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Lynn News front page was good news for vegans

In his weekly Turnstone feature, Hunstanton columnist John Maiden discusses veganism...

It made the front page of the Lynn News, which has to be good news for vegans! I am referring, of course, to the opposition from Quorn” to the creation of two factory farms on land adjacent to its vegetarian/vegan factory: one rearing pigs; the other one producing chickens.

With my background in education, I am a firm believer in letting consumers know the full extent of the pain and suffering experienced by all animals used and abused by the food industry. There should be videos next to the relevant supermarket shelves, showing how animals are housed and slaughtered, before they end up as neatly wrapped parcels of flesh; or trays of eggs; and cartons of cows’ milk.

The Vegetarian Butcher at Sainsbury's
The Vegetarian Butcher at Sainsbury's

As a former regional education officer for the RSPCA, I am well aware of the important part the Society plays in protecting companion animals and wildlife from cruelty. However, I was unhappy when Freedom Food was introduced by the RSPCA in the late 20th century, with the aim of encouraging farmers to allow the creatures in their care to lead more natural lives, before they are transported to slaughter houses to be ‘unnaturally’ butchered.

This was at a time when other animal welfare charities were promoting veganism, and the RSPCA would have been well advised to remind the world in general, and its members in particular, that in its early days the Society’s secretary, Lewis Gompertz, was a vegan.

This was when it was known as the SPCA, but once it became Royal he stood down, because the governing committee objected to the promotion of ‘Pythagorean doctrines’, which held that the feelings of animals and humans were of equal value. It should be remembered, of course, that this happened in the first half of the 19th Century! Things have moved on since then.

Plant based Milk on Sainsbury's shelves
Plant based Milk on Sainsbury's shelves

I will leave this week’s last words, taken from her Facebook post, to Hunstanton’s most exuberant vegan, Kate Dunbar: “Joy to my heart, the plant-based milk section in Sainsbury’s is now twice the length of the ‘stolen’ calf’s milk section. How times are changing! And to be greeted at the door with a poster advertising the vegetarian butcher, plant-based chicken, with the legend, ‘Sacrifice Nothing’, instead of dismembered bits of dead animals. I love it. Even though processed, it’s still healthier than eating chickens.”

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