Unlikely scenarios in vegetarianism
This happens a fair bit: I'm going to eat with friends, or people I don't really know, or people I haven't really talked to, and the discussion turns to my gastronomic curiosities. Like nathan's odd eating habits, vegetarianism is something that strikes a chord with some people, and they take me to task in what I will or won't eat. I decided to try and save some time and refer them to this article instead of repeating the same conversations over and over.
Firstly, let me state from the outset that I could make up outlandish scenarios for meat eating friends, so before you attempt to "grill me" about my eating habits, think about your own. As an example, let's say you're the standard western "I eat meat" guy, I could easily spend hours asking you what you would or wouldn't eat, like wichety grubs, or dogs and cats, bulls' testicles and chicken legs (great when having dinner among asians), or people.
You see, as I've been asked, so have I been asking about how far people would go when it comes to this whole "killing animals and eating them" business, and I often find more contradictions in their morality than I do in my own. At one extreme you'll find the raw steak-eating, slaughterhouse-working, cut-their-pinkies-on-a-bone-saw people who find nothing wrong with killing animals, and would gladly drink and bathe in their blood (a lot of fundies are in this group). I could give them an animal they wouldn't eat, but they'd say it was just because it's "gross". Things like wichety grubs and monkey brains would probably turn them off (likely more because they're reminiscent of pagan acts than because they're actually "gross"). You can ask them the question: "If you ate something that was delicious, but later found out it was [wichety grubs / monkey brains], would it want to make you throw up?" They'd either say "yes", in which case I say "I'm like that for all animals" or they'd say "no", in which case I'd replace "monkey brains" with "people". They either shut up or prove they're cannibals.
Some people are a little more pragmatic. They can be big rare-steak-eating meat-eaters. They love their meat, but they probably wouldn't kill it unless they really had to. I can resort to the method above, but in the case where they've actually had a pet for an animal they'd eat (like a chicken or a pig), they tend to say "no I wouldn't eat my pet". At this point I can say "neither would I".
Finally, you have the non-vegetarian vegetarians. A good chunk of "normal" people are like this, who effectively abstract themselves from the fact that they're eating dead animals. They wouldn't kill if they had to, and probably wouldn't eat things which made it clear that they were eating an animal. They'd only go so far as to say "I'd like to be a vegetarian, but meat is too damn tasty." I kind of feel bad for these people.
Point is, most non-vegetarians don't want to ask these questions of themselves, but they find plenty to ask me. However, I assume they're just curious, and their aims aren't to make me look like a freak or stupider than them, so I'll take some time to explain.
My philosophy is quite simple: Don't kill things... much. We have to kill to survive, even if it's fruits or vegetables, something dies (the exception is things like fruit and milk, possibly mushrooms but I don't know if survival is reasonable like that). So, kill as little as possible. Of course, the assumption here is that there's a heirarchy of killing, and plants are below animals, but I'm willing to wear that. People who see things in black and white call this hypocrisy.
I prefer it if foods have no meat, and no contact with meat. I don't really care as much as I used to, but it's still "gross". This is more habit than morality, though, so it's something I try and work against to some extent. I don't really mind eating products with eggs in them, but I wouldn't cook with eggs myself. In addition, you can't really tell what's being put into processed foods nowadays, so I may actually be eating some meat without knowing it. I realise all this, but I don't really mind all that much. The idea is limiting the damage, and I think that's something most people don't get.
I also don't eat fish. I don't know why people have to ask that separately.