Over on the much-maligned Google+ (which is totally unjustified by the way, but that’s another blog) I follow The BBC. They recently posted a story about vegetarianism. I didn’t even read the story so i’m afraid I couldn’t tell you what it was about exactly as I was immediately distracted by the comments war that had erupted below. Well, I say “war”, it was more simply peppered with a passive aggressive set of digs from some who are perplexed that people have the nerve to opt to be vegetarians; mystified at the arrogance of it all – like vegetarians think of themselves as some kind of super-being on a right-on path to be much, much better than them. You may know the ones.
So why do so many meat eaters take issue with vegetarianism (not all – I don’t want to generalise – 99% totally accept it and i’m sure you do too)? Why, to some, is being a vegetarian such madness when a gazillion people in this country live on Iceland “Lasagne Bites”, microwave ready meals or McDonald’s?! My wife’s a veggie and has been since she was 16. She’s fit as a fiddle and bright as a button (excuse the simile over-use). Largely through her influence (or persistent indoctrination – i’m yet to decide) I decided to cut out meat but still eat fish and sea food (feel free to probe me on this or call me a hypocrite – I’ve had it a couple of times). She was keen to raise our two girls the same way as her. I did have concerns I must admit – as it turns out, only through ignorance. The girls are strong and have boundless energy – the two things I was worried about. Their diet is varied and contains all the nutrition they require – probably more in fact.
My eldest is two years old (and the following is the kind of statement that strikes a chord with the meat eaters who go after vegetarianism and if it raises your hackles, ask yourself why) and she isn’t conscious she is a “vegetarian” but out of the blue she said “I don’t eat animals”. Frankly, it sounded right for my little girl to say it; she loves animals (I’m not implying that you don’t if you eat meat by the way – just explaining the goings on in our lives). She had obviously picked up somewhere that some do “eat animals”, or heard in a story an animal eating another animal; but the shock of it prompted her to point it out. She goes to petting farms, she has a room full animal toys, her favourite place is the Zoo, she’s a big animal fan. That is why, in the main, people are vegetarians: they love animals and don’t want to turn 10,000 of the cute little bastards into faeces, throughout their lives.
It’s pretty much that simple. It’s nothing to take offence at – vegetarians don’t do it to offend you, they don’t do it to be in any way more righteous than you, they probably don’t even want to tell you; they just do it quietly for themselves. But every now and then a meat eater with an issue with it will call you out for being “a hippy twat” or scan your house for leather or point out the irony that “you eat bacon-shaped Quorn!” (LIKE IT’S A THING!) or look desperately for something to run with in a needless quest to have a dig. To those people out there who do: it’s really shit, let’s live and let live, eh?