In many restaurants the only alternative to the standard meal was, and often still is, overcooked gray-green vegetables or a tossed salad made mostly of iceberg lettuce. A decade ago vegetarian restaurants were few and far between and what they served was often no more appetizing than gummy brown rice and wilted sprouts. But the situation has improved significantly in the last few years, say a number of well-known people who attempt to follow one version or another of a vegetarian diet.
The improvement results, in part at least, from the increase in the number of people who call themselves vegetarians. There are now too many of them to be ignored. The Vegetarian Information Service, a nonprofit educational organization, puts the figure in this country at between seven and 12 million. There is also an increased awareness of the health value of eating more vegetables, fruits and grains and a serious effort is made to prepare them well. Vegetarian cookbooks have become increasingly popular and vegetarian restaurants, serving well-seasoned food that also appeals to nonvegetarians who have discovered how good meatless meals can be, have sprung up all over the place.
The actor Marty Feldman, who has traveled widely in the United States, says he finds that ''Most towns seem to have one naturalfood restaurant and traditional restaurants have one vegetarian dish. For years, Jerome Hines, the bass who has performed with the Metropolitan Opera longer than any other singer, had to shop in naturalfood stores. Now he buys most of his groceries in the local supermarket. Most vegetarians eat the same things that other people eat, with the exception of meat.
And many of them, like the actress Carol Kane, love to eat. Miss Kane, who is known for her roles in the films ''Hester Street,'' ''Annie Hall'' and ''The Last Detail'' and in the television series ''Taxi,'' describes herself as a ''gigantic eater fighting a constant weight battle. Feldman likes curries and pasta. He also loves fruit and eats cheese ''the way other people eat meat.
Her family was certain the marriage would end in divorce, Mr. Feldman recalled, because ''a butcher's daughter was marrying a vegetarian and mixed marriages never work. Feldman said, ''that we never had children. I don't know what religion we would bring them up, carnivore or vegetarian. Menuhin describes himself as ''self-indulgent'' about certain foods. He can eat an entire honeycomb at four breakfasts. Menuhin said. He said he is particularly fond of Indian food because it is ''so stimulating and so delicious, the vegetables with all the spices and the dairy products, the flat bread, rice and the masses of fruit.
Menuhin also enjoys fine wine. Vegetarians generally fall into two groups: There are lacto-ovos, such as Miss Kane, who eat eggs and milk products but no meat, and vegans, who eat no meat, eggs or milk products. In recent years the definition has loosened somewhat and now many people who eat fish and chicken but no red meat call themselves vegetarians. The magazine Vegetarian Times describes vegetarians as those ''who stick to a diet eschewing flesh of all kinds with occasional allowances for human weaknesses.
Why do people become vegetarians? During the last decade health has been an overriding concern. When the medical community began preaching the virtues of exercise and a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet, some people took up exercise and gave up meat. Jerome Hines was one of these. Hines has been a vegetarian for 10 years; he feels it keeps his arthritis under control. A strict vegetarian, his normal diet consists of pure fruit juices, fruits, vegetables, brown rice and spaghetti made of Jerusalem artichokes.
Half the food, particularly the fruit, is consumed raw. He eats no prepared foods, no sugar, no salt, no smoked foods. Hines said, ''a tremendous list of no-no's. He also fasts for 24 hours once a week and twice a year fasts for a week at a time. He takes about 75 nutritional supplements a day, the whole range of vitamins and minerals. Recently I got up to Representative Jacobs and Dennis Weaver, the star of the television series ''McCloud,'' originally became vegetarians for ethical reasons, either because they object to the slaughter of animals for food or are bothered by the way the animals are treated.
But, they said, they soon discovered the health benefits of a Spartan, meatless diet. Jacobs said that, at first, he expected to become anemic. Instead he became stronger. Both men eat only two meals a day, breakfast and lunch. Most of Mr. Weaver's diet is raw, based almost entirely on salads of fruits or vegetables.
Jacobs's meals never vary. For breakfast he has Grapenuts cereal with bran and papaya juice. Lunch, which he eats between 2 and 5 P. His unusual eating habits have been the object of scorn in the past. When Malcolm Muggeridge, the social critic and author, became a vegetarian 20 years ago he was the target of what he calls ''snide remarks.
Muggeridge, who became a vegetarian so that he would be ''free to denounce those horrible factory farms where animals are raised for food,'' does not like food. He thinks ''all the talk about beautiful sauces is an unutterable bore. Feldman became a confirmed vegetarian at the age of 6. Feldman said. He has never eaten meat since. Brigid Brophy, the author of ''Mozart the Dramatist'' and ''Don't Never Forget,'' became a vegan two years ago after 25 years as a lacto-ovo vegetarian.
She said she could not care less about the health aspects of a meatless diet. She continues to eat refined sugar and flour. Along with vegetable pies, vegetable roasts, Chinese and Indian food she likes chocolate; dark chocolate, not milk chocolate. There are those occasional instances in the life of many vegetarians when they show signs of what the Vegetarian Times describes as ''human weakness,'' meaning they will give in and eat meat or fish.
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Menuhin says that eating too much meat makes him feel ''blurred,'' but admitted that every once in a while, ''when I feel I need more strength, I eat fish. Hines does not always follow a strictly meatless diet either. But unlike Mr. Menuhin, he feels he is ''sinning terribly'' when he eats fish or chicken. Hines said he misses the smell of frying bacon in the morning; his ''toes curl up just thinking about a ham steak.
