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  • Writer's pictureKarl Walker-Finch

Don’t have a cow, man

There are often disparities between what is considered socially acceptable or “normal” and what is morally right. We seem to be at a bit of a tipping point with one issue that seems to be coming up more frequently.

David Mitchell’s compendium of his Guardian columns “Dishonest is the Second Best Policy” (here, or self-narrated on Audible) repeatedly touches on society’s frequent idiosyncrasies but the one that piqued my interest was his one on veganism, particularly now that we’re in another “Veganuary”.

Now I’m not convinced that many people will be suddenly becoming completely vegan for the month, in reality, it’s quite challenging to flick a switch and instantly move completely away from all animal based products, or ones that have harmed any animals or insects in any way. Of course this means more than not eating meat and fish, but also dairy products, not wearing animal products like leather, wool or silk.

Being and ethical vegetarian hasn’t ever made much sense to me for the obvious issues with consuming dairy and for some reason eggs seem to be allowed.

For some time now, as a family, we’ve been actively reducing our intake of animal products. Partly for ethical reasons, partly for environmental reasons. We’ve genuinely loved it. The variety of foods now available go far beyond the dodgy cardboard infused veggie sausages of the nineties. You get the feel good factor that you’re not actually responsible for the death of any animals, and the reduction in your carbon footprint (assuming you didn’t choose to eat the avocados that have been flown from Costa Rica to your local Tesco in December).

If you wouldn’t kill the chicken to make your dinner yourself (and if that’s the case what chance have you got with a cow, pig or lamb) then should you really be eating it just because someone else has done the dirty work for you?

Simon Amstell’s film Carnage (watch here, may seem to be an extreme society in comparison to today’s standards, but it’s not difficult to see how a country that has completely removed all animal produce would see the farming, imprisonment and slaughtering.

Im not vegan. Not even a vegetarian, but I have taken steps in reducing my meat intake and I can foresee a time when I don’t consume any animal produce or at least very little. A key for me in enjoying this transition was to not try and pretend that the piece of tofu could actually be a steak, but to embrace the variety that meat free meals has brought to my diet.

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