9 Worst Countries For Vegetarians Worldwide
Compared to several years ago, the number of vegetarians is getting higher. The movement has been universal, and people, regardless of nationality, have participated to a large extent.
Some others have become vegetarian, yet, they appreciate what vegetarians do. Vegetarians are essentially in favour of a life without hurting animals. They avoid eating meat to stop millions of animal deaths daily in slaughterhouses.
Not only can animals have a better life, but vegetarianism is also great for human health and the environment that we are living in.
However, it is not clear why different countries react differently to vegetarianism. In this article, we want to discuss the status of vegetarianism in various countries.
Also, we will explain why some people in different regions of the world don’t like vegetarianism as much as others. Before speaking about the main issue, we must first know what vegetarianism means and what vegetarians do. Let's get started.
What Is Vegetarianism?
People like to follow what celebrities do, right? Sometimes, they don’t even think about what they are following, and if you ask them, they will reply, “because my favourite celebrity is doing it.” Well, you might be happy to know that many popular figures like actors, actresses, politicians, etc., have started being vegetarian.
For example, people like Madelaine Petsch, Ellen DeGeneres, Anne Hathaway, Danielle Brooks, Kate Winslet, Erykah Badu, Natalie Portman, Jenna Dewan-Tatum, Venus Williams, Jessica Chastain, Shania Twain, and Gisele Bundchen are among the most famous figures.
So, what is so interesting about vegetarianism? Simply put, you are a vegetarian if you stop eating red meat, poultry, seafood, fish, and other animal products.
Different Types Of Vegetarianisms
As I said, vegetarianism is when people decide not to eat meat anymore. However, there are wide varieties of vegetarianism in many regions worldwide.
They include Ovo, Lacto, Ovo-Lacto vegetarianism, veganism, raw veganism, fruitarianism, Buddhist vegetarianism, Jain vegetarianism, Jewish vegetarianism, and Christian vegetarianism. Here is a short list of important types of vegetarianism:
Vegetarians don't eat animal products and animal byproducts. They might use leather and wool clothing and cosmetics with animal by-products like beeswax.
Ovo vegetarians add eggs and egg byproducts to their diet.
Lacto vegetarians include dairy products like milk, yogurt, sour cream, cheese, and other animal milk products.
Ovo-Lacto vegetarianism is a combination of the two types mentioned above. They eat eggs and egg products and enjoy all kinds of dairy.
People usually get confused as they don’t know the difference between vegetarianism and veganism. Well, the most important difference between the two is that in veganism, you must not only eat meat but also avoid eating and using other animal-related products.
Raw veganism is all about eating raw fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds. I am a raw vegan during the summer months. Our winters are very cold, so I add some steamed vegetables to my dinner.
Fruitarians only eat fruit. I have done this. I felt great with lots of energy. I had no idea how many delicious fruits are available in grocery stores.
Why Do People Become Vegetarians?
There are many reasons why people decide to become vegetarian. One of the first reasons raised by people is respecting sentient life. Studies have shown that animals like goats, cows, camels, chickens, etc., can feel pain like humans. Also, they need to take care of their offspring.
They will suffer to see their peers get killed every day. They have to enjoy their life as much as humans want. So, the first reason is that vegetarians favour animal rights.
Additionally, other health-related, political, environmental, cultural, aesthetic, and economic reasons exist for people to join the movement. We are going to discuss the most important ones.
Many studies show vegetarianism helps people be healthier as follows: vegetarianism helps people lose weight. Also, a high cholesterol level could damage the health of many people worldwide. However, vegetarianism is more likely to have a lower overall cholesterol level.
Cancer is another misery of the 21st century. Recently, nearly 70000 people participated in a study showing that cancer incidence overall was lower among vegetarians than non-vegetarians.
So, it was suggested by the authors of the study that a vegetarian diet protects people from different types of cancer.
