Eat less meat

I have tried to live with the vegan diet. To be more precise, in my efforts to eat less meat, I thought it might be possible to go vegan. I was wrong: after a month, my whole system was so light, I almost floated away. Nowadays, I eat eggs, chicken and a moderate amount of pork and pork products. All else in the meat and animal line I either avoid or eat only occasionally: beef, I never eat, milk and cheese almost never and lamb not a lot…because it hardly ever occurs to me to do so.

But I do see a place for locally procured, well farmed meat products and their derivatives like yogurt, butter, milk and ice-cream, if only because domesticated animals have gone through a very long and honourable process of evolution to make them safe for humans to eat. (Which compares them very favourably with the types of produce that are never intended to go near the human palate, including wild animals, primates and other sorts of unsavoury bush meat. The latest outbreak of norovirus is said to have originated in a market where wild animals were held for sale, probably for human consumption… Never a very clever idea at the best of times.)

So while I do not eat much meat, I do not condemn those who do. There is a place for meat eating. Instead of worrying about the habits of others, I aim to eat less meat, and purchase only a modest amount for my family – I suppose I’m what you might call a “meat reducer”. When I can, I try to buy from farmers or farmers’ markets since undoubtedly, meat does have a heavy environmental cost. But though we can source our complex proteins from other sources, I would regret the loss of bovines and birds from our food chain altogether.

Increasingly, instead of an embargo, I favour simply a more modest aspiration, hoping to leave a bit of space for those who come after, to enjoy some of the life privileges I’ve had. Too often “consumerism” justifies the total swallowing of resources which, if allowed to continue, will leave nothing for others who succeed us in life on this planet. And if, in order to allow future generations some hope, I have to temper my expectations, eating less meat is the least I can do.

Thanks for listening.

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