Did you know each month there are around 6,600 searches for the term "famous vegetarians," according to Google? What is it with people's fascination with what celebrities eat? I find it slightly interesting because it seems at one time or another just about every celebrity has been deemed a vegetarian or vegan. Well, maybe except for Sam Elliot, who's great voice is used in commercials to promote beef.
For example, check out Happy Cow's list of famous vegetarian's. This page of "famous vegetarians" lists 572 of them, as well as another 50 or so that are considered "Sometimes rumored to be vegetarians but sometimes not (unproven)." So does that mean the first 572 names on the list have actually been confirmed or proven? I really have my doubts. Then there is the Famous Veggie site, which includes a list of many of the same people. And those aren't the only two sites discussing the issue, there are plenty of others.
It is apparent that people like knowing which celebrities are vegetarian or vegan. Okay, I can buy that on a small scale, even I think it's neat that people like Woody Harrelson, Paul McCartney, Moby, Alicia Silverstone and Joaquin Phoenix are vegetarian. But those people I believe are vegetarian and I've seen/heard them time and again confirming that.
Others, however, prove here and there that they are not vegetarian, and yet these sites keep them on the vegetarian list, thus making it a less than credible source. For example, I've seen an interview of Drew Barrymore touting her love of bacon and still make the lists. Alice Walker always shows up on the famous vegetarian lists and yet she admits she is not. In January 2008 she did an interview with Vegetarian Times magazine, where she said "I do eat fish and eggs." She also said "Even now, when I have a lapse, it's often a strong craving for pork sausage."
Again, I point out that this interview of her saying she eats fish and has lapses for pork sausage was in Vegetarian Times magazine. Do people want Alice Walker listed as a vegetarian so badly that they have selective hearing/reading and skip over her stating she eats animals? Worse yet, was after the issue ran that she wasn't removed from all the famous vegetarian lists out there. Hello people, she's not a vegetarian, as self-reported! Take her off the list and move on.
I even wrote one of the famous vegetarian sites to inform them of this interview. Yet her name still makes the list. Go figure. And I don't go looking for these celebrities refuting the information, this is just what I've come across while not looking. Imagine if I did some research to try to prove the information one way or another!
Another case in point is actress Jennie Garth. At the time of writing this she is making the list on many sites as being a vegetarian. However, in the February 2009 issue of Energy Times magazine she does a Q&A article. Point blank they ask "I read that you're a vegetarian." Her response?
"No, I'm not a true vegetarian. I eat chicken and occasionally fish. I hate eating animals, but I have to get some protein in and the best way for me to do that would be to eat chicken or fish, although my kids eat tofu."
But just like non-celebrities, some people try vegetarianism for a while and then go back to their meat-eating ways. Shouldn't they be taken off the famous vegetarian list at that point? Or at least moved to a "used to be vegetarian" list?
Many celebrities do refute these vegetarian rumors, but it seems as though I'm the only one that sees them. The bottom line is that it may be interesting from time to time to hear about a celebrity that is a vegetarian or vegan, but always take it with a grain of salt, unless you have heard the celebrity say or promote it themselves. Chrissy Hynde talking about her opening up a vegetarian restaurant in her hometown is a solid source. But just coming across a list of "famous vegetarians" is not.
Perhaps these sites could create a list of "famous vegetarian wish-list" and add the celebrities that they would like to be vegetarian, or who was at one time and no longer are. But really, how much difference does it make if your favorite actor eats tofu over steak? Will it influence your taste in movies or television shows? Sure I would prefer they all be vegetarian, but I know that's Hollywood talking. I don't know these people beyond their famous image, and I even though I loathe the beef industry, I admit that I still love Sam Elliot, his voice and his acting!
Hey, this makes me wonder if there are lists of famous carnivores or omnivores out there?