Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Jonathan Safran Foer has written an anti-meat book called Eating Animals.
Personally I find meat delicious and lack the will and/or moral fibre to sacrifice it and I don’t want to read Foer’s book because it will probably increase my feelings of guilt. I’m not proud of this.
Mrs Brit is a veggie and I’ve had to sit patiently with her through enough meals while some Clarkson-wannabe bore wags his forkful of steak and harangues her with tales of primitive man’s mammoth-hunting etc to know all the pro-meat arguments inside out. (If you are one of those people who feels the need to lecture vegetarian ladies you’ve just met, I urge you to desist. They will neither be convinced nor secretly thrilled and enraptured by your roguish forthrightness.) Anyway, it is of course perfectly possible to be vegetarian and healthy (how many obese veggies do you know?) and yes being able to give up meat is a luxury but then so is voting and not having to steal things.
Many of the anti-meat arguments are nonsense too, mind. Militant vegetarians - of which Mrs B is most certainly not one - often demand that meat-eaters should be prepared to slaughter their own animals. This makes no more sense than demanding that people who drive cars or use toilets should be prepared to fix their own engines or do their own plumbing.
On the other hand I find that I’m ever more conscious or guilty about free rangery and suchlike, and it seems clear that this is the direction the western world is going: until we perfect lab meat we’ll increasingly come to despise factory farming.
Moral values change and just as we feel sick at the way our forebears treated penniless orphans or petty criminals or ethnic minorities, so our descendants will be appalled by our battery chickens and many, many other things which we take for granted. We cannot even guess which of our routine behaviours will be the taboos of the future.