Meat-Free Week is an initiative that started in Australia. On March 23rd, 2015, the UK began its own version. This is due to be an annual event. Even though I don’t eat meat, I’m not convinced that these initiatives are really such a great idea.
Not eating meat has become a militant thing – something that seems to be getting a little holier-than-thou.
Most of us who can read, see or hear are fully aware that society as a whole should eat less meat. After all, the media is telling us all the time, it seems.
We have heard the statistics too – about how a third of the world’s cereal harvests are fed to animals; animals who then feed human beings.
But do we really have to put up with things like Meat-Free Week? Do we really need specific organised ‘weeks’ to help us decide? By my own choice, I don’t eat meat as a rule. But if I decide to have a bacon buttie every so often, and I have done, that’s nobody’s business except my own.
I haven’t ‘let the side down’. I’m not a ‘failed vegetarian’. I haven’t ‘been untrue to my principles’ and I’m not being unthinking about the planet.
The meat industry, and fast food businesses, mostly have little to commend them (in my opinion) but then neither do cigarettes or sugary cakes or all those other things that are bad for us – but people keep using them.
Will meat-eaters eventually have to go outside to eat a pork chop the way smokers have to when they want a cigarette? And do we really need to be protected by the formulation of these militant ‘weeks’?
If you eat meat, that doesn’t mean that I’m a better person than you because I rarely eat it. I’m not inferior to you if you’re a vegan and don’t use anything (leather included) that has never been anywhere near an animal. We are people, that’s all. Of all the criteria by which to judge people, surely eating or not eating meat is way down on the list.
There are probably people on death row right now who are vegetarian. Not eating meat isn’t a sign of a ‘good person’.
Health? Well, there are some people who eat organic, high quality meat and have much better diets than non meat eaters who eat nothing but cheese pizza and chocolate. It’s an individual choice. There are no rules – or at least,there shouldn’t be. What’s sauce for the goose, and so on. If you are a non-meat eater who occasionally has a steak, then fine. Although some faiths have a vegetarian diets as part of their code of ethics, vegetarianism isn’t a religion. There are no vegetarian police who are going to arrest you if you can’t resist that smoked salmon paté.
I don’t like hearing people say ‘I’m afraid that I do eat meat’ or “I know I shouldn’t eat meat but I do like it’. We’re taking about meat here, not mainlining heroin. Don’t feel guilty. Don’t feel as though you should be vegetarian.
Can’t we just be a little more tolerant towards each other?
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