I met a couple recently... - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 06-23-2015, 05:19 AM
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I met a couple recently...

I met a couple recently, before they got together one was a meat eater and one was a vegan.

On getting together they both decided to compromise.

The vegan downgraded from vegan to vegetarian and the meat eater upgraded from meat eater to vegetarian.

So, what do you all think? A good pragmatic decision. Or not?
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#2 Old 06-23-2015, 06:02 AM
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I suppose if that worked for them, that's fine. Personally, I don't see the need to change. I'm vegan and my husband is basically pescetarian, and we get along just fine. We don't keep meat in the house, but he does keep cheese and sometimes leftover take away containing seafood. We often eat meals together. He adds cheese to otherwise vegan meals at the end.
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#3 Old 06-23-2015, 06:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Spudulika View Post
I met a couple recently, before they got together one was a meat eater and one was a vegan.

On getting together they both decided to compromise.

The vegan downgraded from vegan to vegetarian and the meat eater upgraded from meat eater to vegetarian.

So, what do you all think? A good pragmatic decision. Or not?
Is the ex-vegan now wearing leather, silk, and fur?
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#4 Old 06-23-2015, 06:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Spudulika View Post
I met a couple recently, before they got together one was a meat eater and one was a vegan.



On getting together they both decided to compromise.



The vegan downgraded from vegan to vegetarian and the meat eater upgraded from meat eater to vegetarian.



So, what do you all think? A good pragmatic decision. Or not?

was it the girl who was the vegan? Would you know the exact reasons as to why also?

Is it so that they could enjoy the same meals together, for example?
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#5 Old 06-23-2015, 08:05 AM
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I hope this is a hypothetical situation. I honestly think it's odd that a vegan would "downgrade" to vegetarian in this instance. How is this a compromise for the vegan? Asking someone to back away from an ethical position for what? convenience? doesn't seem like a compromise at all, but rather a very bad deal. Sure, the omni is giving up meat and learning to rethink his/her dinner plate, but the vegan is giving up a moral position, usually not come to easily, but with a lot of thought and effort.
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#6 Old 06-23-2015, 08:36 AM
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I wouldn't do that, I've been avoiding dairy and eggs for 3 years now, for a reason. Lots of animals die for milk and eggs. Milk and eggs are just as bad as meat.

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#7 Old 06-23-2015, 08:42 AM
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Is the ex-vegan now wearing leather, silk, and fur?
Not so far as I know.

I think the agreement was basically for planning family meals.
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#8 Old 06-23-2015, 08:45 AM
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I have met a couple who did that, although the formerly vegan member of the duo couldnt stand it for very long, and went back to veganism.
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#9 Old 06-23-2015, 08:46 AM
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I hope this is a hypothetical situation. I honestly think it's odd that a vegan would "downgrade" to vegetarian in this instance. How is this a compromise for the vegan? Asking someone to back away from an ethical position for what? convenience? doesn't seem like a compromise at all, but rather a very bad deal. Sure, the omni is giving up meat and learning to rethink his/her dinner plate, but the vegan is giving up a moral position, usually not come to easily, but with a lot of thought and effort.
No, this isn't a hypothetical, but a real situation between two people, one a meat eater and one a vegan, both becoming vegetarian.
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#10 Old 06-23-2015, 08:56 AM
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This isn't an abstract question, but a real life encounter. I'm a vegetarian, so posting this in the vegan board may not be appropriate, however I do feel it's appropriate to both.

Based on replies, the prevailing opinion here so far, is that two vegetarians are not worth one vegan so far as the animals are concerned. I'm unsure if that's a correct assessment or if I'm biased from my own perspective?
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#11 Old 06-23-2015, 09:25 AM
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Moderator Message:

I'm moving this thread to the Compost Heap as it's appropriate for both veggies and vegans to discuss.

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#12 Old 06-23-2015, 09:36 AM
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I refuse to pass judement on this couple because I don't know them, neither do I know the dynamics of their relationship.

If both feel comfortable being veggie, good luck to them. If both later decide to go vegan, good luck to them. If both later decide to revert to omni/vegan, good luck to them.

