People often ask “Are vegetarians allowed to eat edible insects?” In a nutshell, there is no definitive answer because it comes down to personal opinion. Nevertheless, it’s an interesting topic so we thought we’d break it down, just to see if we could form some sort of conclusion.
The vegetarian / vegan way of life
So if vegetarians do not consume any meat and vegans avoid anything related to animals, including dairy products, honey, cosmetics that have been tested on animals, leather and wool, then surely edible insects are a no-no?
Reasons NOT to eat insects or meat:
There are many reasons vegetarians choose to avoid eating meat, but the most recurrent themes are question marks hanging over dubious husbandry conditions, inhumane slaughter, animal suffering and the general amount of meat consumption. Many vegetarians feel they do not want to be associated with these practices, which is fair enough. But what if there was a case to suggest that vegetarians COULD eat edible insects?
Reasons why vegetarians CAN eat insects:
The question is asking whether this is a problem or not. We only need to look at the pescatarians. After all, are crustaceans not the bugs of the sea?
The case of animal suffering could be put forward in this argument, but it’s worth noting that the majority of insects (certainly those that are edible, particularly the cricket) don’t have a central nervous system, which means they don’t experience suffering. And since insects don’t have nociceptors like humans, they don’t feel heat or cold. Therefore, the method in which insects are “slaughtered” is simply through a freezing process, which basically means they are “put down”, gently and humanely.
As far as the astronomical consumption of meat is concerned, insects are a very good alternative to reducing over-consumption of meat. Like micro-algae or vegetables, it’s an excellent way to diversify our food mix and reduce our environmental impact on the planet.
This is why, during our many tastings, it’s not been uncommon that we meet vegetarians who appreciate seeing a new source of sustainable and responsible protein . It’s one of many reasons that they love the idea of being able to eat insects!