Contemporary Vegetarianism In The UK
This paper, based on an earlier study conducted by the authors in 1991, states that vegetarianism proposes a challenge to conventional nutrition in the following ways:
- a. Nutritional – Meat is an unsuitable food for humans, heavy and often causing digestive and other health implications. Vegetarian foods are light and nutritionally superior
- b. Moral – The raising and killing of food animals is a moral violation of animal rights
- c. Spiritual – Meat consumption, especially blood, is viewed as a compromise of spirituality and “animal passions”
- d. Ecological – The farming of animals is viewed as environmentally damaging compared with plant production.
Although vegetarianism has not totally become accepted by society, there is evidence of increasing tolerance, even an encouragement of vegetarianism.
Capitalism facilitates the incorporation of “deviant” foodways.
By commercializing and exploiting eccentric foodways, the food industry may make a less morally charged form of vegetarianism available. This, in addition to new products, greater awareness and better availability, lowers the threshold for entry into vegetarianism.
Large scale vegetarianism, brought forth through capitalism, therefore extends the range of options available within societies.