What's the vegetarian stand on the humble fungus?

A few days ago, I was reading a friend’s writings, and the questions he had to ask stumped me. I don’t know whether vegetarians would eat mushrooms, and it might be useful information in case I have any people of that persuasion at my place for dinner. So… here I ask these questions:

Why is the mushroom a fungus, and not a vegetable?
Can fungi feel pain?
What’s the vegetarian stand on the humble fungus? Yay or nay?


“Fungus” is a very specific scientific term that means “that kind of living organism and no other”.


Since they don’t have nervous systems like animals do, I think it’s safe to say they don’t feel pain.

“Vegan mushroom recipes” got me 19,900 Google hits. :smiley:

Vegan Mushroom Soup

The question seemed predicated on the assumption that vegetarians only eat vegetables. They don’t. They just don’t eat meat. They have no problem with fruit, or funguses, or grain, or … you get the picture.

From your sig - I am sure you could also temp a vegetarian with a legume caramalised in bees vomit.

tempt that is

From your sig - I am sure you could also tempt a vegetarian with a legume caramalised in bees vomit.

No vegetables involved there.

Just an aside – some vegans won’t go near honey.

Thanks for the information, everyone. I’ve forwarded the thread link to my friend, and I’ll see what he says.

Duck Duck Goose: Vegan mushroom recipes, eh? Hmm. Sounds interesting. I’m also sure my friend will be happy to know that fungus don’t feel pain… or at least, to know that they’re in a special category. :smiley:

AndrewT: I’ve heard of some (extreme?) vegetarians who aren’t quite vegans, but might come close. These people won’t eat dairy or poultry. Maybe even more stuff… does anyone know why that is? I’m thinking philosophical differences or something… which probably doesn’t make sense.

antechinus: Probably could… I don’t really know any vegans or vegetarians myself. Or at least, not that well… my brother’s new friend Megan is one, I’ve heard. My old school friend Shauna was one, but I never knew her eating preferences as such.

Ice Wolf: Thanks for the link. Guess vegans and vegetarians can differ in eating practives, as well.


I wuz well aware that fugus was in it’s own specific “kingdom”… classification speakin’…

I guess I wuz just puzzled about that in relation to vegetarians…
I mean, to get really anal about it…
wot is the basic rule they live by?
living my a diet that doesn’t cause needless suffering?
is it just animals?
or… any living creature that feels pain?

now… we’ve figured that fungus feels no pain… all well n good… which means by that basic… fungus is open season for hardline vegans…

problem is… a LOT of plants DO feel pain…
I’ve read up on whole studies about it… about how various trees will emit various scent / pheremone triggers, anytime they’re threatened by a herbivore… so nearby plants will increase their toxin levels… etc…

so… if they can respond to a threat…
it means they must acknowledge the threat…
the pain?

so… if all plants feel pain?
wot IS a vegan to do?

and… if you wish to eat without taking ANY life…
well… you’re just plain screwed now aren’t ya…

I guess… wot I’m getting at…
is the whole notion of vegetarianism… and veganism… when you get to specifics of ANY kind… is seriously walking into some grey areas…

“I don’t wish to consume animals, or any related animal product”…

all well n good…
problem is… when you try asking “why?”

of course, if you chose NOT to eat animals… merely coz, well… they’re animals… well… that’s a bit without any actual reason now isn’t it? unless you go by the reasoning you don’t wish to eat anything from your own “kingdom”… thus, extending your belief on wot “cannibalism” is as far as it will stretch…

but… where do you draw the line?
that’s the problem… isn’t it…

which is why… I don’t bollock’s about… I’ll eat anything that’s not human… that isn’t too ridiculous to my sanity…

and… before you start stating really idiotic things I’m likely to eat… because of that last statement… I have one rule I live by…

I’ll eat ANYTHING…
as long as…

(a) it’s not human
(b) it’s not lethal in the dose I’m ingesting
© it has at least some kinda nutrient quality (so, don’t get me drinking buckets of non-toxic paint…)
(d) I’d like to hope it tastes good
(e) I didn’t know the food “personally” before eating it… which rules out any pets I’ve associated with…

and the final rule…
(f) if it’s truly weird… I’ll only eat it… if according to a well prepared (and perhaps traditional) recipe…

so… by this humble belief… I’ll happily eat dog meat, rats, chimpanzee or dung beetle… as long as it’s prepared according to some time honoured traditional dog / rodent / chimpanzee / dung beetle recipe…

and if it’s really weird… I’d like to see the chef try it as well… just so I know he ain’t pulling a prank on me…

