The term vegetarian in general distinguishes someone from being Vegan in that they still eat animal products in some form. I have been told repeatedly in this thread by lacto-ovo vegetarians that pesco-vegetarians can not use the term vegetarian at all because it causes confusion among the general public about what vegetarians eat. There are several qualifiers that can be added in front of the term vegetarian to indicate which animal products one still eats,(ex.lacto, pesco, ovo) these can be used individualy if someone eats only one of these or in combinations if someone eats more than one. At least pesco-vegetarians generally qualify their type of vegetarianism by adding the term pesco. It seems most lacto-ovos refuse to do the same. Last I checked eggs and dairy do not grow in gardens, nor are they from the vegetable kingdom. They are animal products. These individuals seem to want the whole world to assume that vegetarian means lacto-ovo.
Many pesco-vegetarians have chosen their diet to cause a minimum of animal suffering. Yes, animals(fish) are killed but someone would have to be pretty niave to think that the diary and egg industry doesn't cause animal deaths. Not to mention the trillions of life-long confined chickens and the veal industry as a direct by-product of dairy. I keep being referred to websites about fish farms and one person pointed out that something like 35% of fish are coming from them. They don't seem to realize these percentages are for America. Worldwide that number would be much, much lower. Just curious how they think that percentage would compare to factory farmed eggs and dairy. It would be quite triumphant if we could those numbers that low.
I, in fact, have found that it is the lacto-ovos that tend to be causing the general confusion by refusing to qualify their type of vegetarianism. There are many more vegetarians in India than there are in North America and western Europe. Most of these are lacto-vegetarians and therefore don't eat eggs. Lacto-vegetarians therefore make the largest sub-group of vegetarians in the world, by far. If anyone was going to set the standard it would be this group and not some relatively small yet self-important group of westerners armed with some American or British vegetarian society on-line definition.
So when it comes down to it, if you are using the term vegetarian and haven't gone the extra step to become a Vegan, then you are still consuming animal products. Instead of going around yelling at and pointing fingers at everybody else you can at least add the qualifing terminology to your own type of vegetarianism. You are not that special that the whole world is going conform to your definitions just because it happens to be the most convienent for you.