Question: From the Buddhist perspective, is human/animal placenta considered vegetarian/vegan, as there is no killing involved, although it comes from them?
Answer: From both Buddhist and secular perspectives, placenta is not vegetarian as it is ‘meat-like’. It is not vegan as it is produced from sentient beings. However, placenta that is, especially if personally, naturally and harmlessly expelled during birthing is considered alright by some vegetarians and vegans for consumption, as it was part of one’s own body. While this is so for most humans, it is not so for animals.
Animal placenta contains waste eliminated by the fetus. It is derived from the uterus of slaughtered animals, and is commonly used in skin creams, shampoos, masks, etc. These animals usually live short but miserable and exploited lives before being slaughtered when deemed unproductive, for their meat and other produce. Animal placenta is often gotten from forced pregnancy and abortion, leading to deaths of mother and child.