Having got into rather a heated debate about vegetarianism over the weekend (ie people who just don’t eat red meat then say they are veggie ….), I’ve been thinking recently about why people don’t eat certain foods.
True vegetarians are easy to understand as they avoid meat, fish and animal by-products such as rennet either because they don’t like the taste, or more commonly because of animal welfare issues. Vegans are even easier as they refuse all animal products entirely, including butter and honey. But for carnivores and dairy eaters, our preconceptions about the foods we eat are much harder to justify.
Some people are violently against British veal. Why? It’s a product of the dairy industry as much as the milk we pour on our cereal. If we don’t eat British veal, the calves will either be slaughtered at birth or exported where standards are not as high as ours. Some people won’t eat lobster because they can’t bear the thought of them being boiled alive. But they’re more than happy to roast an intensively farmed chicken that never saw day light, and was grown so quickly its legs couldn’t support its weight. What is it that makes one thing less cruel than the other? Or is it that it’s just easier to avoid veal and lobster than it is milk and chicken?
I think the most that any of us can do is to buy the best quality food we can afford. And if this means swapping a premium cut of intensively farmed meat for a cheaper cut of free-range, then so be it. Better for all of us to eat vegetarian more often and save our money for high-welfare meat and poultry. We’re always moaning we cook the same things over and over anyway. Try something new!
Some food for thought … what do you think?