи.
Во-вторых. Ссылки на якобы экологичность - весьма спорны. Растения всё равно придётся выращивать, а это ущерб дикой природе, а вот животноводство с широким использованием выпаса - местами даже благо. К примеру в моей стране, в силу ряда обстоятельств, существенно снизилось частное животноводство (одна-пара коров на двор) и теперь возникает проблема с исчезновением лугов (в том числе пойменных). В свою очередь это влияет и на многие виды растений и животных, в том числе и на охраняемые, которые исчезают вслед за лугами.
В-третьих. Этичность вегетарианства и веганства спорна, так как растения и грибы - то же живые и так же испытывают страдания (не путать с болью, нет ноциорецепторов - нет боли). Человек - гетеротроф и он не может не убивать, что бы жить.

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I chose no dietary restrictions, but I don’t think that should mean eating without thought to where the meal came from or the resources used to obtain it. I also have been increasingly eating meatless meals - or at least having vegetables make up more of my plate than the meat does. I find location impacts how you eat. Somehow it was so much easier to eat meatless meals in California. Perhaps it was abundance of year-round produce, or part of the culture there. When I moved to Pennsylvania suddenly eating meatless meals became a chore… I’m slowly working my meat intake back down.

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I am flexitarian for the last year - I eat meat very occasionally when it is free or when I am somewhere where there are no vegetarian options. I don’t buy it when food choices are up to me almost ever. I would say I end up eating meat about once per week, and even then try to limit it to chicken or fish. It’s for environmental/climate change reasons only - I like meat and miss it, but want my someday children/grandchildren to have a world that can continue to exist and sustain life and complex ecosystems. I moved to my mostly-vegetarian lifestyle on realizing that I could control the carbon impact of my diet by cutting meat much more easily than anything else (very hard for me to reduce car travel etc.) I’m sure there are meat producers who can sell you much more ethical meat, but I can’t afford it or find it easily. Beef is banned from my diet since I realized beef demand and feed production was driving deforestation in so many places. Again, probably there are sources that do okay producing beef and its soy feed, but I was most often eating it in processed packaged foods and I won’t risk the ecological impacts that could come with.

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The poll leaves out pescatarians who eat fish (and maybe shellfish) but avoid other meats. This is a rapidly growing group.

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I do eat meat, but since I don’t eat the meat of hoofed animals a surprising number of people have called me vegetarian! Apparently chickens are actually a fungus?

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I was considering adding pescararian and flexitarian to the poll. In the end I added Other since I figure people will have their own definitions and it’s a pretty gray area.

For instance, I do consider someone who eats meat very rarely (a few times per year) to still be vegetarian.

And I myself transitioned from avid carnivore to vegetarian slowly, over the course of over a year. I started with reducing beef, then reducing all meat, then only fish… before settling on meat-maybe-a-few-times-a-year-but-not-beef (which I consider vegetarian).

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I eat all foods. I grew up in a small village with very traditional farming and I know perfectly well that it is not cattle or poultry raising as such does harm to environment. Real harm is done by overconsumption and waste, especially waste. And by inventing „miraculous“ foods which means long-haul transport of some otherwise mundane product and impacting environment more than raising pigs or chicken. As to the slaughtering of animals for food, again – it can be done in humane way for one. For another thing, I always remember one of the greatest modern naturalists and animal lovers Gerald Durrell, who was by no means sentimentalist when it came to death, animals and eating meat.
But then, there are cases when I go vegetarian when it is not safe to eat meat or fish. And I do not eat pork in Western Europe or Australia because they have lost understanding how to rear pigs and pork is unedible there.

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Difficult in Cape Town. We have huge issues with poaching of sealife. Today I read about a fish restaurant which has made the hard decision not to serve crayfish, since the stock has pretty much been poached out. Abalone. Shark fins - with the actual maimed shark left to die. Aquaculture brings a fresh set of problems.

I’m vegetarian and aiming to make more meals vegan. Especially less dairy - going to be a long slow process.

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I have a lot of medical dietary restrictions that makes eating a 100% veg diet almost impossible, but I don’t eat that much animal protein. I generally take efforts to ensure that the animals I eat are raised sustainably and accorded a decent quality of life and/or are fished sustainably.

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I unfortunately can’t afford to eat as sustainably as I might like to. I used to grow most of my own vegetables, but we had to move and I don’t have a spot to do so anymore. I do a lot of foraging for food, and I have a pressure canner so I can stuff when it’s in season and use it later.

I don’t eat fish or seafood at all out of concern for overfishing issues. Probably 90% of the animal protein we eat is chicken, with a little beef now and then. We used to eat pork, but now that the pork industry is allowed to “self regulate” inspections, we’re not going near that stuff again.

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I’m a vegetation. I’m a very picky eater and hate the taste of meat (among other things). I sometimes grow some food (but the mealybugs kept killing them), and I plan on growing a lot of food when I eventually get a house.

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I hunt and eat invasive species in Australia, but won’t buy cage eggs/ non-free range poultry, and mostly avoid pork because the free range stuff is expensive. For fish, I go as low on the food chain as possible and eat mainly sardines and herring.

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I avoid mammals, and also seafood on the watch list. I try not to buy anything with palm oil or foods processed across an ocean. I aspire to veganism, but haven’t made much progress (my New Year’s resolution is to give it a good try).

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from the information i have, i don’t feel like being vegetarian is going to have anywhere near the best cost benefit ratio per unit of effort in my case… albeit my situation may not be the typical one. I have a super high metabolism and eat a lot but i am allergic to raw fruit and some other things, so my options are somewhat limited. One figure I saw said that if everyone in the US became vegan we’d only reduce our carbon emissions by 3% and we’d also have to start making more synthetic fertillizer too. People can and do debate those numbers all over the place, but… i dunno. In terms of ecosystem collapse/biodiversity loss crisis, it depends more on how food is produced than what food is chosen, I think.

In an ideal world I’d mostly only eat food produced locally and ideally produce a significant amount of food ourselves and in an ideal world we’d only eat meat that either i hunted myself, raised myself, or purchased from a farm nearby. That isn’t where I am at now and probably never will totally get there, but that to me would be a much better goal than buying a bunch of processed food. But I live in a rural area and also don’t have tons of money and someone who say, has more money but lives in new york city, the tradeoffs and such will be different.
That all being said i think it’s worth saying that these problems that mostly drive this question are system based and one person or group’s actions don’t matter much if they don’t change what others do. And I really don’t see veganism spreading to everyone anyway, and it pisses people off a lot when you tell them what they should or shouldn’t put in their bodies, etc. We need cultural, political, technological, community, maybe spiritual change… doesn’t mean loss of quality of life, in fact maybe the opposite, but it means breaking through entrenched power structures which is about the hardest thing. So yeah, be active in your communities, talk to each other, use your actions as an example. And work on food waste too, that’s a huge one.

Obviously these are just my opinions not as a moderator, curator, etc. And, i have no issue with others being vegan, vegetarian, flexitarian, whatever, as long as they don’t try to push it on me… But for some reason people get very pushy about this issue one way or another.

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I do meatless mondays

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For fish - I would be concerned about microplastic and pharmaceuticals. They say - if you care about ocean life - don’t eat fish. Discarded bycatch. Whales caught in abandoned fishing nets. Maybe tilapia in a pond on a farm?

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I take some inspiration from Meatless Mondays, and try to make A Meal vegan when I can.

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