Wednesday, 21 July 2010


during some idle time today
over a delectable half of amber black country nectar
in a cosy eighteenth century dudley tavern
i got into conversation with a fellow idler
on the provocative subject of vegetarianism
my co-conspirator in productive idling, a rational reflective fellow
put it to me that one of his reasons for eating meat and fish
is that it forms part of the natural diet of homo sapiens
indulged in by the majority of human civilizations over millennia
i.e. it is a kind of dietary 'default setting'
which we are perhaps unwise to tamper with
this is an argument i have heard before
but it strikes me as an unsatisfactory one
yes, humans are clearly omnivorous beings
capable of eating and digesting a wide variety of foodstuffs
both plant and animal
but does it follow that killing and eating other sentient life forms
(just because we can and consider it nutritious and tasty)
is a good thing to do?
the word natural is one of those flexible linguistic friends
it is natural for humans to become violent when threatened
to injure or kill each other in a fight over scare resources
as the british government continues to demonstrate in afghanistan
yet does this justify the act?
for me killing an animal is not a significant step away
from killing a fellow human
the willingness to sacrifice an animal for factory fodder
is not a million miles away from sacrificing a human being
we are all flesh and blood
we all have a place on this earth
the fact is that humans
or at least humans who live in lands of plenty like this one
have a choice about what they eat
they can choose from an enormous variety of nutritious foods
only a tiny proportion of which consist of meat
vitamin b12, the only missing ingredient in a vegan diet
(according to the advice of the dieticians i have consulted)
can easily be found in a range of delicious yeast pates and spreads
and can be stored in the body for long periods
to finish with a grisly statistic
the average brit carnivore fills his or her stomach
with more than 11,000 animals over a lifetime
just imagine coming face to face with that lot!
just imagine the enormous amount of scarce land, water and fuel
needed to bring these 11,000 carcasses to the plate
and that's without even factoring in the egg and dairy industries
as so often
what seems to be perfectly normal
under closer scrutiny becomes perfectly insane!

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