Saturday, 18 June 2011

On noses and tails

Thanks (I think) to a member of my uni's vegan/vegetarian group, my attention was brought to this article on an environmentalist website. (Warning: gross dead animal pics and slaughter talk) The subject is nose-to-tail eating, the uber-carnist practice of making 'use' of the whole dead animal instead of the more culturally acceptable bits.

You know what? I think that IF people are going to eat meat, they should do it this way. IF you're going to eat an animal's arse cheek, maybe the rectum shouldn't squick you out as much. IF you want to eat a dead animal, then maybe you should be up for doing the killing and butchering rather than paying for someone else to do it. The ifs are all there. My issue with this article and others like it is that I don't give these ifs much credence.

This article in particular glosses over a lot. If we leave aside the dubious comment about hunter-gatherer societies - who may, according to some scientists, have been more about the foraging than the hunting when it comes to day-to-day eating - there's still a fair bit to go on. For example, 'many of us environmentally conscious consumers need or crave animal protein'. 'Need' is a bit strong, for a start. And let's conflate need with cravings, while we're about it, and elevate the latter to the level of the former. This means we don't have to be even vaguely critical about giving in to these cravings - because, after all, they're a need. And that, ducklings and grasshoppers, is the only justification given by the article for eating meat in the first place.

Let's switch focus here. The problem isn't that meat-eaters are being too fussy about which bits they eat - the problem is that animals and animal derivatives are still considered part of a normal diet at all. Finding newer and possibly yuckier loopholes is not a solution.

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