New Year reflections on developing an ethical position on eating animals, published Barking & Dagenham Post and Newham Recorder Jan 2018.
The New Year is often a good time to review our eating habits. If you eat animals then you may want to reflect on how this affects your health and the planet, not to mention the suffering involved.
The arguments against are powerful. Earth simply doesn’t have the resources to provide meat to 7 billion plus people. Our seas are being stripped of fish. The flatulence of the estimated 1.5 billion cattle worldwide allegedly contributes more to global warming than transport, and that’s no joke!
But don’t we need meat to grow big and strong? Not judging from elephants, bison and gorillas who all thrive without it. In fact there is ample evidence that a balanced meat free diet is healthier than one involving regular meat eating.
Of course, in the hurly burly of everyday life it’s not always easy to do the right thing. Meat is so readily available. Some food contains hidden meat products. And a rat infestation can test the tolerance of the most determined vegetarian.
The expression ‘flexitarian’ will make many wince, but this recently coined term is useful to describe people who aim to eat less meat and fish, but don’t always succeed. The direction of travel is important and we can all do a bit more to cut down. Perhaps a time will come in human development when killing and eating other sentient life forms will be universally considered as abhorrent as slavery or cannibalism.
Chair East London Humanists