Maybe if I'd been part of this couple, I would have done things differently but I'm not, so I'll never know.
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#13 Old 06-23-2015, 10:31 AM
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I refuse to pass judement on this couple because I don't know them, neither do I know the dynamics of their relationship.

If both feel comfortable being veggie, good luck to them. If both later decide to go vegan, good luck to them. If both later decide to revert to omni/vegan, good luck to them.

Maybe if I'd been part of this couple, I would have done things differently but I'm not, so I'll never know.
Hi Leedsveg, in retrospect it was wrong of me to form a judgement from generic feedback without asking a more specific question than: "is this a good pragmatic decision".

I possibly should have asked something more like "Does this mutually agreed compromise impact overall more or less positively the lives of animals who are used for food."

Or perhaps I should have asked a more philoosphical question? "Is it ever right to compromise your ethics, in order to accomodate a spouse who is only willing to bend so far to meet your own requirements?"
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#14 Old 06-23-2015, 11:07 AM
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People make all kinds of compromises in their relationships. Our home is vegetarian, but I eat vegan.

My husband chooses to not eat meat unless out at a restaurant, but that is his choice, not mine. My children eat veggie at home, but if they want to try a meat dish while we are out, I allow it. This hasnt happened more than a small handful of times, but it has happened.

there is so much more to my relationship with my husband and children then just what we eat/dont eat.
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#15 Old 06-23-2015, 11:33 AM
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I possibly should have asked something more like "Does this mutually agreed compromise impact overall more or less positively the lives of animals who are used for food."
Seems to me this compromise would have to result in a net gain for the animals. It doesn't get them out of captivity or otherwise make the lives of actual food animals any better -- nor does going vegan -- but it reduces the demand for food from animals, which reduces the number of animals bred to produce food. Going vegetarian from omnivore would typically spare about fifty chickens a year. By comparison, going vegan from omnivore would spare about fifty-two chickens: the 50 broilers, the hen whose eggs you're not eating, and one culled male chick. The math is different for beef/milk, but there are between four and five times as many beef cows giving birth each year as dairy cows giving birth. The further impact of abstaining from milk and eggs is smaller than the impact of abstaining from meat. So the net harm to animals by two vegetarians is smaller than the net harm to animals of one vegan plus one omnivore.
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#16 Old 06-23-2015, 11:35 AM
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Seems to me this compromise would have to result in a net gain for the animals. It doesn't get them out of captivity or otherwise make the lives of actual food animals' lives any better -- nor does going vegan -- but it reduces the demand for food from animals and reduces the number of animals bred to produce food. Going vegetarian from omnivore would typically spare about fifty chickens a year. By comparison, going vegan from omnivore would spare about fifty-two chickens: the 50 broilers, the hen whose eggs you're not eating, and one culled male chick. The math is different for beef/milk, but there are between four and five times as many beef cows giving birth each year as dairy cows giving birth. The further impact of abstaining from milk and eggs is smaller than the impact of abstaining from meat. So the net harm to animals by two vegetarians is smaller than the net harm to animals of one vegan plus one omnivore.
cool math, joan!
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#17 Old 06-23-2015, 11:52 AM
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Well it's certainly an interesting situation Spudulika and I appreciate you posting about it on VB.

I wouldn't worry about the precise words you used as members often take a subject and run with it where they will.

As for this scenario, it may be only in the fulness of time that it's possible to quantify how much animals have suffered/benefited overall, following how the couple initially resolve their compatability problem.
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#18 Old 06-23-2015, 01:21 PM
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Seems to me this compromise would have to result in a net gain for the animals. It doesn't get them out of captivity or otherwise make the lives of actual food animals any better -- nor does going vegan -- but it reduces the demand for food from animals, which reduces the number of animals bred to produce food. Going vegetarian from omnivore would typically spare about fifty chickens a year. By comparison, going vegan from omnivore would spare about fifty-two chickens: the 50 broilers, the hen whose eggs you're not eating, and one culled male chick. The math is different for beef/milk, but there are between four and five times as many beef cows giving birth each year as dairy cows giving birth. The further impact of abstaining from milk and eggs is smaller than the impact of abstaining from meat. So the net harm to animals by two vegetarians is smaller than the net harm to animals of one vegan plus one omnivore.
I don't understand certain aspects of this math, Joan. Are you assuming that the vegetarian eats eggs from only one hen? That the eggs the vegan forgoes come from only one hen a year, thus making her brother the only culled chick? I'd love to know where you get this information. And how can you say that the impact of consuming milk and eggs is smaller than that of meat when all of the animals are eventually killed for meat anyway? Meat eaters don't just eat cattle raised for steak and broilers, they eat spent dairy cows and egg-laying hens as well. No one is getting saved here. The difference is mainly in the age of the animals - broilers are consumed at younger ages than egg-laying hens and thus factories need to raise more of them. And beef cattle are slaughtered younger than dairy cattle.

