Should I Help Pay For Non-Vegan Food?

Question: I am a vegetarian and an aspiring vegan. As my workplace offers discount in an attached restaurant, friends like to visit to have meals with me, to also benefit from the staff discount I can get. However, they usually order meat dishes. I try to share the Dharma with them while eating, but some Buddhist friends feel that it is not right to pay on their behalf. What do you think?

Answer: Having understood the value of yourself going meatless, you should not pay for others’ purchases of meat, as it supports their demand for more animals to be killed. What more, there is discount, which encourages ongoing purchases. What you can do it propose to order very nice vegan food on their behalf, and explain the above in your own friendly words. If you know the restaurant’s chefs, you can offer suggestions for more vegan dishes too. You can offer to buy them their entire meals too, and it does not have to be at your workplace, thus opening up their choices.

Another way to share the rationale for your new response is with this excerpt from https://thedailyenlightenment.com/2016/05/you-animals-and-the-buddha to explain how you do not wish to be a part of the supply and demand cycle for meat:

‘Bhikkhu Bodhi gave this simple example to explain how the individual consumer’s purchases sustain demand for murder – “… if somebody goes into a market, say on a Tuesday, and orders a piece of chicken at the sales counter, somebody [there] will click some kind of calculator, which will determine on Tuesday, that a piece of chicken was sold, which will send out a message for next Tuesday, that we have to meet the same quantity of chickens to satisfy our customer base. Even though you order the chicken on Tuesday, you are not responsible for the death of the chicken that is providing that meal on [that] Tuesday, but in an indirect way, you can be sending a signal that next Tuesday, a chicken should be killed to provide food for the customers…” Note that even if one buys animal products in a more “random” manner, in terms of place and time, one’s ongoing purchases still contributes to the overall demand for killing. Every buy is a functioning vote for more murders.’

Related Articles:

How The Buddha Eventually Advocated Veganism
Buddhist Vegan Fellowship
Should I Accommodate With Non-Vegan Meals?

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