The risk of heart disease is also suggested to be lower in vegetarians. Type 2 diabetes is also avoided when people eat grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, and nuts.
In addition to all these benefits, vegetarians can get the right calories, limit their intake of processed food and alcohol, avoid unhealthy sugar and salt, and avoid smoking.
In addition to health-related issues, we will save our planet by becoming vegetarian. Vegetarianism helps us save our planet.
Right now, our natural resources are being wasted on food production. Animals that we are using as food should be fed every day.
So, millions of hectares of land should be cultured to grow food for them. Also, we have to designate millions of tons of water daily to keep animals growing. If we keep doing this, we will run out of water and land.
Then, millions of people will die because of a lack of food. However, with vegetarianism, you don’t need to destroy any forests and jungles for growing animals.
Ethical And Moral Reasons
We talked about it before. The idea of vegetarianism has been very popular since the discovery of feelings and emotions in animals.
Studies show they are afraid of death as much as us. They want to feed their offspring, again, as much as us. So, it is cruel to kill them just because of feeding humans. For many people, this is the most important reason to join vegetarianism.
Vegetarianism In Different Countries
Due to different cultural, religious, and sociological reasons, different percentages of people in countries have joined vegetarianism. According to statistics, based on the percentage of the population who are vegetarians.
India, Mexico, Brazil, Taiwan, Israel, Australia, Argentina, Germany, Sweden, Finland, United Kingdom, Austria, Denmark, Jamaica, New Zealand, Vietnam, Canada, Japan, Norway, Italy, Poland, Belgium, Chile, Estonia, Lithuania, France, Ukraine, Czech Republic, Latvia, Netherlands, Philippines, Switzerland, United States, Ireland, China, Thailand, Russia, South Korea, Greece, Spain, Slovenia, and Portugal are countries with the highest percentage of vegetarians.
For example, in India, 33% of the population is vegetarian, which is impressive. Also, for regions, the Africa/Middle East region has 16% vegetarians and 6% vegans, which makes it the second-most vegetarian region after Asia. Now, let's review some of these countries rules and regulations.
You might be surprised by this fact, but according to UN FAO in 2007, Indians eat the lowest amount of meat globally. Now, many meat-free supermarkets sell just plant-based foods.
Vegetarianism in India is a kind of Lacto vegetarianism which means they will usually consume dairy products but never eat meat. Part of the reason is that cows are sacred animals and a kind of worship. Interestingly, restaurants categorize themselves as vegetarian, non-vegetarian, and pure vegetarian.
Also, they have some symbols to let customers know which product is vegetarian and which product is non-vegetarian. And in contrast to many countries, this labelling is mandatory. It shows whether or not animal-related products have been used in the production of a specific product.
A green circle inside a green square symbolizes vegetarian products, while a red circle inside a red square shows non-vegetarian products. India is one of the most diverse countries in the world and has many different communities.
So, perhaps, the rate of vegetarianism is not the same in these communities. According to the latest data, Brahmins, Lingayat, Vaishnav, Jain, Sikhs, and Muslims are among the communities with the highest number of vegetarians, respectively.
Another reason why nearly 300 million people in India are vegetarians is historical as Faxian, in the 4th/5th century, stated that: India is a strange country.
People don’t kill any living creatures, do not keep pigs and fowl, and don’t sell live cattle. There are differences between the different states in India. Here are the 4 highest vegetarians percentages:
- Rajasthan 74%,
- Haryana 69%,
- Punjab 66%, and
- Gujarat 60%
Mexico is another country with one of the highest percentages of vegetarians. Nearly 20% of people are vegetarian or vegan. In particular, younger generations and females are leading the groups of vegetarians in this country.
Mexicans usually join the movement for health-related issues. For example, one group of people who enjoy vegetarianism is those who suffer from lactose intolerance.
If you search about vegetarianism in Mexico, you will find that many experts believe Mexico is a vegan paradise. Let's figure out why.
