Tibetan Nomads Go Meat Free

As the country becomes more metropolitan, Tibet’s population increasingly slashes meat consumption to fall in line with compassionate morals.


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Media outlet Vice recently published an in-depth feature about the changing diets of Tibetan nomads, who have historically relied on yak milk and meat that they ate out of necessity due to the inability to cultivate other sources of nutrition at high elevations. However, the growing metropolitan sector and accessibility to fresh produce is creating a marked shift toward vegetarianism in the Tibetan diet. A recent investment in high altitude greenhouses by the central government in Beijing has made it possible for Tibetans to have access to fresh vegetables, while tofu-making programs in monasteries have created a protein-rich alternative to meat. As Buddhists who respect life in all its forms, the slaughter and eating of animals created a moral dilemma. “What we’ve got is some people who recognize that eating meat is not compatible with being as compassionate as you could be with animals,” associate professor and Tibetan vegetarianism researcher at Oregon State University Geoff Barstow said.