Sadly, I know many omnis and vegetarians who eat animal products at every meal. Here is an interesting opinion:http://measureofdoubt.com/2011/06/22...n-an-omnivore/
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#19 Old 06-23-2015, 01:51 PM
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I think whether or not it benefits animals, depends on how many vegan vs. lacto-ovo-vegetarian meals during the week they eat.
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#20 Old 06-23-2015, 03:35 PM
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when I went vegetarian, thanks to this forum, I tried to make sure to NOT replace meat with cheese/egg dishes. I tried to keep my consumption similar to when I was a meat eater.

Then I started working on cutting out those animal foods, which is where I am now.
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#21 Old 06-23-2015, 04:28 PM
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Seems to me this compromise would have to result in a net gain for the animals. It doesn't get them out of captivity or otherwise make the lives of actual food animals any better -- nor does going vegan -- but it reduces the demand for food from animals, which reduces the number of animals bred to produce food. Going vegetarian from omnivore would typically spare about fifty chickens a year. By comparison, going vegan from omnivore would spare about fifty-two chickens: the 50 broilers, the hen whose eggs you're not eating, and one culled male chick. The math is different for beef/milk, but there are between four and five times as many beef cows giving birth each year as dairy cows giving birth. The further impact of abstaining from milk and eggs is smaller than the impact of abstaining from meat. So the net harm to animals by two vegetarians is smaller than the net harm to animals of one vegan plus one omnivore.
Assuming that the vegetarians get all their eggs from one hen for their entire lives.
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#22 Old 06-24-2015, 01:47 AM
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Isn't this scenario going to depend (to a certain extent) on why the person became vegan in the first place? Also is it just about the food? Or is it about the rest of the lifestyle as well?

Not knowing this couple and not knowing much about their lives I can only imagine what it might be like from a personal perspective.

I live with an omnivore who really really wishes I would go back to being an omnivore (because it would be more convenient for him - as I'm the main cook and would be back to making yummy food for him). However it just isn't going to happen because I won't compromise my health for his convenience and I really don't have time to make him a separate meal every night. I can imagine that if I were a vegan and felt equally strongly about the animal rights aspects (as I do about my health) I would not be happy with this compromise. I'd worry that this sort of compromise would end up being something that both people resented.
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#23 Old 06-24-2015, 02:09 AM
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If I had to compromise my very strong ethical beliefs and practices to accommodate someone so that they would be willing to go vegetarian and meet me "half way", maybe that relationship wouldn't be worth it. I live with an omnivore now and have for years, but he would never try to make a deal with me so that I had to give up being vegan because he knows how much it means to me. In fact he has respected my rules and wishes about us having separate cupboards/food areas for our stuff and separate dishes and me buying only vegan food/toiletries etc. He understands that I will not participate in county fairs or zoos etc (though that was hard for him in the beginning). Because of my lifestyle he eats mostly vegetarian and his views about a lot of subjects have changed.

It might be different if it was about our children and accommodating them (and remaining vegan myself) if those children refused to be vegan or couldn't for whatever reason.
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#24 Old 06-24-2015, 04:24 AM
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Poppy and Ledboots, I'm not assuming all a vegetarian's eggs in a year come from a single hen. I'm assuming the numerical equivalent of that: typical consumer usage, which would be about 240 eggs per year, which is also close to the laying capacity of one hen. One typical egg consumer uses a bit less than the yearly egg output of one battery hen, so my math is conservative and weighted to favor my opponents' side of the debate. I'm also assuming that an equal number of males as females hatch, which would have approximately one male chick culled for every female used in the egg-laying industry. What I'm saying is that going vegan takes the equivalent of one roughly one hen and one male chick per year out of commission, while giving up eating meat (which of course vegans do too) takes about 50 broiler chickens out of commission.

