Monday, May 23, 2005

Meat is madness


Things are cookin' over at the Guardian blog, where someone has lit a match to the blue touch paper that is the debate about vegetarianism.

It's Vegetarian Week, apparently (no, I didn't know either, and I am one). Anyway, the Grauniad thought it would be a jolly good idea to invite people to attack meat-eaters. Not with forks, alas, but with invective.

Of course, what happened was that the comments have been swamped by sanctimonious types of both kinds: passive-aggressive meat-eaters have brought out their treasured "they're all loonies" lines, while the veggies have poked at them with long chopsticks, attempting to refute their arguments without sounding priggish (and mostly failing on both counts).

There's no point to debates like this, they just allow the socially inadequate to blare away with their prejudices without the inconvenience of facts. Bit like sitting through Question Time, or listening to Jeremy Clarkson talk about... well, anything.

If you've got twelve hours to spare, take a long scroll through the comments and see if you can find Oscar's slim contributions. Or just wait until I decide to produce a longer, reasoned discussion on the merits (and possible drawbacks) of vegetarianism and its evangelists.

(Postscript: there was one comment which I thought was reasonably sensible and clear-headed, from a chap (I presume) called Yorgos:

In the interest of sanity, I'll summarize some points from this discussion, all of which I believe to be true:
1. Meat eaters can get very defensive and boorish.
2. Vegetarians and (especially) vegans can get sanctimonious and hectoring.
3. A largely vegetarian diet is healthy (check out the heart-friendly Mediterranean diet).
4. On the other hand, vegans have to be more careful to get essential nutrients.
5. It's tough to be vegetarian in an omnivore world.
6. A largely vegetarian diet is better for the environment.
7. Cruelty to animals is a strong argument (but against factory farming).
So the vegetarians win, perhaps heavily, on the balance of the arguments. Still, the omnivores like meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, and tiramisu, even if only occasionally (I have a vegetarian daughter, and she has changed us, but I still have to get some meat now and then). We are the majority. Vegetarians can try to educate us. Maybe they will succeed. Meanwhile let's respect one another.

Yorgos goes on to make some less wise remarks elsewhere, but I'll return to the above sometime (after the cricket).


Anonymous wcvarones said...

Thanks for the information.

Vegetarianism is important, not just for animal welfare, but also for the environment.

12:11 am  
Blogger Oscar Wildebeest said...

Thanks for the input, WC. There'll be all of this sort of thing when I come to write up my thoughts on vegetarianism (including the counter-arguments left in your comments box).

11:30 am  

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