For simplicity's sake, suppose I am a veg*n for purely ethical reasons. I have no religious/health/disgust/other reasons to be veg*n.

If I order a veg*n option at a restaurant, and it is accidentally served to me with meat, should I eat it? I know if I send it back, it will just get thrown away. I believe that I should eat it as to not waste food, since sending it back and it getting thrown away would not lower the amount of meat used and thus demand for meat. Am I correct?

  • I think in general it is quite hard to answer questions of the "should I" type. You either simplify them by disregarding important external factors like you did in your question (health, disgust..) which skews the answer or you end up with a blanket statement such as "it depends" or "it's your choice" which doesn't tell you much. Because of these reasons, questions that are primarily opinion based are not considered a good fit for this type of Q&A site. Jul 4 '19 at 16:20
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    Hello and welcome to Veganism & Vegetarianism site. As said by Alexander, this kind of question tends to attract opinion-based answers as it's up to you to consider if you eat the meat or not by considering your convictions on why you're veg*n. Those convictions can differ from one person to another. However, you can try to ask in our Veganism & Vegetarianism Chat if you want to have some point of views.
    – Niitaku
    Jul 5 '19 at 7:29
  • your logic is correct and this type of question would also arise for example when dumpster diving, or any time a plate is offered (as opposed to cooking or buying yourself), or second-hand leather. each person has a different "moral code", for example one could say "i will eat it since its gonna go to waste otherwise" while another person would say "i will not eat it because i will feel guilty later and have karmic repercussions or be disgusted". You only have to follow your own moral code, do what feels right to you, there is no vegan police or vegan law, so you decide where you put the line.
    – Manuki
    Jul 11 '19 at 15:49

There are a lot of dimensions to this question, and you've done well to narrow it.

I'm going to assume that you want to balance the pragmatic results of your actions with not increasing the overall demand for meat in the world.

In this case, and for this set of facts, it's not unreasonable on the face of it to eat the meat- the pragmatic effect would not be to increase the demand of meat.

However, if you factor in the behavior of the waiter and/or restaurant that served you meat that you didn't order, you may be able to influence someone that serves many meals a day, some of which go to vegans, to not make the mistake as frequently going forward. This could be as simple as politely sending the meal back accompanied by an explanation that you didn't order it and don't eat meat. You would have a potential chance to offset the waste of a single meat entree with several or many over time.

Even if you choose not to do that, many vegans might choose to offer that meal to someone they are dining with who does eat meat, or taking it to go and giving it to someone else, thereby not wasting it but also not eating it themselves.

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