Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Eating animals

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.


Willard said...

We cannot even guess which of our routine behaviours will be the taboos of the future.

Blogging. Without a doubt.

Brit said...

Blogging, taboo?

(Only if it's done properly, hem hem.)

Gaw said...

I've read some reviews and it sounds like the sort of book that gets flung across the room.

But the argument against factory farming is surely irrefutable.

Susan's Husband said...

"know all the pro-meat arguments inside out"

Even "because I have opposable thumbs, that's why"?

Recusant said...

As a farmer's boy, I can tell you that absolutely free range, with minimum human intervention, can be a lot more cruel than well done factory farming.

We eat meat. We always have done. It provides a delicious, nutritious and easily digestible source of valuable proteins, minerals and vitamins. I have no particular problem with the idea that if people are going to eat meat, they should at least once kill a sentient creature for its meat: it would give them an idea of what's involved and, more importantly, put them off the idea of wasting it or poorly using it.

The important thing is not the method of production but the intent: if you want to produce good quality meat in an efficient manner, certain standards of production are necessary.

David said...

Meat good!

zmkc said...

'If God didn't want us to eat animals, why did he make them out of meat?' Homer Simpson

Gadjo Dilo said...

It's tempting not to be a vegetarian simply to annoy Morrissey, great poet though he be. Over here, small-scale farming results in much, much tastier meat, but then you end up eating something that once had a name, like George, or whatever.

Brit said...

David and ZKMC's pro-meat argument is the only one I employ and, in its way, it is unanswerable.

Brit said...

Sorry, ZMKC. Awkward moniker that.