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The Misgiving Meat Eater

“All things bright and beautiful,

All creatures great and small.

All things wise and wonderful,

The Lord God made them all.”

After reading the book “Sapiens” by Yuval Noah Harari, I stopped eating meat. 

His description of animals having no life was the final straw for me. His statements about animals living but having no life had a big impact on my thinking. What happens to the animals we eat is worse perhaps than the gulags and the concentration camps and only the Animal Activist fanatics complain. As soon as these fanatics complain, however justified they are, people stop listening. 

That’s the problem with fanatics, people stop listening. 

But how else do you get what you feel is an important message across? 

How do you do it without offending people?

For a long time, I had harboured a suspicion that eating meat was not a good thing to do and that animals were cruelly treated and tortured before being painfully exterminated in the slaughter houses, or abattoirs as they are politely called. 

Two legs matter, four legs don’t, unless it’s a horse or dog or cat or a pet. 

Or maybe a threatened species. 

Otherwise, four legs or wings are good for the ovens.

I hope when I reach the Pearly Gates, if I even get as far as the interview there, that my qualms about meat-eating will be taken into account and hopefully negate some of my wicked ways. 

I probably won’t make the interview though with my CV.

Sometimes, I tell dreadful lies to spice up my sketches. 

The funny thing is that when I was younger and was out hunting with the family, the suffering of animals never bothered me one little bit. 

My father’s love of fox-hunting descended on me and whenever I visited the family’s estate in Wendover, near Brooklands, I went a’hunting. 

The little blighters didn’t like us one bit. The little red-tailed buggers were everywhere and it gave us great pleasure to hunt ‘em down and eat ‘em. Quite tasty really but not as tasty as the rabbits, pheasants and grouse. 

Yes, we ate foxes; what’s strange about that? 

Baby foxes are best, with rabbit pie and peas. 

Delicious.

Mamma thought it horrid and often remonstrated with us about our wicked ways but nothing could stop us. 

Boots on, spurs on, 

Tally-ho and away we’d go. 

Dogs squealing, horns blowing, you couldn’t beat it, the perfect day out. 

And meat galore at night; those were the days.

Slosh it in a pan, boil it, or burn it to death in the oven or on the grill.

No mercy.

Pass the salt, please.

Shooting was also splendid fun; you can’t beat a good slaughter every few weeks. 

Of course, Mummsy didn’t like that either but Pappa would hear none of it. 

Oh no, indeed no; Daddsy ruled the castle !!! 

Bang, bang rabbits, birds, squirrels; we shot the lot, and ate the lot.

Who cared about the babies waiting in the warren or dreys or lairs, or the fledglings starving in the nests?

But hunting didn’t seem as cruel to me as what the modern industrialised world does to cows and calves and chickens and pigs. I have always felt a twinge of guilt when I kill a fly, or a mosquito, or an irritating insect, and even when I accidentally dissect a worm when gardening I feel some empathy. 

“As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods;

They kill us for their sport.”

I have a strange deep belief that in some way all life is somehow sacred; that all life matters. 

And yet I go on swatting those flies and stamping on those damned elusive silver-fish. 

It’s a mystery to me my behaviour. 

How can I still eat fish and crabs and prawns? 

It’s a mystery, full of contradictions.

But we live in the real world and we can only try our best. Food and flies and meat and business and two legs all rule the real world.

But I do think we could cut down on the meat if we tried. 

Or better still, stop eating meat. 

Sooner or later if we follow our conscience the we must stop the industrialised savagery involved in the modern meat-eating business. 

We must stop eating meat.

I have anyway.

Douglas Murray recently wrote in the wake of the latest Woke that perhaps “the fact that we continued to rear, kill and then eat animals will be looked back on as barbaric.” 

Can meat eating possibly avoid that fate? 

Isn’t it truly barbaric how we treat animal life? 

Won’t we in the future look back and realise how badly we sinned?

I wonder how the world will react in the future to the way we have treated animals in the present? 

I wonder if farmers, restaurant owners, and TV chefs will be the super villains of the 2050’s?

Will Mr McDonald and the Colonel stand alongside Adolf and Josef and Mao, branded as the worst of the worst?

“Thus things around.  No answerer I . . .

Meanwhile the winds, and rains,

And Earth’s old glooms and pains

Are still the same, and gladdest Life Death neighbours nigh.”

Sadly and rather gladly, if all these things come to fruition one day, I won’t be around to see it.

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