To be a vegetarian usually refers to someone who does not eat meat, fish or poultry (birds). It is a choice that is generally related to the care of animals. It is also increasingly common for people to become vegetarians because of climate change, as meat production has much larger emissions than the production of vegetables. Traditionally, vegetarianism also has roots in religion.
To be a vegetarian
Vegetarianism is first and foremost known as a diet. It can also be considered a lifestyle or a philosophy. As mentioned, it is rooted in care for animals. And can also be connected to animal rights advocacy. The latter highlights the rights of animals and advocates for better treatment. Typically with a focus on today’s large-scale meat production, which many find morally wrong.
As mentioned, it is also increasingly common to have a vegetarian diet because of climate change. The aim is to reduce the negative climate impact of large-scale meat production. For example, animal production accounts for about 15 % of the total greenhouse gas emissions in the world. This large amount is why many environmental activists are vegetarians. Or eat much less meat. Another common reason to be vegetarian is because of health. For example, many believe that a high intake of red meat is unhealthy for the body.
Benefits of vegetarianism
There are many more benefits to being a vegetarian than those mentioned above. For example, it is considered healthy for the heart. Some studies show a 40% lower risk of dying from heart disease. Another reason is that it is simply more economical to be vegetarian. Hence, many students chose to be vegetarians. Finally, a vegetarian or vegan diet can also contribute to the protection of forests. Much deforestation, for example, in the Amazon rainforest, is connected to large-scale animal farming. Both for the production of animal feed and pasture.
Vegetarians across the world
Finally, about 8% of the population in the world is vegetarian. India has the highest number of people with a vegetarian diet, with about 38-45%. Hence, the country also has the lowest number of meat-eaters.