Vegetarians: Spirit vs Flesh

There are very, very few vegetarians around the world.

In most of the world, vegetarianism is unheard-of and considered bizarre. India is the exception because eating flesh is regarded as impure or corrupting among many Hindus. In the West, I earlier guessed that 2% to 5% are full vegetarians. Now, I suspect that to be an exaggeration.

An article here by Hal Herzog shows that lots more people say they are vegetarian than actually are vegetarian.

One survey in the US: 6% considered themselves vegetarian, but 60% of these “vegetarians” admitted that that had consumed red meat, poultry or fish the previous day.

Another survey in the US: 3% said they were vegetarian, but 66% of the “vegetarians” had eaten animal flesh in the last 24 hours.

A large majority, perhaps nearly all, “vegetarians” are actually pescatarians, chicken-atarians, and meat-atarians. There are very few true vegetarians.

Why?

Duelling desires. The spirit may want veg, but the flesh wants flesh. People (at least in the West) are concerned about animal welfare (and about signaling their concern). But these same people have an innate love of flesh. Chimps love meat. Bonobos (the “hippie primate”) love meat. Humans too.

Human nature has two levels: implicit and explicit. They can be at odds. Explicit vegetarianism is at odds with implicit meat-loving.

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