I completely agree that hamburger comes from spent dairy cows and that spent laying hens end up in pet food, stew and chicken broth. I'm talking about the difference between how many egg layers and broilers (hundreds of millions as opposed to tens of billions) are hatched every year, and the difference between the number of calves born to beef cows vs born to dairy cows. Going vegan spares more animals than going vegetarian does, for sure. However, most of the animals you spare as a vegan are the ones you don't eat. You do most of your animal-sparing from the vegetarian aspect of your lifestyle. The rest of your lifestyle practices add fractionally to that large number of spared animals that you share with vegetarians.

Poppy, that was an interesting article you posted the link to. The writer acknowledged that most vegetarians don't harm as many animals as most omnivores do, but then lost me with a blizzard of unsupported assumptions about how vegetarians make up their protein and calories when they stop eating meat. Granted, different vegetarians have different practices, and some of us eat more eggs and dairy than the rest of us do. But health concerns and weight loss goals lead vegetarians away from mass quantities of animal fat and animal protein, and animal welfare concerns lead vegetarians toward (if not to) vegan dietary practices. That leaves religion and environmental concerns, neither of which would suggest ramping up usage of eggs and cheese. The only paths I know of that leads to more egg use are the backyard henhouse and the egg-heavy CSA basket. If a household has more eggs coming in than they know what to do with, more than they can barter with or give away, they might find themselves eating a lot of eggs for awhile. That's usually a short term problem, plus it's a small part of the big consumption picture. And there aren't many back-yard cows.

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#25 Old 06-24-2015, 04:45 AM
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Poppy and Ledboots, I'm not assuming all a vegetarian's eggs in a year come from a single hen. I'm assuming the numerical equivalent of that: typical consumer usage, which would be about 240 eggs per year, which is also close to the laying capacity of one hen. One typical egg consumer uses a bit less than the yearly egg output of one battery hen, so my math is conservative and weighted to favor vegan practice. I'm also assuming that an equal number of males as females hatch, which would have approximately one male chick culled for every female used in the egg-laying industry. What I'm saying is that going vegan takes the equivalent of one roughly one hen and one male chick per year out of commission, while giving up eating meat (which of course vegans do too) takes about 50 broiler chickens out of commission.

I completely agree that hamburger comes from spent dairy cows and that spent laying hens end up in pet food, stew and chicken broth. I'm talking about the difference between how many egg layers and broilers (hundreds of millions as opposed to tens of billions) are hatched every year, and the difference between the number of calves born to beef cows vs born to dairy cows. Going vegan spares more animals than going vegetarian does, for sure. However, most of the animals you spare as a vegan are the ones you don't eat. You do most of your animal-sparing from the vegetarian aspect of your lifestyle. The rest of your lifestyle practices add fractionally to that large number of spared animals that you share with vegetarians.

Poppy, that was an interesting article you posted the link to. The writer acknowledged that most vegetarians don't harm as many animals as most omnivores do, but then lost me with a blizzard of unsupported assumptions about how vegetarians make up their protein and calories when they stop eating meat. Granted, different vegetarians have different practices, and some of us eat more eggs and dairy than the rest of us do. But health concerns and weight loss goals lead vegetarians away from mass quantities of animal fat and animal protein, and animal welfare concerns lead vegetarians toward (if not to) vegan dietary practices. That leaves religion and environmental concerns, neither of which would suggest ramping up usage of eggs and cheese. The only paths I know of that leads to more egg use are the backyard henhouse and the egg-heavy CSA basket. If a household has more eggs coming in than they know what to do with, more than they can barter with or give away, they might find themselves eating a lot of eggs for awhile. That's usually a short term problem, plus it's a small part of the big consumption picture. And there aren't many back-yard cows.
This is where I don't understand the math. If the egg-laying chickens were not used by vegans for their eggs, then more other chickens would be raised to meet the unchanged demand by omnis. Meat-eaters would still require that meat, so it would come from other birds. Same for the meat that is now supplied by spent dairy cows. Fast food places (which use a lot of spent dairy cows in their burgers) would still need to replace that meat to meet demand.

