A new survey reveals that 86% of UK adults eat no meat at least 1-2 times per week. 12% in the survey refer to themselves as Vegetarian.
Great News but hardly a surprise - even grub loving Oprah Winfrey went vegan for a few months this summer and that involved turning down some chocolate muffins cooked by Tom Cruise's mum that most vegetarianettes would have bitten her arm off for.
The trouble with surveys is most self declared 'vegetarians' eat fish, and sometimes even a bit of chicken. Nonetheless they are an important group of people who aspire to vegetarianism and have the same preferences (kinder to people, health, environment and animals) they are just not anal about it (un-like the vegans)
It's estimated that over 40% of UK families regularly seek out vegetarian options predominantly for health reasons. The emphasis on health may partly explain why the Organic Soil Association have 200 staff working on approval of nearly 60,000 products whilst the Vegetarian Society have 2 staff adminstrating only 5,000 approved products.
It's estimated by Animal Aid that 30% of UK milk is now from Battery Farmed Cows subjected to zero grazing (typically kept in sheds and fed GM soya)although the Vegetarian Society admit double that figure for approved products that would fail improved welfare standards.(See news 5/09 )
The Soil Association who ban ingredients such as hydrogenated fat and artificial sweeteners and also GM feed for dairy cows for health reasons also go far further than the Vegetarian Society on animal welfare standards. The Soil Association have managed to lure Vegetarians away from the doctrine with promises of 'happy meat' and 'humane methods of slaughter' (giving them a tickle under the chin before the bolt goes through their brain? aaaaw bless!)
No doubt anyway that vegetarians often aren't true vegetarians.
Papers recently are full of talk about professional Vegetarian baiter UK Chef Gordon Ramsay going into business with 'Vegetarian'Victoria Beckham to launch a 'Cor blimey sausage and mash/fish and chips restaurant' in LA. The Red Tops are allegedly taking bets on whether Posh Spice will actually ever eat there as they have her in the 'mad vegan anorexic box' but I'm sure fish and sushi was on her diet plan last time I looked.
There are a number of letters in the latest Vegetarian Society Magazine asking for more tolerance towards 'vegetarians' who eat fish. The trouble is for hard line vegheads this is often like asking them to be tolerant of murderers and rapists.
Meanwhile there are some vegans that think that vegetarians may as well eat cold blooded fish whilst they still turn a blind eye to the suffering of battery dairy cows and the plight of a quarter of a million mashed up calves a year for the sake of milk and cheese.