My piece of meat

The Mad Momma posted for a very noble cause today – to urge readers to sign up a petition against the cruel “sport” of killing seals, seemingly very popular in Norway and Canada. The comments section soon became a ground of discussion for the vegetarianism versus nonvegetarianism debate, obviously veering away from the post’s subject. After a couple of comments, I felt more inclined to do a post on this than rant on in someone else’s comment section (for which I apologize, MM. Please feel free to keep only those comments that truly pertain to the seal issue). So, here I am.

I am a through and through carnivore – have always been. But I have no excuses for it. All I ever say for it is that the Indian Penal Code will have to make eating chicken illegal for me to be able to quit it. To me, the idea of eating out is lame if you are going to get all orgasmic about palak paneer. Chee! And then there are others amongst us who claim that since humans are at the top of the food table/chain, they are in charge of keeping the world normal – meaning cattle shouldn’t dominate us and barge into our houses and run us down on roads, you see – so they gallantly push away that aloo subzi and embrace those mutton kababs. Something I’ve never been able to buy.. trust me, I would have loved this to be true.. so I could have thrown “Dude! We’re the reason you don’t have a cow PM ruling this country” at anyone who so much as grimaced at my Chicken Satay. And so, I looked and looked but not one argument in this direction has ever been convincing. How do you explain it? Really, is too many cows/chicken you think is the crisis we will die of? I wouldn’t believe it, and so I always maintained that the ‘eat while it’s still lawful’ funda!

But today, in MM’s comment-section, another argument – heard often, but never taken seriously, was mentioned: Don’t we eat plants? Are they not living beings? Do they not have life? Yes, plants have life. And we glorify their death when we sing happy Baisakhi songs as we get the crop to the market, it seems! Why this bias? Let me throw the food chain argument at you. Humans need food to sustain themselves, and as Darwin told us, we all have a survival instinct which has made us evolve and work our way to the top of the foodchain. The sustenance instinct is central to life, and therefore, food is deemed a necessity. The idea of eating plants did not occur for nothing, and it IS what is keeping the foodchain stable, because plants are way lower down the foodchain than chicken/cow/goat, and are available in greater abundance and shorter production cycles for large quantities. Yes, we are short of bread.. but can you imagine all of us being carnivorous instead? Secondly, plants live but they don’t emote. They wouldn’t writhe and wriggle till the knife silences them! And so, should their pain be the only reason for granting them life? Or should we give them painkillers and call a butcher a surgeon? The idea is that of compassion, and being a non-vegetarian, I only partially recognize it. The least I do is not make excuses for it like “Hey! I am just a part of the food chain”. Move over darling, the foodchain ain’t going nowhere even without your help!

Then there was the issue that really pushed me to write this, as everyone in the family snores around happily. Is this issue the same as this, in some way? I had written, it’s all about choice and letting someone live with a choice exactly contradicting ours, even if we knew we made all the sense in the world. I still say this. I let vegetarians live and am thankful I haven’t been lynched by a vegetarian mob. And I let you live with your foodchain argument, as long as you google up the facts. So I fail to see the conflict with the menstruation post

Here is where there is disagreement from that stance. The disagreement finds its reason, maybe the coldest of all, in its unlawfulness. I request people to read the comments to the menstruation post as well. I clearly stated that someone’s nonsense becomes every bit my business as soon as they become unlawful or affecting me in some way. Someone practising isolation is worth my disagreement but not my action as long as I’m not a victim or I don’t see a woman being forced into it. So I won’t go ahead and call them wife-beaters. On the other hand, people killing fetuses by smuggling them to restaurants is grossly illegal and makes me want to throw up in their faces and do something about it. In that context, I wouldn’t let this crime bundle itself with nonvegetarianism. For godssake, I am nonvegetarian and I see the difference. You should too, when you say that the life of a hen is as cheap as that of paddy! Imagine if the Chinese were to extend this “plants and animals are both live, and are cut and eaten” to “why not these human fetuses that nobody owns or wants”.. who will we call ourselves then? A higher, better, more evolved form of homo sapiens? So, that’s my problem.. don’t say you are doing the world a favour as you bite into that KFC burger. Own up and say you’re nonvegetarian because that’s the way you are.

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5 thoughts on “My piece of meat

  1. I guess one’s basic funda regarding veg/non-veg depends largely upon your family background and culture/community. Only a few people actually make either an issue of conscious choice.My own natal family is veg, my MIL was the no onions/garlic variety.In college I was adventurous enough to try non-veg, but couldn’t develop a taste for it. Before I got married one of my conditions was that I would neither cook nor serve non-veg, which wasn’t a hassle because of the spouse’s own family background. He and my kids eat what they like, can bring stuff home if I don’t need to handle it, and I have no issues dining with anyone eating non-veg at my table. My sister’s family was pukka veg, but my niece discovered non-veg in college and thrives on it. My half-Brit nephew (SIL is Brit) has been a vegetarian for the last 15-20 years, though my brother wasn’t. Given all this, I personally don’t think of it as a ‘moral’ issue. It is so largely cultural that it seems foolish to get onto a high horse about either. I don’t particularly care for meat-eaters telling me that I’m missing something either, or for vegetarians talking about how much purer and sinless and non-violent they are. Some of them have bloody vile tempers and can shred you to pieces, no matter how damn veg their diets are.But- the piece you wrote about! That seems so utterly utterly vile. Following that logic, I guess any human corpse is useless and could provide fodder to the hungy. That was truly sickening.

  2. @dipali: Totally agree with the fact that food choices are largely based on what food you’re introduced to as a child and how you go on to experiment. Yet, this post here wasn’t about condemning any choice. It’s about questioning a rather lame and untrue justification like the foodchain for your choice. And I hate the ‘plants are also living, so why cut them’ argument in this context. Which is why that disgusting article and the possibilities on extending the foodchain argument further to humans was considered.

  3. The minute people choose scientific and pseudo- scientific nonsense to justify their choices is where things get irrational. My long diatribe was about the variations resulting in three generations of the same family. I did get your point!

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