What vegetarians do is contribute to the supply of a cheap source of lesser quality (except, maybe, for veal) meat for the cheap uses of animal flesh - fast food, dog and cat food, processed food, etc. It is not until we stop using dairy and eggs that these needs will have to be replaced with more expensive versions, hopefully raising prices and lowering demand.

And health concerns and weight issues may lead some vegetarians away from animal protein, but with the dirth of high-protein diet advice that's out there, I'm sure a very good percentage are probably following diets based on low-fat/no-fat protein - low-fat cheeses, and dairy instead of full fat varieties. and as for the animal welfare (animal rights) issues, as is plenty evidenced on forums like this, those concerns don't necessarily lead people away from animal products despite what they learn.

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#26 Old 06-24-2015, 05:16 AM
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Poppy, I'm so sorry, my fat fingers nearly edited your post when I was just trying to respond to it. I'm a new moderator, and that is something I'm going to have to be very careful about. What I wanted to say is there's no need to wonder and speculate, which this question always has us doing here, about how much animal product a lacto-ovo vegetarian will typically take in. That would be a good topic for a poll here on VB, to come up with an estimate of that figure. I've looked online for an answer to this but only find pages that describe the different categories of vegetarianism and what each category will and won't include. That doesn't help. When I look at VB posts and threads it makes me think "Gee, a whole lot of vegetarians sure are transitioning to vegan." And the posts you read make you think "Gee, some vegetarians sure don't give a rip about dairy cows and veal calves and battery hens." So yeah, maybe a poll would be a good idea.

In my last post I was addressing the major motives people cite for becoming vegetarian: health, weight loss, environment and animal welfare. That's not the whole gamut (there's also taste aversion, eating disorder, religious conversion, relationship pursuit), but aren't those first four the main ones people name? None of those four motivations pull vegetarians toward more egg or more dairy than they'd been eating as omnis. The Paleo trend might influence some vegetarian dieters toward eggs, but I think the paleos avoid dairy, so that should be a wash as influences go.

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#27 Old 06-24-2015, 08:12 AM
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Health, weight loss and animal welfare reasons for going vegan may or may not pull people toward more egg or dairy. Low-fat and no-fat dairy options are abundant and many people on diets or concerned about health choose them over full-fat options rather than forego. People claiming to be concerned with animal welfare choose dairy and eggs as substitutes for meaty dishes all the time: grilled cheese, eggplant parmesan, cheese pizza, cheese quesadillas, omelets etc. Whether or not it's more than what they would have consumed as meat eaters is an interesting question. In my experience, vegetarians forego meat in salads and sandwiches and pizza, but always seem to keep the cheese and mayo.

The only reason of the above top four which would steer a vegetarian away from non-meat animal products is your environmental reason. However, even in that scenario, factory farmed cattle and pig production are the major culprits and the ones most cited, and an environmentalist could make the argument that local eggs, goat and sheep products, and the trendy locally grown dairy products would be acceptable.

I'm not so sure a poll on VB would give a realistic picture of what the typical vegetarian eats, but go for it. IRL, I know many vegetarians and vegans. A few do lean toward veganism (especially when it's convenient or when they dine with vegans) but most do not.

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#28 Old 06-24-2015, 08:54 AM
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Health, weight loss and animal welfare reasons for going vegan may or may not pull people toward more egg or dairy. Low-fat and no-fat dairy options are abundant and many people on diets or concerned about health choose them over full-fat options rather than forego. People claiming to be concerned with animal welfare choose dairy and eggs as substitutes for meaty dishes all the time: grilled cheese, eggplant parmesan, cheese pizza, cheese quesadillas, omelets etc. Whether or not it's more than what they would have consumed as meat eaters is an interesting question. In my experience, vegetarians forego meat in salads and sandwiches and pizza, but always seem to keep the cheese and mayo.

The only reason of the above top four which would steer a vegetarian away from non-meat animal products is your environmental reason. However, even in that scenario, factory farmed cattle and pig production are the major culprits and the ones most cited, and an environmentalist could make the argument that local eggs, goat and sheep products, and the trendy locally grown dairy products would be acceptable.

