Editor's Comment: March 2018

PUBLISHED: 16:51 19 February 2018 | UPDATED: 16:51 19 February 2018

Vortumnus, by Giuseppe Arcimboldo, courtesy of www.giuseppe-arcimboldo.org

Vortumnus, by Giuseppe Arcimboldo, courtesy of www.giuseppe-arcimboldo.org

www.giuseppe-arcimboldo.org

"We all need to stiffen our backbones and stop pandering to the perpetually upset. Oh, and abject apologies in advance to anyone in the slightest bit offended by this column..."

Extremism comes in many forms. Yet a common trait seems to be that of individuals not only standing up for their own beliefs, but also displaying a determination to deny others theirs. Which brings us to the subject of veganism.

Now let me say right from the start – and before the TwitterMob gets after me – I have every sympathy with people who make a conscious choice not to eat meat out of concern for animal welfare or for health reasons. I admire their commitment and I support their stance. I also have enormous sympathy for people afflicted with food allergies and who are severely limited in what they can eat.

However, however... I do not appreciate being lectured by holier-than-thou, messianic, bulging-eyed lentil lovers just because I’m not averse to the odd sausage or ten. You do your own thing, sunshine, and leave me to do mine. And waving a ‘Meat is Murder’ placard at me as I stroll out of the pie shop really isn’t going to make me change the eating habits of a lifetime. And I really don’t appreciate the relentless war being waged on livestock farmers who now regularly get accused on social media of being rapists, murderers and torturers and even get death threats from the mad minority.

Almost as bad as the militant tendency are the ‘hobby’ vegans and vegetarians, who have been convinced by a lazy media that it’s fashionable to forgo meat. Thus we have such invented nonsense as ‘Veganuary’, which encourages the easily-led to pretend that they’re somehow a bit special and worthy for 31 days. This is a nightmare for restaurateurs and chefs, as the hobby veggies plonk themselves down, peruse the menu and then announce that they can’t eat anything containing sugar, alcohol, grains or dairy. There are now plenty of vegan restaurants out there. If your self-imposed diet is so limited, go to one of those instead of expecting special and unreasonable treatment. I wouldn’t walk into a Chinese restaurant and demand a Vindaloo. Why should you be any different?

Neither does the ‘Save the Planet’ argument hold much water. The price of quinoa – the “miracle grain of the Andes” – has more than tripled to the point that local people in the region, who’ve always depended on this staple diet, can no longer afford to eat it. As for avocados, Kenya has banned further exports of the fruit because the country’s supply is at risk. Australia is also short of the green stuff, with rationing in Queensland after prices doubled. And meanwhile vast swathes of Amazonian rainforest are cleared to grow soya, both to feed the non-dairy advocates and, perversely, to feed cattle which end up as meat.

I repeat, I have no problem with ‘proper’ vegans and vegetarians. I do have a problem with poseurs who waver at the faintest whiff of a bacon sandwich.

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Not entirely unconnected with the above, why are business and institutions so ready to cave in to complainers these days? I can’t remember when I last saw a robust rebuttal instead of a wimpish retreat. And so often it only takes one single complaint to prompt hasty, knee-jerk action.

ONE person complains about the village church bells ringing at night; they’re silenced immediately.

ONE person complains about a motivational sign in a gym because it’s “ableist”; it’s taken down immediately.

ONE person complains about a school that keeps pigs to teach children about the food chain; the pigs are sent back whence they came (and consequently go to slaughter). That didn’t go as planned, mate, did it?

We all need to stiffen our backbones and stop pandering to the perpetually upset. Oh, and abject apologies in advance to anyone in the slightest bit offended by this column...

For more from Mike, follow him on Twitter! @cotslifeeditor

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