Over the past week, I’ve read a few articles related to vegetarianism. I didn't even go looking for them – it was one of those weird things that happens every now and again where something will pop up everywhere for a few days and restore your faith in the beautiful phenomenon that is coincidence.
Among the articles, one in particular has stuck in my mind from a bacon/meat/vegetarian theme in the Dec-Jan issue of the glorious Oh Comely magazine. The writer spoke about feeling guilty for eating meat, saying she couldn’t think about it too much or it would upset her, but she couldn’t bring herself to stop eating it. "I know things that make me cry and gag when I think about them too much", she says.
I’ve been looked at like I’m insane for choosing to eat tofu of my own free will enough times to feel justified in saying that The ‘Reluctant’ Meat Eater is the worst kind of omnivore. I’m not the sort to waste the very little energy in my deprived, iron-deficient body to scold anyone for choosing to eat meat, unless they bring morals into it.
If you’re a meat eater – that’s fine. You can gush about juicy steaks and crispy bacon all you like (is bacon crispy? It’s been a while), but don’t try and sound like an animal rights activist while you do it. Or really worried about the environment. Or the demise of the antibiotic.
You can’t have it both ways. Either eat meat and live with the guilt that comes with putting instant gratification before your morals, or stop eating it. The only exception is if you must eat meat for health reasons – as I do fish – but that’s a different kettle of, well you catch my drift.
The writer also says one reason she doesn't want to be a vegetarian is because 'to be vegetarian in this country is to be 'confrontational and inconvenient'. Vegetarians (and pescetarians) aren’t ‘fussy’. Many of us put morals before taste, and for nothing less than a glorified ape that’s quite an achievement. So don't pretend that you're such an ethical person for feeling bad about your non-free range eggs and bacon. Let us have all the glory, tofu tastes better that way.