I'm not so sure a poll on VB would give a realistic picture of what the typical vegetarian eats, but go for it. IRL, I know many vegetarians and vegans. A few do lean toward veganism (especially when it's convenient or when they dine with vegans) but most do not.
What you describe is what I've seen as well, often enough. But vegetarians will order eggplant parmesan instead of veal parmesan or chicken parmesan, which does not increase their cheese intake. Likewise, a Veggie Lovers pizza has no more cheese on it than a Meat Lovers pizza. Choices like those would tend to keep their dairy and egg consumption to what it had been before, not increase it. An order of bacon-and-eggs/toast/hashbrowns gives way to an order of eggs/toast/hashbrowns. Again, same egg amount but no meat. The article you posted a link to argues that vegetarians eat more eggs and more dairy than meat-eaters do, which is a question you and I have butted heads on before. I don't know if a poll would shed light or not, but I would like to get a rough profile on VB facto-ovo vegetarians who do not consider themselves in transition to veganism. The self-described vegans and vegetarians I know IRL seem different from VB vegetarians and vegans mostly in not holding strictly to vegetarianism and veganism. They'll make exceptions to no-meat and to no-animal-products whenever they want to, but identify themselves with those two meatless groups anyway. So a poll of VB vegetarians would probably be working from a more conscientious population than vegetarians IRL, probably more heavily influenced by vegans. But it would still give some information on what if anything changes about dairy and egg consumption when a meat-eater becomes vegetarian.

f you'd be interested in helping me design a poll, I'd welcome your participation. Or at least I could forward you the proposed questions and you could give me your input. I'm more interested in getting a profile of VB vegetarians than I am in proving a point here. One way or another, I'd want to do this in collaboration with a vegan. One thing that collaborating with you specifically would accomplish is that we'd be working from opposite hypotheses so our biases might cancel each other out.

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#29 Old 06-24-2015, 05:38 PM
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Thanks, but I'll pass on the offer to help design the poll. I hope you are pleased with the response rate and get helpful information.

It is our choices that show what we truly are far more than our abilities. ~A. Dumbledore
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#30 Old 06-25-2015, 08:49 AM
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I’ve already got the rough design done and the questions written, and mostly want to decide whether to include a lot of questions and degrees of use, or keep it short and simple to encourage more people to sign on. If anyone would like to join me on this and provide a reality check for biases and other red flags, that would be great. Just let me know. Polls and math don’t tend to change minds, only to reinforce what people already believe. When researchers publish a study where the conclusion contradicts a person's prior belief, that person is more likely to criticize the study than to change their opinion. That’s a shame, because there are people who believe vegetarians consume so much egg and dairy that they might as well go back to eating meat. This despite the fact that it’s almost literally impossible for a person to consume so much egg and cheese that the benefit (to animals) of a meatless diet would be negated. Gallons a week of milk and dozens of eggs a week wouldn’t offset that benefit, though the person’s own arteries would be screaming for mercy. We’re talking about consumption many times higher than the US national average, and you probably don’t know any vegetarian whose levels are high enough to negate the positive effect of abstaining from meat. Mayo and omelets and cheese pizza, even daily, wouldn't bring it up to that level.

The more industry eggs a person eats, the more that person enables the suffering of battery hens. There’s no denying that. But the number of hens harmed by egg consumption is minuscule compared to the number of broiler chickens harmed by chicken consumption. No other fact and no other factor can touch that reality. As I wrote earlier, for one person eating eggs, it’s the numerical equivalent of harming one hen and one male chick per year, compared to the fifty meat chickens that vegetarian doesn’t eat. There’s no room for dispute in that math: On average, it’s about 25 times worse for birds if you eat chicken than if you eat eggs. Double or even triple that egg consumption level and it’s still better for birds for you to eat eggs than to eat chicken. This is one reason (not even getting into the cows and the fish) I say going vegetarian spares many animals, and that going vegan spares that many plus a few more. To bring this back to the original post: Two vegetarians will do far less harm to animals than one vegan plus one omnivore. It’s not even close.

Last edited by Joan Kennedy; 06-25-2015 at 11:15 AM.
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