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.

One thought on “Chewing the cud where the grass is greener

  1. If you feel sure that it is the right thing of you to turn vegetarian then go for it. I am sure you have looked into all the alternative foods that give the same protein all meat does and I know from experience that you are a great cook in experimenting with different foods to make delicious dishes. Go for it mate 🙂


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