Indians Follow More Restrictions in Meat Eating

Increased Red Meat Trade Increased Diet related Ill Health

Majority of the Indians follow certain restrictions in meat consumption, which includes refraining from eating certain meats, not eating meat on certain days, or both.

When 81 per cent follow some restrictions, only 39 per cent of adults describe themselves as “vegetarian,” according to a new Pew Research Center survey.


With respect to religion, the PEW Centre said that a majority of Jains are vegetarian. It said that 92 per cent of the Jains were so. The report mentioned that only eight per cent of the Muslim participants in the survey said that they are vegetarians. Among Christians, only ten per cent said so and below 44 per cent of Hindus said they followed vegetarian. The report found that majority of the Jains not only avoided meat but also avoided certain root vegetables. Root vegetables are avoided as they think this destroys the entire plant, which is seen as a form of violence in Jain theology. The Survey said that about two-thirds of Jains (67 per cent) said that they abstained from eating root vegetables like garlic and onions. Among Hindus and Sikhs, about one-in-five abstain from eating root vegetables. About 21 per cent of the Hindus and 18 per cent of the Sikhs among the participants said so.


The PEW Centre said that about three quarters of Indians (about 77 per cent) fast. It said that about eight-in-ten or more among Muslims (85 per cent). Jains (84 per cent) and Hindus (79 per cent) ago without food on certain occasions or days . About 64 per cent of Christians and 61 per cent of Buddhists undergo fast. Meanwhile only 28 per cent of the Sikhs fast, The PEW survey added. The Indians fast to mark special occasions. Muslims fast during the month of Ramadan each year. Hindus and other s fast on certain days of the week and to mark important life events.


The report mentioned that people belonging to certain regions avoided eating food in others house or at a function where the religious rules of the host differ from theirs. Only about 24 per cent of Jains say they would eat in a home or at a function (where the host’s religious rules about food differ from their own). Slightly fewer than half of India’s Hindus and Sikhs say the same. However, six-in-ten or more Buddhists, Muslims and Christians would be willing to eat at a place with different rules about food.


With respect to dietary restrictions, the adults generally say they follow certain restrictions for religious identity than with respect to belief in God and prayer. For instance, 72 per cent of Hindus say someone cannot be Hindu if they eat beef, but fewer express the same sentiment about someone who does not believe in God (49 per cent) or never prays (48 per cent). Among Muslims, Sikhs and Jains, even greater shares say that following dietary rules is essential to religious identity.

The PEW survey finds that 77 per cent of Muslims say a person cannot be Muslim if they eat pork, compared with smaller shares who say this about a person who does not believe in God (60 per cent) or never prays (67 per cent). More than eight-in-ten Sikhs (82 per cent) and Jains (85 per cent) say that a person cannot be a member of their religion if they consume beef. Buddhists are split on the issue, with about half expressing that someone cannot be a Buddhist if they eat beef.


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