Washed Up by Sarah Juggins
Meat is getting a right kicking in the media at the moment.
One report from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, dating back to 2006, suggested that emissions from the meat industry produces more greenhouses than all the SUVs, cars, trucks and planes in the world combined.
And just a few weeks ago, the World Resources Institute has found that, “taking into account trends in population growth and meat consumption, agriculture alone could eat through the majority of our emissions budget for keeping global warming below 2C–the point at which climate-change effects would create wide-scale devastation.”
Which is all sobering stuff for those of us that like a bacon sarnie or – more damagingly – a plate of steak and chips.
As someone who prides themselves on doing the ‘right’ thing most of the time – I don’t smoke, I don’t behave in a an anti-social fashion (very often), I haven’t been rip-roaringly drunk for quite a while, my beliefs lean to the liberal side – I am not used to being on the wrong side of a moral stance, and it is a bit unnerving.
Just the other day, I found myself gibbering on about how I only eat meat a few times a week (true); how I always know its provenance (mostly true); and how I needed meat for its protein value (probably a complete fallacy).
I even tried to steer the conversation onto the amount of packaging I have managed to cut from my weekly shop.
I could see it in their eyes. They were feeling pity for me.
I was clearly one of those who was unable to see the error of their ways.
I was a dinosaur among enlightened people.
I was the scourge of the planet.
I had made my choice in the great debate – meat versus the climate – and my greed and insatiable appetite for beef and lamb and pork had put me firmly in the untouchables camp.
In the past, that was me. Acting all judgmental as I listened to someone talking about how they had driven home after four pints.
Looking horrified when some old dear was unable to grasp the concept of political correctness. Tutting and shaking my head as someone bandied the word ‘gay’ around as an insult.
Now I am the outcast, trying to justify my choices and boy, that is a tough place to find yourself.
Thankfully, in that particular conversation, I hadn’t mentioned the fact that I have a small herd of cows that are destined to add yet a few more emissions to the atmosphere.