TRICKY QUESTIONS, DIFFICULT ANSWERS
What would happen to all the animals if everyone went vegetarian? Think of all those animals denied the right to be born by all those vegetarians who refuse to kill and eat them!
What a silly argument. The fact is that most of today's farm animals are genetically manipulated to put on weight at an enormous rate and to be killed as quickly as possible. This puts great strain on their limbs and they often suffer from leg weaknesses or suffer from diseases. So while it is true that they wouldn't exist at all if they weren't bred for meat, all this means in most cases is that they are spared a life of misery followed by a brutal death. Although there would be fewer farm animals in a vegetarian world, there would still be enough land available for small numbers to live out their lives peacefully on well-managed sanctuaries.
Animals eat each other so what is wrong with eating them?
Think about it - we claim we're better than animals, that's why we kill them, and then try to explain away our behaviour by comparing ourselves back to animals again - very silly.
Can I be a vegetarian and still wear leather?
Being veggie is about what you eat but many vegetarians also choose not to wear leather because it comes from dead animals. Ten per cent of the value of the animal is its skin. Leather and fur are really very much the same. Alternatives to leather - which don't scare your friends away with cheesy feet - are available!
Aren't all vegetarians pale and unhealthy?
The oldest myths die hardest! Prove 'em wrong by being the least pale, most healthy vegetarian yet! You could try pointing out that medical studies are proving that vegetarians are less likely to suffer from heart disease, cancer, diet-related diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure.
What do you eat then? Just vegetables?
You'll be amazed how often people will ask you this. Some people have this idea that being vegetarian means eating tons of raw or boiled vegetables. They can't get to grips with the fact that 'ordinary' stuff like pizzas, burgers and pies can be meat-free and just as tasty. Ask them to name five exciting, interesting meat dishes they've had in the last week and they will get stuck in no time! Don't you miss meat? Aaaaargh! No! Say it as loudly and clearly as you are sure to feel it. What's to miss, eh? What about when all my friends go to a burger bar? None of the food on sale at burger bars is particularly healthy or nutritious, but for those who like to visit them there is usually something available for vegetarians. Eating out is much easier nowadays as most fast food chains have veggie options on their menus. Watch out for the hidden ingredients though, like battery eggs, animal fats and animal-rennet cheese. Most restaurants now actually tell you which dishes are suitable for vegetarians and will even tell you the source of the cheese! The times they are a-changin'.
Do I need to take vitamin supplements?
Vitamin supplements shouldn't be necessary as long as you have a well-balanced diet (see The Good Source Guide). If you feel in need of supplements there are a number available from health food shops which are suitable for vegetarians but do get some advice on your diet as well. The Vegetarian Society and Animal Aid can both provide advice on diet and nutrition. Vitamin supplements may be useful during a change in your diet, for example when first becoming a vegetarian or during periods of ill health or recovery from illness. Try not to rely on them though. A Vitamin B12 supplement may be helpful to vegans who choose not to eat foods which are fortified with this essential vitamin. I enjoy sports.
How could I keep up my strength and energy if I didn't eat meat?
The idea that vegetarians aren't as fit or as strong as meat-eaters is a myth. Many champion athletes are vegetarian, such as the tennis star Martina Navratalova and Olympic champion sprinter Carl Lewis. Vegetable protein is in things like beans, rice, bread, pasta, soya and nuts and it is just as good as meat protein. Just think about it - elephants and gorillas are vegetarian and they're not weaklings!