Six kinds of meat-eater (by a vegetarian)


A meat eater with good excuse

I’m Nell, and I’m a vegetarian. If that sounds like a guilty confession – it isn’t. But I certainly have been judged for it in the past, even though I try not to mention it very often. Today I read a silly and funny article on ‘the six kinds of vegetarian’ – I chuckled at some of the recognisable stereotypes, but I also felt a bit sad. Why is it so hard to find an article about vegetarians that doesn’t make fun of them??

Then I realised that one easy (and childish) way to make myself feel better would be to write a silly riposte – the six kinds of meat-eaters. It’s completely evidence-based (my own personal evidence, that is). Here goes…

  1. The Angry Tyrannosaur – severely and personally offended by the existence of vegetarians. Often heard to shout things like ‘humans were DESIGNED to eat meat you hemp-sandal wearing morons’. Except we really weren’t. And I don’t wear hemp sandals.
  2. The Dinner-Party Ethics Professor – secretly threatened by vegetarians who think that eating meat is morally wrong, they’ll try to start an argument with you about how if everyone went veggie ‘then all cows would be left to die so you’d be responsible for millions of animal deaths.’ Erm, ok. But slaughtering and eating them is fine?
  3. The Un-Repentant Predator – eats meat, has no problem with it. Thinks animals aren’t as important as humans, making them fair game (literally). Is sad for vegetarians because they’re missing out on totally awesome steaks.
  4. The Selective Carnivore – doesn’t eat red meat. Usually fairly sensible, but may occasionally be heard to state that they ‘don’t eat anything with a face’. Except fish. Oh and chickens. What they really mean is they don’t eat anything cute.
  5. The Confused Animal-lover – would like to be vegetarian but can’t quite tear themselves away from meat. May rely on ‘ethically sourced’ produce (except when they just can’t be bothered/are at a really nice restaurant/got drunk and wanted a kebab).
  6. The ‘Vegetarian’ – if you eat chicken or fish, YOU’RE NOT A VEGETARIAN. This is a simple matter of the definition of the word. Buy a dictionary and get over yourself.

15 Responses to “Six kinds of meat-eater (by a vegetarian)”

  1. ukbeachbum Says:

    Thanks for that, WAY BETTER than the original article and far more accurate!

    What most meat eaters don’t realise is that we don’t give a monkey’s what they eat, we just don’t eat meat.

    Love the last one, how many times have I been asked “Do I eat fish?”, “No, I’m a vegetarian.”, reply “Oh, you’re a vegan!” (face slap!)


  2. dinkysarah Says:

    Oh how I love #6! I even had a row in Holland & Barrett over the definition of vegetarian. How hard can it be? NO! I DON’T EAT FISH!!!

  3. Jay Says:

    Great post! I think the “Un-Repentant Predator” category comes closest to describing me. I love vegetarians though; when I was growing up my family used to have weekly meals with our neighbours who are all vegetarian, and I still try to have veggie days at least once a week 🙂

    I wrote a (perhaps mildly controversial) post on vegetarianism a while back and I’d love some feedback on it:

    Oh yeah and I totally agree about point 6. I’ve met so many people who claim to be vegetarian but eat fish! One of them tried to explain to me that fish don’t have a central nervous system… I despair.

  4. Nell Says:

    Yay glad you liked this post! I also wrote a slightly more grumpy one about veggie haters a while back, have a look:

  5. fizza Says:

    I do really care about animals but I guess I fall into category six. I have tried to give up fish but the main reason is that my mom wont allow me to as its already hard enough getting me enough protein and im still growing so its important. I hope to stop eating fish in the next few years.

    • treebeard Says:

      I had exactly the same thing Fizza, don’t worry! When you get older and move out you’ll (probably) have finished all your growing and so can just control what you eat without worrying about that! My mum was talking to a chef in a hotel we went to who had been veegetarian his whole life – he was six foot 5 and an ex-boxer! However, he said that because i’d grown up on an omnivore diet i should continue to eat fish until i’ve finished growing because my body has been used to getting protein from meat my whole life. When I went to uni, I just replaced fish with Quorn! Easy 🙂

  6. Hayley - sciencesightseeingandsustenance Says:

    Cool article! I guess I fit in with 5…except when confronted with situations where meat is of unknown origin. After I’ve asked about it/to avoid confusion I rather tell people I’m vegetarian and then eat the vegetarian option (on planes/at conferences for example) – an “if in doubt, go veggie” type approach. This seems to be easier for people to accept. On the other side though, I’ve no idea where the hate for vegetarians come from, I’m not sure how it bothers meat eaters, it certainly doesn’t bother me, if we could get the world to be vegetarian I think that would be the best solution to many problems! Sadly I don’t think that’s going to happen and is why I live the way I do instead.

    You’re right though, for a lot of people the “ethically sourced” thing is a bit of a bandwagon and guilt reliever I think. The reality is, it’s really hard to live that way and if you’re dedicated to it you’ll spend a lot of your time eating a vegetarian and even vegan meals! I guess I have 2/3 meat based meals a week. Eggs are the worst one for me and the fact that South Africa doesn’t seem to like making veggie pies for its 24hr shops – lots of potato chips for me when I get the drunk munchies!!

    As an oceanographer, fish is another issue entirely and certainly one of the most pressing environmental concerns I have at the moment.

    Thanks again for a great article, I always find peoples reasons for why they eat what they eat, interesting. But then I’m just fascinated by food in general. Often when asking people why they are vegetarian I get a look of “you’re criticising me!” when really I’m just interested to know if its an ethical view point, environmental, religious, taste based etc 🙂


  7. carrie Says:

    I’m glad there’s people like you hayley, and it’s true, when people ask why i’m a veggie i do feel like people are criticising me and am not open to the fact they could be interested, so for that i’m sorry 🙂

  8. Omnivore Says:

    Neither article gives any representation for the biggest category of all, those of us who think “Why should I care what someone else is eating, I’ll just eat what I want and they can eat what they want”. I love eating meat, lots of people don’t love eating meat, is the fact that people are different some kind of news flash?

    • Nell Says:

      Hi Omnivore! I was including people who eat meat and are fine with it in the ‘unrepentant predator’ category. My sister is one of these and I completely respect her opinion – she loves eating meat and has no problem with it. That’s her choice, not eating meat is my choice. So I agree with you – but I think a lot of veggies do feel a bit defensive when they’re challenged by meat-eaters, so that’s why I wrote the post.

  9. rose lee Says:

    I love this article. I’ve been a vegetarian for my entire lifetime and still love it. I’ve never craved meat, never covered up the fact im a veggie to please my friends and never preached to peaople about it. I also happen to be an animal rights campaigner and a college student studying animal behaviour and phycology. Good on you for biting back! Veggies should not take the flack from meat eaters just because there are more of them that us. I feel that if people were more open about vegetarianism, more children would be inclined to become veggie from a younger age. I believe people should always have the choice, but not only be presented with nut loaf and bean soup!!!

    • Nell Says:

      Thanks Rose 🙂 I agree, I try not to preach about being veggie but I enjoy having a good debate about it! And there are so many good reasons to be veggie I don’t think I could go back now. I believe the science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke thought that everyone would be veggie in the distant future – I wonder what the world will be like if that happens!

  10. angela Says:

    guess im no 3 the first part…but im no way threatened by veggies in fact im married to a man whos been vegan since 1979..and i dont think hes missing anything by not eating meat..dhe dont tell me what to eat i dont tell him

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