This home page attracts a lot of hate mail from vegetarians. I do not have time to reply to all, but this is what I believe. I would never attack the rights of a vegetarian, but I do claim the rights of self defence and free speech.
Let me start with the biosphere - that incredibly thin layer in which we all live on the surface of mother Earth. Virtually every atom of the biosphere, except those recently released from ancient rocks or dropped from the heavens, is a triumph of recycling. Chances are, most atoms in my body already have passed a few millennia in one seaweed or another, have made a couple of passes through some ancient fish or dinosaur, and now have ended up in me. Courtesy of carbon cycles, nitrogen cycles, food packaging and main drainage, who is what and what is who is only a snap-shot in time. So, our only chance of escaping this very democratic process of biosphere recycling is to pop into a space capsule and take a one-way trip into outer space. Even then, after a long, long time, we will become part of an even larger recycling effort for stellar materials.
Meanwhile, back on Earth, what gives me the right to eat beef? I claim the grandparent clause, long-established habit and tradition. From my personal ancestors over the last million years, I have inherited dentition and digestive enzymes ideally suited for meat-eating, I have a predilection for juicy steak, and I lack the appropriate education to devise for myself a perfectly healthy diet free of meat. When my kids were babies, it would have been absurd to deprive them of the animal fats that get incorporated into growing nerves and brain cells. Nor am I about to switch my leather hiking boots for plastic sandals, stop washing with soap, or close the cupboard door on numerous household items containing animal products. Any suggestion that raising beef cattle is bad for the ecology of Canada or for our global climate cannot withstand exposure to commonsense. Large ruminants were chewing the cud, tough plant fibres on which no other large animals can thrive, when Champlain was still playing with toy boats in a puddle. Bison or cattle, it makes no difference to me. They both make decent meat, and I refuse to eat grass myself. So killing meat animals is cruel, is it? Well not in Canada. We have laws to make sure it is done humanely, with no more distress to the animal than would be experienced by someone knocked out from behind in a sporting accident. I have been knocked out twice - once by some stupid kid at school and once in a car accident. If you do not wake up, it is not going to hurt.
Now let me take aim at a far more powerful adversary: one with medical authority and deep commercial resources - the nutrition lobby. Fire one. Animal fats have been under attack for forty years, ever since margarine manufacturers hit on a great marketing plan to grab a big slice of the butter market. In those forty years, farmers have responded by making tremendous reductions in the amount of fat in meat. Sure, cholesterol may occur in blocked arteries, but prove to me that eating a few lean beefsteaks a week is going to start the process of blocking an artery. Fire two. So, high cholesterol levels may coincide with a high risk of heart attack, but prove to me that a healthy person who enjoys all the good things in life (like fresh air, exercise, interesting food, and a few beers) is going to go from the health club to the sick club just because of a generous serving of roast beef on Sundays. Before I reduce my meat consumption, I want conclusive experimental evidence of cause and effect, not coincidental innuendo. Even the worst-case scenarios produced by the anti-meat lobbies involve risk probabilities that are laughably small to anyone who travels regularly in heavy road-traffic or by air. Fire three. Why are meat-haters telling me not to eat beef? Do they want me to eat something else they are selling, like pithy chunks of texturized vegetable protein masquerading as meat? Should I attend an expensive clinic or buy a glossy diet book? Sorry, I believe in looking in the bedroom mirror to see the truth. If my waist looks too big, I cut out potatoes, noodles, rice and bread. If my arms look spindly, I apply a little will-power to my biceps. In other words, it looks to me as if most of the evidence purporting to show that meat is bad for me, actually shows that lack of healthy exercise is bad for me. And as for popping pills with unknown, long-term side-effects to lower my cholesterol! Thank you, but no. Cholesterol is a major precursor for my body making essential hormones.
Who else bombards me with misleading propaganda? Ah, yes, the tainted food lobby. Meat is full of drugs, chemicals, red dye and bacteria, is it? Well, people rob banks too. That is against the law as well, just like selling fresh meat with drug residues or artificial colouring, or allowing it to become contaminated. We do the best we can to stop these things happening, but a few banks get robbed, and a few bugs get on meat. Sensible people do not walk down dark city backstreets shouting and waving their wallets in the air, nor should they be eating undercooked hamburger. But what about a mouth-watering roast still a bit pink in the middle? Well, that I believe is safe for me to eat. All meat animals are carefully inspected by trained personnel before and after slaughter and, by law, only meat from healthy animals can be sold as fresh meat for human consumption. So, unlike hamburger, where surface bacteria may permeate the whole product, inside the roast is sterile. Obviously, meat gets hottest on the outside during roasting, and any surface bugs get torched. Right now, as far as cleanliness goes, all major Canadian meat and processing plants have adopted a program developed for certifying the safety of food taken aboard the NASA space program (HACCP, for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points). Levels of proven, certified hygiene are now the highest ever achieved in Canada.
Well, here I stand against the flood of misinformation from anti-meat
lobbies. We all get recycled through the biosphere in the end. Meanwhile,
here's to white linen on the table, a glass of red wine, and a succulent