Did you see the two BBC programmes this week presented by Dr Michael Mosely, called, 'Should I Eat Meat?' In the first, he explored the health effects of eating meat (which transpired to be not terribly favourable) and in the second he looked at the effects the increasing meat consumption of the World's population is having on the planet.
And all I can say is that I am jolly glad I am a vegetarian. Especially during the second programme when they showed an image that really shocked me. It was this...
...a canula, fitted to a cow so that scientists and farmers could have instant access to the cow's first stomach. And I mean 'immediate access.' Unscrew the canula cap, pop your hand inside the cow and straight into a dollop of semi-digested food. The research being done was to find out more about the process of methane production because cows produce a lot of methane and this in turn affects the Earth's atmosphere and there are serious concerns about what will happen because meat production is growing at what appears to be an unsustainable rate.
And I was sitting there thinking, 'Surely, then, the answer is to EAT LESS MEAT, you morons?! Not find out ways to manage the growing the problem. Stop the problem growing.'
It is all down to greed, of course. Like the deforestation happening in the Amazon because the world is demanding more and more beef production and farmers need more space to grow their cattle...
...and even chicken meat production, which I felt was slightly unfairly reported because Mosely went into a stock shed full of cute little chicks with plenty of room when what he SHOULD have done was gone in at the end of the seven week growing period when the chickens were much bigger and space at a premium, like this...
...and the smell of ammonia literally brings tears to your eyes.
I don't want to sound evangelical about all this but I am fed up with listening to people talk about animals in terms of a crop like wheat or apples or potatoes. There is no need for this intensive farming. Humans can live a healthy vegetarian lifestyle. Humans need to stop thinking that meat is the be all and end all of survival.
I am amazed that only 5% of the British public are vegetarian and that we are still regarded as oddities. (And heaven help you if, like me, you don't touch alcohol either!)
I am amazed that people say things like, 'it isn't a proper meal unless it's got meat in it.'
I am amazed that many pubs, cafes and restaurants think that one vegetarian 'option' is enough to offer on their extensive menus. 'One' is NOT an option, is it?
I am amazed that people think vegetarian food is 'boring' and complicated to prepare.
I was talking to someone last weekend who said he didn't object to vegetarianism as long as it wasn't forced on him. Like, for example, if going to dinner at the home of a vegetarian he expected to be served a meat dish. And he seemed to think if I went to dinner at a meat-eater's home I would eat whatever was provided - sausages, bacon, chicken casserole - because I wouldn't want to 'upset' the host by refusing their food, would I?
I said, 'I am never going to compromise my vegetarian lifestyle by eating meat to keep someone happy. You don't chop and change your mind about eating meat. You either do or you don't.'
He looked surprised. 'What would you do then?'
I said, 'I don't expect people to cater for my needs, and if I was presented with, say, sausage, peas and mash, I would say 'thank you, but I won't eat the sausages because I am vegetarian.' And I would eat the mash and peas.'
And thus ended the conversation with a bit of a stunned silence.
I am often asked why I am vegetarian - usually by youngsters who wonder how I am still able to function without the sustainance of a bacon sandwich. I say, 'I don't see why another living creature should have to die in order to keep me alive when there is plenty of other food on the planet.'
And that's all I have to say on the matter.
And if that makes me a bit of a fruit loop then fruit loop I am.