Saturday, March 28, 2009

What About the Right of Words?!

The definition of the word vegetarian goes like this:

According to Webster Online: one who believes in or practices vegetarianism;

According to quoted by Google: eater of fruits and grains and nuts; someone who eats no meat or fish or (often) any animal products;

And according to the Wikipedia, Vegetarianism is the practice of a diet that excludes meat (including game and slaughter by-products), fish (including shellfish and other sea animals) and poultry. The Wiki also adds that “the reasons for choosing vegetarianism may be related to morality, religion, culture, ethics, aesthetics, environment, society, economy, politics, taste, or health.”

So, as all of you probably say right now: you knew (as I did) that vegetarians are people who consume (for their food intake) anything but animal products, or, for the most part, don't consume animal products that come from slaughtering the animal. At least, that’s the common belief!

I was puzzled, this week, when one of my friends sported a pair or shoes that had this inscription on the bottom of them: “suitable for vegetarians”. My other very sharp and sarcastic friend blurted out: “What? They (meaning “the vegetarians”) eat the shoes?!”.

Well, yes, according to the above definitions, that was a perfectly legitimate question, and I think the note on the bottom of the shoes was awfully presumptuous!

Vegetarians are a class on their own right only according to what they eat, consume, for food?! Or so I (we?!) thought. Isn’t this a bit of overly-specific, even forced advertising, perhaps?

Because, see, if I am one of those vegetarians that chose that path “because of my health”, or “environment” (as The Wiki mentions), I have nothing against killing the animal: I just cannot eat it, because it’s unsafe for my health, or it’s simply not available in my food chain. So this very specific advertising becomes all of a sudden so odd, it borders the ridiculous?! Or it might be just me …?!

Sure, I get it, if the shoes “said”, “suited for animal rights activists” or “suited for PETA members”, or “no animals have been hurt in the production of these shoes”, like makeup does nowadays – that would have made sense, but … “vegetarians”?!? That’s a bit of a misuse of the word “vegetarian”, and a pretty big assumption, I think.

And if the above mentioned options would have been “too long” for the cool imprint (see picture), then, either don’t bother using the wrong word, or wait until … the English Dictionary comes up with a new word for people who would support fake leather: "animal non-killers”? “animal lovers”?! “animal protectors” ?! “antirealleatherpersons”?!

You figure it out. But don’t butcher the poor word “vegetarian”. It’s done nothing to you!

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