Chewing the cud where the grass is greener



(Image from The Times: An article on abattoir cruelty)

I made my mind up on the EU referendum a long time ago and voted to remain as soon as I was able. I posted my vote two weeks ago, before the whole debate got dragged into the ugly spectacle it has become. I voted to remain in Europe for many reasons and although this blog is my soap box, I don’t want to taint it by talking down those whom I consider a societal cancer.

This from someone who used to exist on the far right fringes of nationalism. I wear my heart on my sleeve and admit – as I have done before on this blog – that I used to be a BNP supporter. Now, I’m sufficiently enlightened to admit that I was a cunt.

Just like my recovery from alcohol and my realisation that religion is bullshit, my left wing liberalism happened gradually and without me realising. I stopped discriminating on any grounds once I got to actually meet the people I once discriminated against. It was very easy for me, running a successful company and enjoying my gated life; very easy to just look down on those less fortunate, while I allowed myself to be poisoned by The Daily Torygraph and The Daily Hate Mail, as I sat by the swimming pool and had no reason to question a system which rewarded me very well. It was only when I fucked it all up that I realised there was something to be an activist against.

Thankfully, I’ve now found my way. I’m living a life which is comfortable. Not financially but personally. Because I’ve realised that my only period of compliance, in a life which spans 46 years, is the time when I was financially successful. That may well have been good for the kids but I’d have needed to keep it up and that wasn’t going to happen. I wasn’t fulfilled. That life provided me with the finance to drink more and alcohol was my Achilles heel. It doesn’t matter how well or badly my life had gone, I was predisposed to losing it to drink. So now I’m an alcoholic (functioning, not drunk) and a writer.

It’s been atheism more than anything which has allowed me to get to where I am. Once I realised, beyond any doubt, that “God” doesn’t exist, it was like a huge weight was lifted. I am free, and enjoying more freedom than I ever have before. I must respect those of religion, as I have learned to respect everything without discrimination or judgement. The problem those people have is their religion.

As an atheist then, no-one can claim that it’s some sort of epiphany that I’m seriously considering becoming a vegetarian. This is not a whim: I’ve been thinking about it for quite some time.

During the course of some of my recent research, I’ve been reading a lot of Peter Singer’s work. Among other things, he’s a moral philosopher and has published much on the value of life, both human and non-human. Although I disagree with some of his ideas (on infanticide especially), he writes with great clarity on the rights he feels should be afforded non-human life. He tends to use this term over “animals”.

Some may say that if we didn’t eat meat, we would be overrun with the creatures we consume: Most of what we eat is bred for our own consumption. And it’s that fact right there which has made me feel uncomfortable. That’s a fucking big assumption of a right on our part.

As with all things, there are pros and cons. There are divisive internal debates but with each that I have, I can’t defend some self-given “right” to eat another being, because I don’t have that right. They’re not God’s creatures because there is no “God”. I’m a Guardian reader and that’s got nothing to do with it either. I have a choice and I am finding myself leaning morally towards giving up meat.

Why am I posting this? Not because I need a shove in any direction; I’m pretty much there. Not for debate, because my mind is pretty much made up. It’s actually for reassurance: Having been a carnivore for 46 years, I’m a bit apprehensive.

There are health issues: I’ve not been told that a change of diet would be beneficial but I’ve heard people spout about how vegetarianism benefited them. Even now, I’m tempted to brush that aside as worthy bullshit.

I won’t be a vegetarian who dinner hosts dread: I’ll eat meat if that is what they are having. Unless I’m asked, I won’t even mention that I have “dietary requirements” because I’m not a total wanker. I’m not going vegan either. I do like fish and it’s a tempting cop out but I can’t find any moral justification for eating fish in my internal debates.

So it’s a purely personal thing and something which I know will make me feel better, both in and about myself, but I crave reassurance.

I’m an atheist, anarchist writer: There is no god and I write what the fuck I want. I’m a feminist, pacifist Guardian reader. And now I’m almost a vegetarian.

My old self would hate me, almost as much as I despise him.