I was doing my weekly shop the other day at the local supermarket, the kids were in school, I had a couple of hours to kill and I knew if I got it done now it would cost me a fraction of what it would had Robin and Soph been with me.
‘Dad, can I have a toy?’
‘No Robin, it’s your birthday in five days' time and Christmas is around the corner.’
‘Oh my god, Dad, I NEEEEED this magazine!’
‘Soph, you only need it because you can’t bear to leave the shop empty-handed, put it back…hang on, no chance, that magazine costs more than the toy Robin wants.’
‘So I can have my toy?’
‘No Robin, both of you just follow me and stop touching everything. Where’s your sister gone?’
Soph would then come back a few minutes later with her own trolly filled with tat she just NEEEEEDS.
It’s just easier when it is only me.
‘Dad, can we go to B&M then?’
Can we fuck.
I was browsing the meat aisle, minding my own business, envisioning the T-bone steak cooked medium rare with dauphinoise potatoes and tender stem broccoli, when I heard someone tut by the side of me. I ignored them because they were obviously displaying their distaste at the price of something, and moved further down the aisle, checking out the lamb ribs because who doesn’t like grilled lamb ribs cooked crispy with plenty of salt and pepper on them?
Again a tut, followed by a sharp exhale of breath.
This time I did turn, smiling at the noise maker. She was a lady (still is, I’m guessing), in her mid-forties, frowning at me.
I smiled, and moved on, ignoring the furrowed brow. She obviously really hates shopping, which is unheard of for women. Maybe she just didn’t like steak and lamb, but if so why was she in the meat aisle to begin with?
Another tut as she caught up with me again.
‘Do you know what they do to these poor animals?’
I couldn’t resist. Since frowny tutty lady seemed intent on joining me for the mid-week shop I thought we might as well chat.
‘Grow them and then slaughter them then chop them up so we can enjoy dinner?’ I asked, smiling, always smiling. I wasn’t about to let my shopping chaperone put a dampener on this day’s choice of dinner.
Her voice grew a little louder, a little too loud if I’m honest, for polite mid-meat aisle conversation.
‘They pump the poor creatures full of steroids, keep them caged so they can’t move around which fattens them up, and then murder them in the most inhumane way.’
‘But they need to be killed otherwise they wouldn’t fit on the supermarket shelf,’ I argued.
She didn’t see the funny side of my comments.
‘Do you think it’s funny?’ She asked, again, her voice getting a few octaves louder still.
‘No, I think it’s dinner,’ I told her.
‘Oh, we think we’re funny don’t we?’
Where had all this we come from?
‘Well yeah, I think it’s a little funny, sure.’
Again, now almost shouting, she said, ‘Well I don’t.’
I nodded my head and shrugged my shoulders so she was well aware I couldn’t care less about her thoughts.
‘I take it you’re a vegetarian?’ I asked as sweet as I could.
She pulled a face usually reserved for when someone has just shit in your pillowcase and you’ve then jumped into bed.
‘No, I certainly am not. I’m Vegan.’
I laughed, ‘So what the fuck are you doing in the meat aisle? Are you just here to start on people who enjoy the taste of meat? Fuck off to the butter and milk aisle and bother those devilish whipped cream guzzlers.’
‘You’re disgusting,’ she said.
‘Oh, you have no idea lady, but what’s that got to do with steak? I’m openly disgusting and voice my opinions on subjects to many people, more people than your little radicalised Vegan mind could probably comprehend. I have in the past been called disgusting, I’ve been berated for my views on topics much more interesting than what I’m going to eat for dinner, I never mean to cause offence, it just sometimes happens, like I’m offending you now browsing all of this lovely raw animal flesh.’
‘How can you stand there and lecture me?’
I scratched my head. I wasn’t aware I had been lecturing her.
‘Why are you following me while I pick out what I’m having for tea? What do you care?’
‘It’s a free country.’
‘Indeed it is. So free, in fact, I am able to purchase animal flesh from this store and do with it what I like. I don’t understand why you’re giving me such a hard time, surely you’ve cabbages to grow and legumes to pick or something.’
‘But don’t you see your actions are killing the planet?’
I nod, ‘Yep, I do see that, but then I see my griddle at home and think “planet murderer, go on, you deserve it.”’
‘You’re not funny,’ she said to me…no, scratch that, yelled at me.
‘Not even a little funny? Lady, I don’t follow you around your allotment while you’re picking your carrots telling you how stressed out those little orange guys are getting as you pull them by their hair…I mean leaves, out of the ground. Please show me the same courtesy, stop shouting and just fuck off.’
