I love animals, always have ever since I was a little girl and kept an ‘animal folder’ of every single printed image of beast or bird I came across carefully glued in with pritt-stick and sprinkled with glitter. My parents embraced my love of furry friends and kept me in a steady supply of guinea pigs and hamsters and of course we have always had a family pooch, a tradition I insist on keeping with my own children.
Due to this adoration of animals I battle an internal struggle with my similar love for eating meat. When I see those huge lorries flying down the motorway crammed nose to tail with fluffy sheep peeping through the gaps for their last glimpses of the world before they’re led into the slaughterhouse, my heart breaks and I can’t help but shed big fat tears for the injustice of the world and how crap humans are with our insatiable consumption. I swear that from that moment onward I’m going to live off rice and quorn burgers and wear shoes made out of leaves.
Inevitably that vow is broken the moment I get off the motorway, out of the car and enter the supermarket where my mouth waters at the sight of plump steaks begging to be griddled with a side of peppercorn sauce… juicy chickens spinning around on the spit with their crispy skin which is always the bit I peel off and scoff first… or packets of wafer thin Parma ham which usually don’t even make it into the fridge, I rip the packet open and drop whole slices down my gullet like a seal eating a sardine until its all gone…
You can see my problem here. I’ve tried doing a vegetarian shop and by the time I’ve got assorted lentils, kale and bloody tofu in my trolley I feel like curling up next to the butternut squashes and snuffing it.
Nothing gives me joy like going to a local farm and seeing piglets skipping around with their gorgeous little pink bodies and tiny trotters, but give me a slight hangover and offer me a crispy bacon sandwich and I’ll have it out of your hand and into my mouth before you can say “Babe”.
With all this in mind I’ve come to the conclusion that I must find a balance between my inner Eco warrior and flesh hungry dinosaur. Here’s how I’m addressing that…
- I can’t stand any waste, all meat must be eaten and appreciated in respect to the animal who unwillingly gave its life so we could enjoy scotch eggs.
- Where possible, I go for the ‘higher welfare’ option.
- I only buy the minimum of meat that we’ll need for the week ahead and freeze it immediately so the use by dates don’t come and go before I can cook it.
- I’ve started buying smaller packets of meat and resist the temptation to get the family packs which look like a better deal but do we really need 500g of minced beef when I can fill it out with chopped mushrooms and nobody will notice? No, so I buy 250g and feel like a hero.
- I only buy free range eggs so that I don’t have to think of battery farms where chicks don’t even see the sky before they become a chicken nugget.
These are small things but I think they’re important in letting animal kind know that I’m not mindlessly munching on their deliciousness. We should all stop chewing for a minute and say a silent thank you before tucking into our Sunday roasts. Anyway, if we continue to overpopulate the earth at the rate we are doing then food stocks will run low and we’ll be munching on locusts on toast. Then we’ll be sorry.