Oops… I did mean “practices” in my last post. :smack:

Spoz, my brother’s friend ate dog in China… he said it was very tender. My mom didn’t eat her pet cat when she was ten, although she came pretty darn close before she asked her mom where the cat was! (in front of a bunch of relatives and family friends, she ran to her room crying… wouldn’t come out for the rest of the night, either)

As for the differences and such between vegetarians and vegans that you’re asking about, I have no clue. Maybe someone else will come along and provide us both with some ansewrs, eh?. :wink:


Yes there are many different classifications of vegetarians. Most people who call themselves vegetarian are lacto-ovo or pesce (dairy and egg, the pesce is for fish). And then there are the vegans. It boils down to the reasons people are vegetarian. These include:

  • Religion
  • Health
  • Animal cruelty
  • Efficiency (ok I just made that one up, but the energy requirements of raising meat sources of food are much greater than plant sources, or so PETA tells me)

I see no reason why a vegetarian would not be able to eat mushrooms, unless of course they just don’t like mushrooms. But be advised that some religions (jainism is the major example) has very strict and non-obvious rules for what you can eat. Strict Jains will, in fact, not eat mushrooms. Here is a complete list of what they will not eat.

I’ve heard of people who eat fish yet call themselves vegetarian, but I’ve never heard of people who eat poultry and call themselves vegetarian, much less “extreme vegetarian” or “close to vegan”.

As an interesting aside…I remember reading in Time Magazine a while back, that through genetic analysis, it was discovered that the Fungus Kingdom is more closely related to the Animal Kingdom than it is to the Plant Kingdom. Interesting, eh?

And Spoz…I’m not sure if English is your first language, but you may want to run your posts through a spell checker.
Wot = What and
Wuz = Was.

I know those "cyber dood" spelling may look “kewl”, but if you notice, on this board we all try to use “proper English”. Not to be snobby, but just because it’s much easier to read!

Just wanted to knowte two things on this topic:

Fungus protein is more molecularly similar to animal flesh protein than any other kind. Dr. Andrew Weil, who advocates vegetarianism, points this out to explain why grilled portobellos are such a satisfying replacement for meat on a hamburger bun.

Terence McKenna had extensive experience with psychedelic Psilocybe mushrooms, and long conversations with the intelligence that he contacted using these shrooms. He came up with a theory that they are inhabited by an alien intelligence which spread itself through space by transforming itself into spores. Spores can travel through interstellar space and survive. It may take millions of years to propagate, but when they drift down to the surface of the earth and land on cow dung, thereby immersing themselves in the domesticated agriculture of humans, they have adopted a sure method of establishing contact with human intelligence.

I’ve read one of Terence McKenna’s books. He’s madder than Mad Jack McMad, winner of hte Maddest Man in Christendom Competition seven years running.

You know, a good spell checker won’t flag wot. It’s the first and third person singular present form of the verb wit.

“Efficiency” might be better phrased under a category of “environmental reasons,” as modern “factory farms” are often considered to take something of a toll on the enviroment, and the energy requirements issue fits into that.

As for the OP’s secondary question on why people eat the way they do, if this discussion doesn’t continue in that direction, there have been many threads/discussions/arguments on it here previously.

Animalist! Can you PROVE that LIVING ENTITIES without nervous systems cannot feel pain? If you TRULY CARED about not inflicting suffering upon LIVING ENTITIES, you should become a lithotarian, eating only inert, unliving stones. Anything less is morally impure!

Me, I eat MEAT! But I also don’t pretend to any kind of dietary “higher morality”.

Come on, Dogface. If you’re really going to challenge what Duck Duck Goose said, why don’t you give some good reasons for it? Why would you think that anything can feel without a nervous system?

Venus Flytraps feel, at least feel enough to know when something’s in their traps.

And plants are able to sense the sun and turn towards it.

Is it “cruel” to keep triggering a flytrap’s reflex while twirling your moustache and chortling?