Section 3 – Meat:
The Mighty Myth
What nationality you are, how you speak, many of the
things you believe in and what you eat are really an
accident of where you were born. An Austrian might be
crazy about skiing but if they’d been born in the
USA it could have been baseball. You might like thick
butter on your bread but if you’d been Italian
it would have been olive oil. Most Europeans and Americans
eat meat regularly – you might still do – but
had you been a Hindu in India, you wouldn’t know
what it tastes like.
So we have to be very careful when we use words like ‘natural’ or ‘we’re
meant to’ or ‘it’s human nature’.
What might be ‘natural’, ‘necessary’ or ‘instinctive’ for
one person is entirely the opposite for another.
Most people in the rich countries of the world are often
told that it’s natural to eat meat. What does this
mean? That we’re born meat eaters, that we’re
biologically programmed to do it, that our instinct tells
us to kill animals? But let’s put this to the test.
Let your imagination run free for a minute.
Visualise a young cat in a small enclosed space with
a mouse. It will immediately leap on the mouse and bat
it around until it’s dead. In the wild it would
then eat it. Now imagine a small child in an enclosed
space with a lamb. The child will almost certainly stroke
the lamb, play with it or hold it. I don’t think
you’ll find many children trying to kill it.
Okay, it’s not the most scientific approach but
I think you get the message. The next five chapters are
all about who tells us it’s right to eat meat and
why they do it. The best bet is, it also shows you why
Of all the objections and finger wagging you’re
ever likely to get as a vegetarian, most will be about
the information in this section. So read on!
Special Bonus Fact
Vegetarianism is not a new idea and certainly not a
fad! Check out what these geniuses from the past (forgiving
their sexism!) had to say:
‘The day will come when men look upon the murder
of animals as we now look upon the murder of men.’
- Leonardo da Vinci, 1452-1519, artist (painted The Mona
Lisa), scientists, musician, sculptor, prolific inventor
and great animal rights campaigner
As long as men massacre animals, they will kill each
other. Indeed he who sows the seed of murder and pain
cannot reap joy and love.’
- Pythagoras, 6th century BC, ancient Greek philosopher
and ace at maths (Yes, it was him who discovered all
that stuff about triangles!)
Animals are my friends and I don’t eat my friends.’
- George Bernard Shaw, 1856-1950, the great Irish playwright
Our task must be to free ourselves . . . by widening
our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures
and the whole of nature in its beauty.’
- Albert Einstein, 1879-1955, genius physicist (he said E=MC2) and vegetarian