There are times when Mr. Weaver will eat fish, if he is at someone's home or in a restaurant where he is being interviewed. Every once in a while I break the rule just for that purpose. Occasionally, Carol Kane thinks she would like to have a hot dog ''because I don't think of hot dogs as meat. But, he contended, he does not give into it. Feldman has no such longings, and he has been unswerving in his diet for 42 years, even in boarding school where students were punished if they did not eat what was on their plates.
To this day, Mr. Feldman said, he will not eat anything that has ''intelligent life. Scrub potatoes but do not peel. Cook in water to cover in covered pot about 20 minutes. Do not peel. Bring water to boil in steamer for green beans. Trim and wash beans. Steam 7 to 9 minutes, until crisp-tender; drain and run under cold water.
They're looked after in some of the best conditions, because the healthier and [more] content that animal, the better it grows. So we're very interested in their well-being up to an extent. In response, animal welfare advocates ask for evidence that any factory-bred animal is better off caged than free. Peter Singer  has pointed out that the ethical argument for vegetarianism may not apply to all non-vegetarian food.
For example, any arguments against causing pain to animals would not apply to animals that do not feel pain. It has also often been noted that, while it takes a lot more grain to feed some animals such as cows for human consumption than it takes to feed a human directly, not all animals consume land plants or other animals that consume land plants. For example, oysters consume underwater plankton and algae.
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In , Christopher Cox wrote:. Biologically, oysters are not in the plant kingdom, but when it comes to ethical eating , they are almost indistinguishable from plants. Oyster farms account for 95 percent of all oyster consumption and have a minimal negative impact on their ecosystems; there are even nonprofit projects devoted to cultivating oysters as a way to improve water quality. Since so many oysters are farmed, there's little danger of overfishing. No forests are cleared for oysters, no fertilizer is needed, and no grain goes to waste to feed them—they have a diet of plankton, which is about as close to the bottom of the food chain as you can get.
Oyster cultivation also avoids many of the negative side effects of plant agriculture: There are no bees needed to pollinate oysters, no pesticides required to kill off other insects, and for the most part, oyster farms operate without the collateral damage of accidentally killing other animals during harvesting. Cox went on to suggest that oysters would be acceptable to eat, even by strict ethical criteria, if they did not feel: "while you could give them the benefit of the doubt, you could also say that unless some new evidence of a capacity for pain emerges, the doubt is so slight that there is no good reason for avoiding eating sustainably produced oysters.
Critics of ethical vegetarianism say that there is no agreement on where to draw the line between organisms that can and cannot feel. Justin Leiber, a philosophy professor at Oxford University , writes that:.
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Montaigne is ecumenical in this respect, claiming consciousness for spiders and ants, and even writing of our duties to trees and plants. Singer and Clarke agree in denying consciousness to sponges. Singer locates the distinction somewhere between the shrimp and the oyster. He, with rather considerable convenience for one who is thundering hard accusations at others, slides by the case of insects and spiders and bacteria, they pace Montaigne, apparently and rather conveniently do not feel pain.
The intrepid Midgley, on the other hand, seems willing to speculate about the subjective experience of tapeworms There are also some who argue that, although only suffering animals feel anguish, plants, like all organisms, have evolved mechanisms for survival. No living organism can be described as "wanting" to die for another organism's sustenance.
When a plant is wounded, its body immediately kicks into protection mode.
It releases a bouquet of volatile chemicals, which in some cases have been shown to induce neighboring plants to pre-emptively step up their own chemical defenses and in other cases to lure in predators of the beasts that may be causing the damage to the plants. Inside the plant, repair systems are engaged and defenses are mounted, the molecular details of which scientists are still working out, but which involve signaling molecules coursing through the body to rally the cellular troops, even the enlisting of the genome itself, which begins churning out defense-related proteins If you think about it, though, why would we expect any organism to lie down and die for our dinner?
Organisms have evolved to do everything in their power to avoid being extinguished. How long would any lineage be likely to last if its members effectively didn't care if you killed them? Steven Davis, a professor of animal science at Oregon State University , argues that the least harm principle does not require giving up all meat.
Davis states that a diet containing beef from grass-fed ruminants such as cattle would kill fewer animals than a vegetarian diet, particularly when one takes into account animals killed by agriculture. This conclusion has been criticized by Jason Gaverick Matheny founder of in vitro meat organization New Harvest because it calculates the number of animals killed per acre instead of per consumer. Matheny says that, when the numbers are adjusted, Davis' argument shows veganism as perpetrating the least harm. When differentiating between animals killed by farm machinery and those killed by other animals, he says that the studies again show veganism to do the "least harm".
One of the main differences between a vegan and a typical vegetarian diet is the avoidance of both eggs and dairy products such as milk, cheese, butter, and yogurt. Ethical vegans do not consume dairy or eggs because they believe their production causes animal suffering or premature death  and because of the environmental effect of dairy production.
To produce milk from dairy cattle , most calves are separated from their mothers soon after birth and fed milk replacement in order to retain the cows' milk for human consumption. Battery cages are the predominant form of housing for laying hens worldwide; these cages reduce aggression and cannibalism among hens , but are barren, restrict movement, and increase rates of osteoporosis. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. See also: Animal consciousness and Emotion in animals.
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