Has any country enforced vegetarianism?

If not, anything close to it? Anything else interesting related to this topic you would like to share?

(I suppose by country I probably mean regime. And by regime, I mean relatively modernish regime)

I suppose Sir Paul has enough money to set up a country somewhere…

Depends what you mean by “modernish”, but Japan, under the influence of Buddhism, had a long-standing ban on eating meat up until the 1860’s. But fish was allowed, and this became (as it still is) a staple of the Japanese diet.

Pythagoras forbade his followers from eating fava beans. That’s about all I can come up with.

I found a note buried in my yard once, scrawled in soy ink : " So weak…Atlantis dying… no meat… stupid fad…idiot teenagers… need burger…would gladly pay Tuesda…"

Seriously, I find it very interesting that out of the many religions and religious based countries to ever exist that not one country or society was strictly vegetarian.

Eden does rule!


Contrary to popular belief, however, he did not ban liver and a nice chianti.

The History of Kobe Beef says:

This implies that poultry as well as seafood was allowed. That would make sense in a small country with limited land to use for farm animals.

There were two exceptions to the Japanese taboo on eating mammal: the whale was classified as a fish and the squirrel as a bird. In Japanese, all nouns are classified into about 20 classes (something like gender only 20 of them) and these classifications were preserved in the taboo system. After the Meiji revolution, the emperor himself broke the taboo.

Cattle had reached Japan and were consumed in the days of the silk road. After that broke down, or at least stopped getting across the bay, the taboo began and they didn’t cultivate cattle. They did eat birds. I once tried raw chicken in Japan. I was a little reluctant but it was delicious.

I’m fluent in Japanese and I have no idea what this means… Are you talking about counters? If so, there’s a hell of a lot more than 20.

Deer were classified as fish as well. They were called “mountain whales”.

“Mountain whales” aren’t deer, they’re boars. Also, the way you phrase it, it sounds like this was part of some official classification scheme. That’s not the case. Rather, it’s one of a series of euphemisms that arose from the introduction of the “beast” meat (“juuniku”) eating taboo. Others include “peony” (boar), “cherry blossom” (horse), and “autumn leaves” (deer). “Mountain whale” probably came from the fact that the meat are similar in appearance. Note that these expressions refer to the meat rather than the animal.

During both world wars, meatless days of the week were encouraged. While not legally enforced, it created peer pressure which was very effective. I can recall my mom making meatless meals during WWII, usually a casserole dish of some kind.
Then there was the catholic tradition of meatless fridays, (fish didn’t count) which ended in the early sixties, if I remember correctly.

The question I would ask is whether there has been any government ever that enforced dietary restrictions on unwilling citizens.

To what extent do Islamic governments actually enforce halal rules through criminal law?

Was the ban on beast-meat in pre-Meiji Japan enforced by government authority or was it a societal taboo? In other words, would you suffer criminal punishment at the hands of government officials if you defied it?

Again, how common is it for a government to enforce dietary rules? Also, note that vegetarianism is not as common as omnivorism in general.

As for societies, certain areas of India might qualify as “strictly vegetarian societies” (Gujarat, Rajasthan, the South), but these are societal/cultural restrictions, not governmental ones.

are you supposed to bury them dead or alive? PETA would be all over this :slight_smile:

Anybody know whether the Vatican does any enforcement of fast and abstinence during the appropriate Catholic holidays?

It appears that WW2 rationing in England would qualify here.

And I’m under the impression that attempts to sell and consume dog meat in the US would fall foul of certain laws. If so, would this restriction qualify?

(Not to mention legal restrictions on cannibalism.)

I don’t think rationing really counts though. It’s not a dietary restriction, as such, but rather a resource-management issue.