Oh. Good. Vegetarians.

If I could cull a group of people from the face of the earth with a wave of my finger (and make no mistake about it, one day I will be able to. Science is working on it as we speak) I would have a difficult choice between homophobes, racists, neo-nazis, book burning small town far right Christian organisations and everybody on a fixed rate mortgage who needs to stop complaining and accept they made a bad decision.
However, if I was not required to consider the good that could be done to all of humanity with my cull and could make my decision based upon purely personal preferences, the group I would chose to cull would definitely be vegetarians.

Obviously, as a hippy and pinko liberal, I am obliged to respect everybody’s lifestyle choices and defend their right to make them. If you wish to exist on bean curd and lentils, please continue to do so. It would just make me a little happier if you could do it somewhere other than at my dining table.

You see, He Who Knows Everything’s sister and her husband have been over to see us. When I say “have been over to see us”, in real world language I mean “wanted a cheap holiday and knew they could stay with us for free”. I am not terribly enamoured of any of my relatives, as regular readers will know. My aunt is very boring and talks exclusively about the number 8 bus route in Birmingham. She has even given a book on the subject to He Who Knows Everything who was disproportionately thrilled by it.
She and her husband are also vegetarian. They eat eggs and cheese (vegetarian for preference) but not fish. This is rather unfortunate as I have a habit of adding greater or lesser amounts of Worcestershire Sauce to everything I cook.

I do not enjoy cooking. I can think of many better ways to spend an hour than over a hot stove and construct meals by picking a carbohydrate, adding a meat based product and boiling up anything green I can find lurking in the bottom of the salad drawer. It suits me just fine. Other people tend to avoid coming to my house for dinner but that also suits me just fine.

One of the major troubles with vegetarians is their habit of attempting to convert meat eaters to the cause. I have met one who doesn’t but his vegetarianism was a by product of his Buddhism and so does not count.
Mammy is still keen on getting some chickens but is somewhat put off by the prospect of maggots and the like. Any would be too much. At dinner, just as we meat eaters were tucking into some tasty poultry, Aunt, with the smug smile of one who feels she is about to win points for creating a convert, felt the need to point out we would no longer be able to eat chicken if we also kept them.
As it happens, she is wrong about this. I know where my meat comes from. It comes from the murdered carcass of an animal bred in outdoor based captivity whose only destiny is to provide me with protein. I am very comfortable with that.

The McCartney’s have also been attempting to turn us away from meat with their Meat Free Monday initiative. They are disguising it as a climate change drive but I suspect it may primarily be to drive up the sales of Linda McCartney ready meals sold to lazy flesh eaters like myself.
Although I have not looked it up to confirm my suspicions, I am comfortable asserting that any quotes about the like for like energy needs of beef verses lentils are deeply flawed. While cows do produce methane and are collectively farting the planet to death, growing lentils is not a carbon neutral exercise. Any crop has to be planted, sprayed, harvested and processed. Until a hybrid tractor is invented, this will involve petrol and other evil planet destroying things. Once lentils have been grown, they need to be shipped to from Canada to the rest of the world.
By contrast, my beef steak has been grown just up the road, slaughtered just up the road and sold in a shop just up the road.

Another point to consider is that the usefulness of a cow does not end with its iron providing taste sensation. Leather is a by-product of the beef industry. While walking around in wooden clogs may suit the warmer regions of the world, leather shoes are a must for a European winter. Can lentils give me footwear?
It isn’t as though a cow gets electrocuted and the bits we don’t want are thrown away: every single part of an animal is used for something. It’s true when they say the only part of a pig you can’t eat is the squeal.

It’s all very well holding press conferences about things but it doesn’t help that nobody thinks things through properly. I remember reading some time ago that recycling may be doing more harm than good because it used far more energy than creating things from scratch but nobody was quite sure because nobody had bothered to work it out.
I’m pleased that the McCartney family are raising awareness about climate change and attempting to come up with a simple and effective idea everybody can incorporate into their lives without too much difficulty. I would just be happier knowing that somebody, somewhere, had done the accurate maths to find out if it will actually help.


Unknown said...

Great piece. While I have not given up meat, I now eat more green things. Lettuce, Baby Leaf Spinach and also tomatoes. I also eat more bran. So my diet is basically enhanced with "leafs and sticks" as Ardal O'Hanlon calls it, but it does keep me regular. As for recycling and global warming, there is lots of money to be made in both rackets and the hippies in suits are making £$Millions the world over.

sarah said...

hahahahahaaa. you crack me up theo. i laughed. and then cried. and then ate some sugar.

vegetarians. bah. the way they talk on and on about the way they save baby lambs.

turn on the barbie and pass the marinade

Theo said...

You know Sarah, a recommendation to turn on the barbie is one capital letter away from innapropriateness. You should watch yourself ;)

Ironbed, Good to have you here.