Must Buddhists be vegetarians? What about nuns and monks?

Vegetarianism carries three vital messages. The first one, in sequence of importance, is the respect for life. All life is equal, has the same right to live, to co-exist in this world. If one has no respect for life, being a vegetarian loses its significant meaning. The second one is to maintain a sustainable bio-eco-system for mother Earth and for our own survival. The human population is growing exponentially and the supply of meat requires an enormous amount of natural resources along with huge soil and water pollution as compared with vegetation. The third one is for health reasons which have proven to offer many benefits. Buddhists do not need to be vegetarians but they must respect life. All nuns and monks are vegetarians with few exceptions of some Tantric practitioners.