Vegetarianism encompasses the practice of following plant-based diets (fruits, vegetables, etc.), with or without the inclusion of dairy products or eggs, and with the exclusion of meat (red meat
Red meat
Red meat in traditional culinary terminology is meat which is red when raw and not white when cooked. In the nutritional sciences, red meat includes all mammal meat. Red meat includes the meat of most adult mammals and some fowl ....

, poultry
Poultry are domesticated birds kept by humans for the purpose of producing eggs, meat, and/or feathers. These most typically are members of the superorder Galloanserae , especially the order Galliformes and the family Anatidae , commonly known as "waterfowl"...

, and seafood
Seafood is any form of marine life regarded as food by humans. Seafoods include fish, molluscs , crustaceans , echinoderms . Edible sea plants, such as some seaweeds and microalgae, are also seafood, and are widely eaten around the world, especially in Asia...

). Abstention from by-product
A by-product is a secondary product derived from a manufacturing process or chemical reaction. It is not the primary product or service being produced.A by-product can be useful and marketable or it can be considered waste....

s of animal slaughter
Animal slaughter
Slaughter is the term used to describe the killing and butchering of animals, usually for food. Commonly it refers to killing and butchering of domestic livestock ....

, such as animal-derived rennet
Rennet is a complex of enzymes produced in any mammalian stomach to digest the mother's milk, and is often used in the production of cheese. Rennet contains many enzymes, including a proteolytic enzyme that coagulates the milk, causing it to separate into solids and liquid...

 and gelatin
Gelatin is a translucent, colorless, brittle , flavorless solid substance, derived from the collagen inside animals' skin and bones. It is commonly used as a gelling agent in food, pharmaceuticals, photography, and cosmetic manufacturing. Substances containing gelatin or functioning in a similar...

, may also be practiced.

Vegetarianism can be adopted for different reasons: In addition to ethical reasons
Ethics of eating meat
In many societies, controversy and debate have arisen over the ethics of eating animals. Ethical objections are generally divided into opposition to the act of killing in general, and opposition to certain agricultural practices surrounding the production of meat...

, motivations for vegetarianism include health, religious
Vegetarianism and religion
Vegetarianism and religion are strongly linked in a number of religions that originated in ancient India . In Jainism, vegetarianism is mandatory for everyone; in Hinduism and Mahayana Buddhism, it is advocated by some influential scriptures and religious authorities...

, political, environmental
Environmental vegetarianism
Environmental vegetarianism is the practice of vegetarianism or veganism based on the indications that animal production, particularly by intensive agriculture, is environmentally unsustainable...

, cultural, aesthetic or economic
Economic vegetarianism
An economic vegetarian is a person who practices vegetarianism from either the philosophical viewpoint that the consumption of meat is expensive, part of a conscious simple living strategy or just because of necessity...


"You never hear anybody talk about mad tofu disease."

John Robbins|John Robbins

"Consider the biggest animals on the planet: elephants, and buffaloes, and giraffes. These are vegetarian animals. They grow to thousands of pounds of muscle and bone without ever eating cheeseburgers and pepperoni pizzas."

Michael Klaper, M.D.

"I am a vegetarian for health reasons - the health of the chicken."

Isaac Bashevis Singer, in Judaism and Vegetarianism

"Some say if animals are not used for food they will overrun the earth. In India the Hindus do not kill cows, but they are not overrun by them."

An eminent Hindu quoted by Ralph Waldo Trine (1866-1958) in Every Living Creature, p. 32

"[The animals] are now especially bred for eating purposes, and if the demand decreased, the supply would decrease also. Further, how is it that we are not overrun by wild animals of all sorts? […] People need not worry about the future welfare of the bovine race, if they would only be a little more humane in their treatment of its present representatives!"

Hereward Carrington, The Natural Food for Man, p. 159-160

"If eating meat why not eat the most highly organised form of meat, which is not beef or mutton, but human flesh? If you still believe in the eating of flesh, then you must admit that at least as far as the fitness of food is concerned the cannibal has the best of the argument."

Otoman Zar-Adusht|Ha'nish Otoman Zar-Adusht Ha'nish, Mazdaznan Dietetics and Cookery Book, 1913, p. 199

"The Animals, you say, were “sent” For man’s free use and nutriment. Pray, then, inform me, and be candid, Why came they aeons before man did, To spend long centuries on earth Awaiting their Devourer’s birth? Those ill-timed chattels, sent from Heaven, Were, sure, the maddest gift e’er given – “Sent” for man’s use (can man believe it?) When there was no man to receive it!"

Henry Stephens Salt, The Sending of the Animals

"Vegans and vegetarians are commonly baited by nonvegetarians with “what if” scenarios that typically have no relevance to or bearing on most people’s real-life situations."

Joanne Stepaniak, M.S. Ed., Being Vegan

"I was told that my diet was so poor that I could not repair the bones that were broken and operated on. So I have just had an Xradiograph taken; and lo! perfectly mended solid bone so beautifully white that I have left instructions that, if I die, a glove stretcher is to be made of me and sent to you as a souvenir."

George Bernard Shaw , Letter to Mrs.Patrick Campbell

"The average age of a meat-eater is 63. I am on the verge of 85 and still at work as hard as ever. I have lived quite long enough and am trying to die; but I simply cannot do it. A single beef-steak; would finish me; but I cannot bring myself to swallow it. I am oppressed with a dread of living forever. That is the only disadvantage of vegetarianism"

George Bernard Shaw , American Vegetarian