Am I a vegetarian?

I’m not sure. I was asked this question today when ordering my christmas meal in the dining hall at work and I was one of the very few who requested the vegetarian option. I didn’t want turkey or ‘pigs in blankets’ because I am not that keen on it. Most days in fact, I opt for the vegetarian option usually because it normally tastes better and has less calories.

So as I was tucking in while everyone else was guzzling turkey, my boss asked me if I was vegetarian. This made me pause because I am vegetarian but not necessarily for vegetarian reasons – “its not meant to be a trick question” my boss quipped but I didn’t want to insult other veggies by claiming I was part of their gang when I ‘dabble’ in meat from time to time.

In fact, the only meat I will eat is fish and occasionally chicken. I have occasionally had minced beef in bolognaise but only through convenience as everyone else in our house was eating it rather than through choice. If I eat chicken it has to be breast – dont like anything that touches the bone. I detest steak – particularly rare. I will absolutely never eat (sounding a bit like Charlie and Lola now) Lamb. I think it is wrong to kill something that has only had a few weeks on this earth – at least give it a little taste of life before the cull? I also think it is awful for all those pregnant ewes who survive the pregnancy and unassisted labour, they then nourish the lamb with their milk only for it to be taken away and killed – that is just plain cruel.

Last lambing season I came across an Ewe who had obviously died in the night trying to give birth. It was a gruesome discovery as she had clearly been in a lot of pain before she died. My daughter was with me and watched as I closed the eyelids of the ewe I noted with respect that she had given it her best shot and I make no excuses for my sanity in whispering that fact as I closed her eyes. And that made me come up with this weird picture in my head of Ewes in agony everywhere spawning lamb chops directly onto tables with some mint sauce – no thanks.

If I have to buy chicken, I buy free range and pay through the nose but I do it out of principle. The school I work for are looking into the ethics of their food buying and are getting students involved in where food should come from etc. My boss mentioned that, as a result, his daughter is insisting all the meat that he buys the family is free range. There are some cultures that think meat tastes better if the animal has endured prolonged pain prior to death. In the sixties my Dad witnessed how they slaughter pigs and he didn’t eat pork for more than a decade later. There are very valid reasons for being a vegetarian – I fail to see that meat adds value to our diet and that all this effort to rear animals, slaughter them etc is really worth it. As always I am open to discussion/ debate on this – your views welcome.

I am blogging every day for Unicef. To make a donation visit my campaign on the Unicef site.

Thanks for reading.

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