Originally Posted by longstocking
Well, I'm a lacto-ovo vegetarian and generally I avoid these products. But I still might eat them and no, I don't think it's just as bas as meat.
You ask why vegetarians may wear fur ot leather? First of all, keep in my mind that while a vegan is an ethical stance, not all vegetarians do it for ethical reasons. Some do it for health, some for religious reasons, some just don't like the taste of meat etc. Unlike "veganism", that concerns all parts of your life, "vegetarian" is a dietary term.
Then also I have a question for you, are you a vegan or vegetarian? If you're vegetarian, then you still eat eggs and/or milk, right? Well, in that case explain, how eggs or milk are better than, say, gelatine? Personally, I think they're worse. Even though we sometimes think that no animal gets killed in the process, it's not that true. Every egg is like 75% of taken life, since approximetely every second chick gets killed and then the laying hen gets slaugthered primaturelly. Same thing with milk. So from an ethical point of view I don't see how gelatine is different from eggs or dairy.
Also, why when this question comes up, vegetarians only bring up gelatine and rennet? What about all other slaugther by-products and substances derived from dead animals (bonechar sugar, isinglass, pepsin, whey products (may contain rennet), animal fats, often vitamins A and D, glyserin, arachidonic acid, sometimes monoglycerides and glycerides, stearic acid, lecithin, tallow, cochineal, shellac and many, many more)? All of these substances come or may come from a dead animal. Do you avoid these, too? Or if you're a vegan, than do you think vegetarians should avoid these, too? How are they different/better than gelatine? Just because you find gelatine "ickey" and probbaly not so much some of these animal-derived chemicals doesn't make them different. I don't completely agree that gelatine is the same as meat. Yes, it is derived from collagen in animals bones and skin, but technically it's not animal flesh, it's very processed and refined and I understand why some vegetarians may not find it just as repulsing as, say, meat.
If we as vegetarians must avoid all of these by-products than I think it would be easier to give up eggs and dairy, then avoid all of these when they are "hidden" basically in everything - and not just food, mind you.
Also, the debate whether by-products are ok or not has to do with the definition of a vegetarian. It is an old word and there are several definitions. We can define a vegetaian as someone who doesn't eat animal flesh or as someone who doesn't consume anything that comes from a dead animal. Both definitions exist and I know many vegetarians who occasionally consume some of the products listed above and I don't think that just because of that they stop being vegetarians.
You say you don't understand the logic behind word: "the animals aren't killed directly for gelatine"? Indeed, the logic here is flawed. But then again, it's basically the same as saying: "animals aren't killed directly for production of milk and eggs". Both statemenst lack logic, but no one here (on the vegetarian board I mean, 'cause vegans do that sometimes, lol) buggs vegetarians for eating eggs or milk. Yes, it doesn't come directly from a dead animal, but it doesn't mean animals don't get abused and killed there, we just don't see the evidence of death (e. g. flesh). I think that when a person says that the animal doesn't get directly slaugthered for by-products what they mean is that 1. these by-pruducts are not the reason why the kill the animal and if they didn't use it it would be just thrown out 2. it doesn't profit the slaugther house the same way as meat 2. they are vegetarian alternatives for all these pruducts that are virtually indistinguishable from these by-products, which means if more and more people would become vegetarian, and less animals would get killed, it woun't be a problem to replace these by-products with vegetarian alternatives. I dunno if you got my point here.
And finally, I think that religiously avoiding all animal by-products makes vegetarianism look even harder and crazier to many meat-eaters. Isn't our goal as AR activists and environmetolists to "convert" more people? When they become vegetarians themselves and see it from the inside, when they become "aware" of truth of animal farming they can decide for themselves what products they are comfortable with and what not. But them being vegetarians would make a huge difference for animals.
Don't get me wrong, I don't support or encourage the consumption of these by-products, I am actually not completely sure where I stand on this one, but I definitely don't think it's just as bad as meat. If someone chooses to avoid these products I admire this person. I think, that as AR and environmetal activists we try to do as little harm and suffering as possible. But no one is perfect, even the most devoted vegans. Some of them may consume animal products unknowingly, some may only do it occasionally in certain situations, some wear non-vegan clothes or take non-vegan medicines or drive cars with non-vegan tires etc. Humans use animals basically everywhere and I don't think that it's possible for anyone who lives in a modern world to not use/consume/purchase anything that comes from animals or involves animal exploitation. But we all can try to do as much as we can or as much as we feel confortable with. For some people vegetarianism is a compromise between comfortable life and veganism, for some it's step on the way to veganism and some are vegetarians for other than ethical reasons.
So there. I apologize if it came out a bit aggressive or arrogant or whatever, it's just that I've been thinking a lot about it myself lately and I am sort of struggling internally with myself about about it.