Mr Milk was vegetarian for 20 years until his curiosity got the better of him. We were visiting Roka, a rather gorgeous sushi restaurant in Charlotte St, London; his work were paying (well they’d pretty much owned his life for several months) so we were eating. In hindsight I think he had decided he was straying before he’d even booked the restaurant.
As it turns out, meat pretty much had him at hello. Grabbed him by the short and curlies with a pincer grip and clamped her striatus muscles around his follicles.
I suppose, as his palette was becoming more and more refined (no doubt by the exponential improvements made in the culinary department) it seemed only sensible to widen the range of foods he would eat, savour, explore. After all, you only live once. So he embarqued on his flesh-eating journey. It was to be limited only to the finest cuts of organic, hand-reared meat, blessed by prepubescent nuns and stroked in a daily ritual by eunich sheep, yada yada.
Within 2 months he was eating 3 macdonalds a week.
I actually joined him as a vegetarian for a few years. It wasn’t some kind of moral quest for me, it was just that it was around the time of the mad cow scare and I didn’t really fancy staggering out my last breath with a moo and a swish of the tail. So the idea was to cut out meat entirely, and then to slowly drip feed back only the best quality cuts…hold on, this sounds familiar….
Anyway, I knocked my own vegetarianism on the head when I started weaning the first born. Well it’s difficult to maintain some kind of rigid quality control when you’re having to sample pureed lamb at every meal.
You see, there is no doubt in my mind that, biologically speaking, we’re meant to eat meat – we’re built for it. Those big monster teeth at the back are clearly for chewing through sinew and gristle, not sauteed parsnip or squishy butter beans. We don’t look at a tiger hunting down it’s prey with cunning and detachment – playful, ruthless, singleminded – and say “that tiger is totally bloody out of order”. It’s natural.
So i’m afraid if the argument is purely that eating meat is immoral I don’t buy it, especially if you’re a “pescatarian” that caveats yourself by saying that fish are different because they’ve got tiny little fish brains. Now if we start talking about the way we farm/kill/process meat and what we’re doing to the planet, well, that’s where any kind of argument I can feebly muster slips on a banana peel and lands firmly on its arse. What argument could I possibly have?
The way we farm is disgusting, the way we treat animals is disgusting. I’d rather run on the ruddy treadmill again in my knickers than see a slaughter first hand. Yet i choose to do nothing about it. I’m lazy, selfish, hypocritical and have my head firmly in the bloodied sands. The problem is, I really do believe we should be eating meat
So where does that leave me? I’m not entirely sure. My views, as ever, are largely under-developed, over-thought and seriously changeable at this time.
I’m pretty sure there’ll be a reaction though. At least it might help me build a better bloody argument (assumes crash position).