They have many resorts right now which offer all sorts of vegetarian options. For example, Bonberi at Las Ventanas al Paraíso, La Rana Vegana, and Palmaia are three famous resorts full of vegetarian restaurants.
Vegetarianism In Brazil
Another country that is observing a high rate of vegetarianism is Brazil. Recently, an article published in New York Times shows that up to 2018, 14% of Brazilians considered themselves vegan or vegetarian.
What are the underlying reasons? Health concerns, deforestation caused by the meat industry, and animal rights movements are important reasons for becoming vegetarian in Brazil. They know if they keep eating meat, very soon, Amazon, with all its glory, will fade away!
The 9 Worst Countries In The World For Vegetarians
Countries like India, Mexico, and Brazil are among the highest populated places concerning the number of vegetarians. However, in many countries, the situation is completely different. People don’t care about animal rights or don’t believe in it at all.
Also, economic reasons in some others might play a role. Cultural, historical, and political reasons might be involved too. Now, let's take a look at some of these countries and explore why they are so negative regarding vegetarianism.
You might be surprised by this fact. However, France is one of the worst, especially for vegans. Let me tell you this. France is a great country for vegetarians! Don’t get me wrong. You can find the most diverse and delicious vegetarian foods in many cities. However, vegans suffer there, even in the largest cities like Lyon, Paris, and Monaco. There are lots of veggie spots, but they serve only vegetarian foods, not vegan ones.
This is another place in Europe where vegetarians suffer a lot. Portugal is famous for its meat industry, and it will be hard to find vegetarian foods even in Lisbon.
you might have guessed that Japan is somewhere on our list, right? It is mainly because fish is one of the most traditional foods in Japan. They practically eat everything with fish. For example, there is a food named Dashi which contains fish.
Unfortunately, Dashi is the basis of many dishes in Japan. Another food which is based on fish is called Katsuobushi, which is made of bonito flakes. Bonito flake is a kind of tuna fish.
However, if you happen to be Japanese and want to have vegetarian food, it is better to go to the countryside. It is because most residents practice Buddhism, which prohibits eating meat.
Pig production is famous in Cuba. Accordingly, not many people are willing to leave their businesses and become vegetarian. Vegetarianism is still growing in Cuba. However, the country is far away from being a vegetarian one.
Spanish people are great advocates of meat. If you go to a restaurant, you can find many dishes that look like vegetarian foods. However, they are full of bone and meat. If you want to eat food that is sure a vegetarian dish, you can order patatas bravas, croquetas de espinacas, and gazpacho to satisfy your hunger.
6. The Philippines
Pork, chicken, and beef are the main ingredients of many different foods in this country. For example, adobe, kaldereta, Lechon, torta, Kare-Kare, pinakbet, panchit, lumpia, and mechado are some of the most famous non-vegetarian foods in the country. However, it is possible that, if you search, you can find some restaurants that serve vegetarian foods.
Chinese eat all sorts of animals. The main reason the COVID-19 pandemic stroke the world was that the Chinese love eating animals, even the wild ones. You can find meat in many different foods. Also, if you go to a restaurant and say that you want to see the menu, they will bring you the one that has seafood in it. In fact, in many restaurants, seafood is considered a vegetarian food in China.
Mongolia is famous for its traditional foods. Many tourists go there to taste the local cuisine. However, you shouldn’t go there if you are a vegan or vegetarian as all its traditional foods have meat or milk. Due to its biogeographic features, meat is the most economical food there. Some parts of the country under the impact of Buddhism practice some vegetarianism.
Most restaurants don’t offer vegetarian options. Foods have mainly potatoes and meat. The only options that vegetarians have are bread, cheese, yogurt, cereal, and fruits. So, if you decide to visit the country, I suggest bringing vegetarian foods with you, if you are a hardliner concerning food choice.
Why Do Some Countries Not Like Vegetarianism?
Now, we have to ask a very important question. Why haven't some countries become fans of vegetarianism yet? What do you think? Is it related to their religion, culture, economic welfare, or what?
