I have written before about how I think that vegetarianism is a gateway
to veganism (view post). I'd much rather see someone eating a vegetarian dish than a meat dish and I believe they are causing less harm to the planet, animals and their health (especially if the vegetarian dish contains trace amounts of dairy and/or egg, yet is still not vegan).
Yet there are still many people who maintain the idea that vegetarianism is the same as being ominivore. In that case, let me propose two scenarios and you tell me which one you believe is better for the animals, planet and human health:
vegan veggie burger on a bun that has trace amounts of dairy and/or egg in it
beef burger on a vegan bun
Which do you think is the better choice to live a compassionate life? Keep in mind that according to those who feel vegetarianism is the same as being an omnivore, both choices would be equally damaging, because neither meal is vegan.
Here's another scenario:
organic vegetable salad with dressing that has honey or dairy
Platter of pork spare ribs with corn on the cob on the side (hold the butter)
Which scenario presents a more compassionate option? Again, neither meal is vegan. Therefore, according to those who push the idea that vegetarianism is equal to omnivorism, they would essentially say both are equal, so it doesn't matter which you choose, because your meal wasn't vegan.
I believe that any common sense thinking person would surely see that choosing the options that have trace amounts of honey, dairy and/or egg in them over the meat dishes is the better way to go for animals, the planet and human health. And if that is the case, then we cannot accept (or spread around the idea) that vegetarianism is equal to omnivorism.
The truth is, vegetarianism is a gateway to veganism. And even if someone never went fully vegan, they are still doing a world of good by opting for the vegetarian meal.
Of course we want a vegan world. But does that mean we should shun vegetarianism and tell those who go vegetarian that they are no different than an omnivore? I refer you back to my examples and I say that I think not.