Friday, 4 June 2010

Going the whole hog...

In the pub beer garden opposite my office they are currently roasting a hog. A whole hog and nothing but the hog. I've been a bit upset by it all day, mainly because every time I leave the office I'm confronted with it, in addition to the fact that it's all we can smell today.

I've been a vegetarian since I was about 10, and in that time have never been tempted to eat meat. There was one occasion when I bit into a scampi thinking it was a breaded mushroom, but it was quickly spat out and I spent the rest of the evening feeling pretty sick. We were on holiday the summer when I told my parents that I no longer wanted to eat meat, but it was hard because they kept cooking my favourite meals. They supported me by only cooking veggie dinners for a whole month when we got back, which gave me the kick start I needed. I'm eternally grateful to them for this.

I have lots of friends who are vegetarians and vegans based on animal rights arguments; which whilst I respect, don't form the underlying basis for my personal choice when it comes to eating meat or not. My parents have just given a home to three ex-battery farmed chickens; called Paulo, Di and Canio. The state of these poor birds when they arrived really shocked me. I have other friends who are vegetarians because they are aware of the environmental impact of the meat industry. Again whilst these a valid reasons, they aren't mine.

I've never been particularly preachy about my vegetarianism. For me, the idea of eating something that used to be alive, running or swimming around, talking to its brothers and sisters, completely turns my stomach. And as soon as I was conscious of the fact that meat comes from animals, then that was enough for me.

What I can't abide is people that eat meat, who don't face up to where their meals are coming from. The people that say, oh I couldn't eat it if I saw its head, or eyes, or tail, or whatever. At least understand that you are killing an animal to eat it. If you can face up to that and either not care or choose to eat it after that, then fair play. That's your decision. The same as choosing not to eat meat is my decision.

And whilst the hog roast is making me feel uneasy and uncomfortable, in some aspects I'd rather the pub was doing that then just BBQing sausages. At least the customers will see exactly where their dinner is coming from.

PS The hog is now wearing a fetching jacket of silver foil. Not unlike our new Home Secretary...


  1. Those people do annoy me too - the same kind of people who hate the thought of eating dog or horse because they're 'pets'. I do know a veggie who thinks meat-eaters should slaughter an animal themselves to prove they can, I kind of like that idea although I've never done it.

    I am a proper carnivore though, I'm one of those people who doesn't 'get' vegetarians. I admire your principles (or empathatic response, or whatever) and ting, Hannah, but I simply cannot conceive of how enormous the principle / response must be to override the sheer loveliness of meat! Takes all sorts I suppose

    What's your view on fish? The same? I'm sure you're aware of our mutual friend's rationale that it's OK to eat fish because they don't have any feelings...


  2. I once saw a TV programme about Germaine Greer who said the only meat she ever ate was the meat that she caught and killed herself. I remember thinking fair play!

    I think I've always taken the view that the animal is dying so you can eat it, therefore the amount of pain etc doesn't really come into it (but of course I support as humane a slaughter as is possible). I've never eaten fish because I don't see a difference between a salmon and a cow - they were both once alive and the thought of eating them doesn't sit well with me.

    I do wonder how he knows? Has he ever been a fish?

  3. To be honest I'm being unfair because I kind of apply the same logic to all animals...obviously they feel pain, but I dont believe they experience emotion to the same degree as humans so I don't think an animal's death has the same element of tragedy as a human's.

    I think Daniel's logic is to do with physical pain as well, as far as I remember

  4. To a certain extent I agree with your sentiment, which is why I've never been militant about my vegetarianism. Yes animals can't speak for themselves and therefore need people to speak out on their behalf, but there are people who need speaking out for as well, and as I only have a finite amount of time/energy, I'm much happier campaigning on issues which affect humans. it doesn't mean that I don't care about animal welfare, it's just that my emphasis is on humans first.