And that is the moment ladies and gentlemen, she swung her 100% hippy hemp bag at my head. I ducked easily. When you’ve kids always looking for a way to take advantage of you when ‘play’ fighting, it serves to be quick on your feet.
‘Get the fuck away from me,’ I told her, and at the very moment the security guard walked onto the aisle is when I pushed her back, away from me.
‘Wow, calm down sir,’ security guard called out to me, speaking rapidly into his walkie-talkie, probably calling for backup.
There was no need. I was out of there, I’d go to the butchers on the way home, the meat was always better quality anyway.
‘Check your cameras mate, this one started it.’
‘Sir, you don’t push women,’ he called out, and I turned, shaking my head.
‘She’s not a woman, she’s a Vegan.’
That, after all, is what she chose to identify as. I’m only playing by her rules.
And I left. Left my T-bone steak on the shelf, left those cute little lamb ribs to be the object of someone else’s culinary desire. I walked out of the supermarket and visited my local butchers and bought myself a 20oz rump just to spite miss Vegan. Then I went home and cooked it extra rare and have never enjoyed a piece of murdered cow arse more.
Now, I could sit here and slag vegans off to high heaven, taking the piss is my stock in trade and I could subscribe to that particular brand of funny, god knows it wouldn’t stretch the imagination too far to come up with something to say about a race of people who only eat nuts and grass…oh and Quorn, they eat Quorns. Those poor little feathered Quorns, running about in the field, watch out Quorn chick, the Vegan is coming, hide behind the cow, apparently they’re allergic or worship cow or something, they won’t even eat beef flavour crisps for fuck sake.
I could argue that eating meat is a part of who we are as a species, and this goes back 2.6 million years when our ancestors started eating meat and marrow. At the time fruit and vegetables were aplenty but they didn’t pack the punch calorie-wise. This was a time when calories equaled survival.
‘Sorry love, no, we’re not eating that hairy brown melon which ran off when we approached it, we’re Vegans again, that was a one-time thing and it was a mistake.’
‘Oh, right, but the lads are off hunting…’
‘No need anymore, here, have a berry.’
‘But I got a new spear.’
‘We’re Vegan, have a nut.’
‘Oh will you stop arguing, we’ll go and hunt for some grass, you liked that grass we ate the other day.’
‘It’s not really hunting is it? And I preferred the hairy brown melon that ran away so we had to chase it.’
‘Grab the basket.’
No, I’m not going down that route because I agree with everything they believe in. Not her, not crazy woman shouting at a complete stranger in the meat aisle of the supermarket, I hope she chokes on the next lentil she devours, I agree with the movement because they’re right, us meat-eaters are killing the planet, and here’s why…
(Yep, I do the research so you don’t have to.)
We don’t need meat or dairy products to survive.
The human body was never designed/evolved (depending on your belief system, I’m not rattling that cage in this post) to ingest bovine milk. Here’s the thing, when we are born we suckle at our mother’s breast for milk. Her body produces all the nutrition us newborns need to survive. In that milk are the building blocks for us to grow, antibodies to stop infection, it’s the best brew we could ever receive. The same goes for cows. Its mother’s milk has all the good stuff for helping baby cow grow into big strong cow. Most mammals follow the same path here, it is how we evolved/were created…yeah, still not biting because this isn’t about that.
Early man didn’t one day wake up thinking, ‘You know what? I’m growing tired of all this water we drink from the stream. The cool, thirst-quenching brilliance of it doesn’t cut no mustard with me anymore, I’m going to have a play with that heavily pregnant cow’s tits, see what comes out of those bad boys.’
It is believed our ancestors first began milking cows to avoid starvation. At the time we were all lactose intolerant and it is only through genetic mutation that our guts have evolved to digest the milk of another species of animal. Early milk drinkers would have suffered through their body’s inability to digest the milk when drinking it, but that suffering was better than starving I guess.
From milk then came butter and cheese, staples in our everyday diet these days and cornerstones of the modern food industry, but…our body doesn’t need them. Our bodies have adapted to tolerate these food sources, and with their popularity the modern age of farming was born.
These days we add baby cow juice to our morning coffee, drench our cornflakes in it, add it to a variety of foods to make them taste better, but…our bodies don’t need baby cow juice because it’s meant for baby cows. Go figure.
I understand this, I absolutely support it…but, have you ever tried ice cream without the cream? That shit is just ice. Ever drink a milkshake without the milk? Well, I haven’t figured out how to drink a shake as this is an action and not a drink.
Milk is the bedrock of our food industry and to produce it we need a lot of cows. Shit loads of them, all getting their tit’s sucked so we can enjoy a brew and claim the calcium helps our kid’s bones grow strong.
