Eating meat is ultimately a thoughtless act. We're raised in a culture where we don't make the association between the steak on our plate and the cute little lambs gambling in our fields and casinos. The process of taking a living creature and turning it into fillets and cubes is invisible to us and that makes it easy to ignore.
This doesn't necessarily make it an evil act, but it does fill me with a sense of unease that something so rewarding comes so easily. I feel that I should probably learn how to slaughter an animal at some point just so that I can get a sense of the sacrifice. If I can't bring myself to kill the meat I eat then I probably don't really deserve to eat it.
Eggs are even harder. A chicken lays around 700 eggs over its lifespan. But for each lady chicken that's born a male chicken is born, sexed, and then gassed to death with carbon monoxide. For every egg that I eat that's one seven hundredth of an adorable baby chicken's life on my hands. Of course, this is almost a kindness compared to the lives of chickens in battery farms.
It's now becoming easier for us to step away from the most horrible denials that we have to make. Barn eggs instead of caged. Free range instead of barn. At least we know that the animals didn't unnecessarily suffer for us before they suffered for us.
We have an empathy for animals because altruism to our fellow man and also the animals in our environment benefitted us as societies. Befriending and taming wildlife allowed us to be better farmers and hunters. It enabled us to clear our environments of rats and mice. It made us better.
But this behaviour was only unlocked by the development of our gigantic brains. Brains that only really began to reach their potential because they evolved to utilise the energy and mineral rich diet of animal flesh. Vegetarianism exists only because we learned to eat meat. That's irony in two senses of the word.
Today is Australia Day. It's a day people celebrate their delicious and energy rich meat but I can't shake the feeling that I shouldn't be celebrating eating meat. I should, at the very least, be mildly ashamed of it.
If you have any good vegetarian recipes please do leave them in the comments.
Hi Dan. Not sure if you are on Twitter, but I'm always happy to help with veg food advice - @mattheworbit.
My fave veg recipe sources are: www.theppk.com/recipes Www.plantpoweredkitchen.com Urbanvegan.net Veganfeastkitchen.blogspot.com
Thanks for taking some time to think rather than just going with the herd! Matt
Thanks for these websites - I've got to check them out! My partner's a veggo, and it's so hard to find good ideas sometimes that aren't just pasta or rice based.
A nice recipe I like is to get some sourdough bread or a vienna cobb, slice it, put goat's cheese and pesto on the bread, grill it - then add mushrooms pan-fried with mixed herbs. It's really tasty and filling. Not sure how healthy though! But can't be too bad on the odd occasion. :)
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