My personal review of a discussion on the Pros And Cons Of Vegetarianism.
The Manchester Armchair Philosophers Discussion Asking Is It Right To Eat Animals? 21st May 2013 The Royal Oak Pub, Barlow Moor Road, Chorlton, Manchester.
A lovely, thoughtful discussion on what we eat and why. Of twenty attendees five were vegetarian /vegan. I myself am a meat eater.
Over all in most such discussions ad writings, vegetarianism tends to get the strongest arguments – meat eaters are often inclined to agree in principle but wish to stick to meat consumption due to habit, a liking for the taste and limited culinary skills.
We started out with the simple question of what each of us consider our favourite foods, with curries and steaks dominating the replies (curries in my case too). Aubergines, cake, chocolate biscuits, cheese (sometimes on toast), and beans on toast, well prepared pasta and ‘the humble potato’ were among those presented as highly regarded by attendees.
Introduction ice-breakers completed, we were given a brief essay called Consider They Oyster, based on M F K Fisher’s study. The oyster is there described as the perfect food stuff, as it is easy and economic to farm, given its low consumption in plankton itself, and its rich nutritional value. Though an animal, its easy farming makes it suitable to vegetarian / vegan sensibilities too.
In reality, the oyster is marketed as a rare expensive luxury and aphrodisiac rather than a staple dietary food product. We seem nowhere near buying oysters as casually as our daily bread, baked beans and coffees.
Most contributors to the discussion were sensitive about eating certain kinds of animals, and squeamish about the slaughter process involved. Many don’t want to think of the meat on their plates as a once gambolling lamb, or lovely brown cow, or a live chicken. We often avoid anthropomorphising animals we are going to kill and eat. We disassociate=e and disconnect from the animals we eat.
At the same time however, we are loath to introduce insects into the Western diet though they are considered a delicacy in other counties and easy to farm at low cost too. Few would appreciate adding rat, or mouse to the menu though there is no reason metabolically to not consume them instead of more expensive meats we do indulge in.
Sometimes we eat so much meat we forget that we are omnivores.