I’ll tell you a little secret now. Before that first farmer started fiddling with his cattle and discovered the white stuff, people weren't running around with weak bendy or brittle bones. We received the nutrients our body’s needed through our milkless diet and we were doing just fine. Sure drinking a shake wasn’t as delicious but what did we know, milk wasn’t a thing yet.
I get it.
We don’t need milk to survive, but we don’t need porn either, yet you try to type anything into google’s search bar beginning with the word Thai and you’re bound to be inundated with pop-ups of the most beautiful Asian women you have ever laid eyes on, all with massive cocks. Society doesn’t run on the needs of the people, it has always been about our wants. We want more steak and milk, cheese and butter, fuck it, let's turn that rain forest into grazing land for the cows and sheep, sure we’re starving the earth because it can’t produce as much oxygen but at least this weekend’s BBQ is still a go.
It really is staggering.
Because I like to be an informed piss taker I do the research so that I get it, I understand the argument from both sides. My side is easy, I love steak. I enjoy cheese. I live for butter. I know they’re clogging up my arteries but doesn’t it all taste so delicious? Come on. And besides, arteries are so overrated. It is the side of the Vegan, or rather the radicalised Vegan, which I find interesting. Normal Vegans, who are real normal people and not all about twatting you around the face with their monkey friendly handbags in the meat aisle at your local supermarket, are fine. They choose not to eat meat, fish, and dairy because they are doing their bit to try and help save the world from the downward spiral it is heading in.
'What downward spiral?' do I hear you ask?
Well, I’ll tell you.
At present there are roughly seven and a half billion people living on this planet, double that of just fifty years ago. The demand for food is forever skyrocketing while we are running out of room. At present, the human population drinks 5.2 gallons of water and eats 21 billion pounds of food each day, compare that to the world’s 1.5 billion cows who drink 45 billion gallons of water and eat 135 billion pounds of food a day and already you can see that something’s up. That water could be used to grow crops on the grounds the cows would have grazed, and there would be a hell of a lot more food to go around than the milk and beef the cow would produce for us.
Let's put it another way.
The Earth’s surface, take away the oceans and any other waterways, consists of about 8 billion acres of land suitable for growing crops. That’s a little over an acre each according to the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations, who, I’m guessing know what they’re talking about.
In order to sustain a Standard American Diet comprising heavily of animal protein and dairy, it is estimated each person would need around three acres a year, with most of that land given to growing crops to feed the animals.
Simple maths can be used to show how unsustainable eating meat is.
8 billion acres (the land we have on Earth) divided by 7.5 billion of us, equals about a third of the room we’d need to keep eating how we do on the diet we do.
Alternatively, if we cut out the meat and dairy and started eating lentils and shit (not literally shit, although eco-friendly it really does taste like shit) we would each need just 1/6 of an acre each a year to sustain ourselves. That would mean we could allow five billion football fields worth of trees to grow, regenerating the planet’s lungs or expanding food production for the world’s growing population which will hit 9 billion souls by 2050.
So yes, I get it. There really is no argument from me. Us meat-eaters are literally starving our home of it’s oxygen by cutting down all the trees to produce more farmland so we can eat steak and pour baby cow juice all over our morning cereal. But these aren’t the arguments the radicalised Vegan makes when preaching, or swinging their dolphin-friendly handbag at your face. All they do is call you disgusting. Well, I tell you what would be disgusting…it’s a hot day, you invite your mates around, just kicking back in the garden, the tunes are playing, the beer is flowing, you make a fire in the BBQ, it’s on. This afternoon is going to be one to remember.
‘What are we having? Steak? A nice Rib Eye? Some marinated Chicken thighs? Do you have any of those lamb ribs? They were awesome last time.’
‘No no, my friends, today we’re on Nut Roast with a nice five bean salad.’
‘What do you mean?’
‘We’re not eating meat anymore, I’m done murdering the earth.’
‘What dressing is on the salad?’
A shake of the head, ‘No dressing, they are usually dairy-based, we won’t be doing dairy either, did you know humans were once lactose intolerant? Just a bit of olive oil, maybe a squirt of balsamic vinegar.’
‘I’m leaving mate, you sir are taking the piss.’
‘Just try this assortment of nuts I’ve laid out for us, they’re to die for.’
‘To die for? I’m starving here, I haven’t come to graze on nuts, I want meat.’
‘But you’re killing the planet.’
‘You’re killing me here, fucking offering me bean salad with no dressing. It’s the dressing which makes the salad.’
Eat meat, don’t eat meat, live on a plant-based diet, eat the rarest steak you can get your hands on, whatever you do don’t preach about it, and certainly don’t loiter around supermarket meat aisles ready to pounce with your Llama friendly handbag swinging. That is just not cool.