Well, combining all those factors seems to play a role here. For example, I am sure that the fact that most Indians consider many animals as sacred creatures is important. Or, eating meat is a symbol of wealth in some other countries.
Usually, rich people tend to eat meat every day as it is considered a nutritious source, while poor people cannot afford to buy it. And these poor people are desperately trying to provide meat for their families. So, it is not a matter of not wanting, but it is not being able to.
Or, in some other countries, religion forces people to become vegetarian, as we see in Buddhism. In this religion, people must respect all animals, even ants or bees. Sometimes, the issue is not the country that you are living in.
The problem is the people! Maybe, sometimes, vegetarians act in a way that is considered rude to normal people, which leads to less willingness to become a vegetarian. Let's quickly review some of the most important reasons:
Vegetarians Seem Demanding And Self-Righteous
Vegan people can sometimes be judgmental about other people who are not vegan or vegetarian. In fact, they can be annoying to many people since they expect everybody to think like them.
In general, veganism or vegetarianism is a better option. However, we shouldn’t expect everyone to reach that conclusion like ours. They often criticize non-vegetarians and make them feel bad about their food choices. Even if somebody wants to think about being vegan or vegetarian, he/she will be unhappy to do so.
Being Worried About Health-Related Issues Of Vegetarianism And Veganism
Some people are worried that with vegan or vegetarian foods, they will not receive enough nutrients and minerals. And people who are against vegetarianism advocate that you always have to eat meat, eggs, and milk to obtain enough energy, and you cannot find them in vegetarian dishes.
Well, this is not quite true. Indeed, some elements important to our diet are not as abundant as normal food. However, the vegan food industry has compensated for this by adding these materials to vegetarian dishes.
Vegetarian Foods Are Not Diverse Enough
Some people consider vegetarian foods tasteless and very boring. They say that it is horrible to eat the same foods over and over again. However, this is not the case these days. For many dishes, you have vegetarian alternatives. For example, different types of vegan burgers taste exactly like normal burgers. Scientists are trying so hard in the lab to produce vegetarian foods very close to normal ones. Milk? Do we have alternatives, meat? Do we have alternatives, drinks? We have alternatives. So, this is not a good excuse for not becoming vegetarian.
Vegetarians Are Loud And Angry All The Time
Again, some vegetarians don’t stop talking about vegetarianism. Even when the topic is not related to food and food choices, they discuss the subject and brag about their lifestyle and how eco-friendly it will be for the future of planet earth. It is true to some extent, but non-vegetarians should not generalize these events. Both vegetarians and non-vegetarians could be angry, loud, and selfish.
So, the topic of vegetarianism is always interesting and controversial. Despite all the negative and positive comments around it, gradually, more people are joining the movement and becoming vegetarian.
By definition, you will be considered a vegetarian person if you stop eating meat.
However, you are allowed to eat and drink animal-related products. Vegetarianism itself has many different forms in different regions of the world.
There are many countries in which the government and people greatly welcome vegetarianism. However, in some others, people haven’t been convinced whether they have to change their food habits or not.
This article first defined what vegetarianism means and who can be called a vegetarian. Then, we explained why people change their food habits and become vegetarian. We said there are three main reasons, including health-related, environmental, and ethical.
Then, we started introducing countries in which a high percentage of people have become vegan or vegetarian. India and Mexico are the most populated ones for the number of vegetarians. Then, we talked about the worst countries and explained the reasons behind them.
I trust you enjoyed reading the article about the 9 Worst Countries For Vegetarians Worldwide article. Please stay tuned. There are more blog posts to come very shortly.
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Ideas? Thoughts? Questions? I would love to hear from you. Please leave your questions, experience, and remarks about the 9 Worst Countries For Vegetarians Worldwide in the comments below. You can also reach me by email at Jeannette@LivingTheVeganLifestyle.org.
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