Andrew Smith, Assistant Professor of English and Philosophy at Drexel University, has stated that it is quite literally impossible to be a proper vegetarian as plants eat animal remains.
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So yeah, while you might not effectively find the same level of animal flesh in a turnip as you would a juicy steak, you are still consuming animal product, making you technically a meat-eater.
In an essay published by ‘The Conversation’, Smith says:
Plants acquire nutrients from the soil, which is composed, among other things, of decayed plant and animal remains. So even those who assume they subsist solely on a plant-based diet actually eat animal remains as well.
This is why it’s impossible to be a vegetarian.
Even though he is a “vegan” himself (except not quite, judging by what he is saying), Smith reckons that people should focus on a sustainable lifestyle and suggests that we may rely on these animal remains:
In areas where it’s prohibitively difficult to acquire the essential fats that we need from pressed oils alone, this may include forms of animal use – for meat, manure, and so forth.
Simply put, living sustainably in such an area – whether it’s New England or the Australian Outback – may well entail relying on animals for food, at least in a limited way.
All life is bound together in a complex web of interdependent relationships among individuals, species, and entire ecosystems. Each of us borrows, uses, and returns nutrients. This cycle is what permits life to continue. Rich, black soil is so fertile because it’s chock full of the composted remains of the dead along with the waste of the living.
Who’s gonna break the news to the vegans? They’re not going to be happy about this one. Anyway, most vegetarians aren’t legit in the first place – apparently 1 in 3 can’t resist the burgers when they’re pissed up. Who can?