By sister-initiate Sheila Coodin, Vancouver, Canada
Harvard Graduate School of Education Doctoral Student Karen Hussar is researching children aged 6-10 who have become vegetarian, to write a dissertation on the reasons for children becoming vegetarian. She looked at a total of 45 children and inquired, through role play, about their reasons for adopting a plant-based diet. She had four different categories of reasons: moral, personal, meat-eating, and social. To her surprise, most of the children had moral reasons for their choice. For example, Alejandra Tumble, 10, talked about why she became vegetarian. She thinks it strange that a pig can be processed into a thin slice of pink meat, and thinks it's wrong for her to eat that. Many of the children, even those who came from non-vegetarian homes, have similar reasons, like "I don't like the idea of killing animals," or "I love animals and I didn't want to eat them. I just wanted to be nice." Ms. Hussar believes we can learn a lot about morality from vegetarian children as they don't have any prescribed or preset answers to explain their decision, so they are giving authentic responses about their reasons for deciding to keep the vegetarian diet.
This research is also very interesting as the results show that children are capable of making independent moral decisions at this young age.