as a vegetarian of some 39 years (ok ok ovolacto), i have not gone into any kind of argument/debate re vegetarianism for the last 30 years. I just do it.
But it's good news about Mongolia. My two months in '95 there were probably the hardest in my life as a vegetarian. In general the sight and smell of meat doesn't disturb me, my lamas eat meat and it doesn't bother me. But the all pervasive smell of mutton in Mongolia got to me a bit in the end - not so much out on the steppes but when I transited Ulan Bataar and stayed a couple of nights in a hotel, ostensibly to relax, clean up etc before leaving: the smell of mutton was in the carpets, the curtains everything.
The early morning of my departure I was second in line at the airport immigration desk. Just as the first passenger got his passport stamped a young boy, obviously a runner, delivered a package smelling of, yes you got it, mutton. I prayed and prayed for him to wait but to no avail. The officer opened the package straight away, picked up a few grisly bits and sucked on them with deep satisfaction before chewing and swallowing. Then with a cursory wipe on his uniform he grabbed the stamp and gave my passport a vigorous thump. With my highly developed sense powers I saw the microdroplets of mutton gravy splattered ever so finely on the page and knew it would be months before the smell disappeared. (OK so I lied, they were globules of mutton fat that were visible to my boggling eyes and it smelt bl...y awful).
Sorry - I only tell this story to illustrate that not all vegetarians have compassion. It took me about 2 hours before I had any remote sense of forgiveness....
When I was in Taiwan I came back from the bookstore to the hostel with a dharma book in hand.
One fellow asked to see it and of course I handed it over.
He inspected it and handed it back to me.
"Yeah, I went for dinner with a friend..."
...and as I looked at the back of book a visible smear of grease was present.
I delicately attempted to clean it off with tissues and soap, but that damn smell remained for awhile.
When you don't eat meat, you really smell it. It permeates through things.
No wonder it says in the Brahma Net Sutra that if you eat meat animals will run away from you!