Went out last night after building furniture and shunting boxes round at Dr Nicholl's behest to Nandos, only to be greeted by a sign that said: 'No bean patties today'. So I had to have a veggieburger instead, which wasn't too bad actually.
Now you might be asking 'Why didn't you just have the piri piri chicken and be done with it?' And I guess that's the thing. Since coming back from the States, I've harboured a secret. I've become a vegetarian.
There were plenty of reasons to do it. The farming industry is notoriously cheap and animals are mistreated badly. And I actually quite like animals. Sheep and cows not so much, but pigs are cute. Maybe I like grunty, snorty creatures who don't care much what anyone thinks because they remind me of me. Is it hypocritical to think pigs are cute and feed them in petting zoos and then chow down on some bacon? And, incidentally, what is the difference between eating pigs and eating dogs? It all seems very arbitrary to me.
So, reason 1: I like animals.
Reason 2: I'm fortunate to live in a society where I have a choice in what I eat, and I believe when you're given a choice it's your moral duty to make an ethical decision. I disapprove of people who prioritise their own tastebuds over the human rights and dignity of tea-pickers (in fact, deliberately choosing not to drink fair trade tea or coffee is a good reason why some people will go to hell). So, if I have the choice, and I should make an ethical choice, surely the ethical choice is to not eat meat, on so many levels.
And then there's the third reason. As I've already said the farming industry is shabby and cheap. We'll feed animals dead animals and then watch people's brains turn to mush. We'll pump our chickens full of oestrogen and wonder why men are growing boobs. I've put on some weight, and my man-tits are getting weighty. But they've shrunk since I stopped eating chicken and turkey.
And finally, in New York we met up with Dan Piraro. He's an artist I respect and he's passionate about animal rights. We chatted a bit around the subject (he's a vegan) and much of what he said made sense, but unlike many vegetarian prosetelysers, he didn't try to put me on a guilt trip, he didn't try and disgust me by telling me jelly babies are made from horses' hooves, or that pork sausages are full of pig eyeballs, and he didn't judge me. And that convinced me you can be a vegetarian and not be a swivel-eyed loon.
Plus you have to look at the ridiculous things people say to justify eating meat:
1) Hitler was a vegetarian. No, he wasn't, unless vegetarians eat Bratwurst. But it is true he was prescribed a vegetarian diet in order to treat his chronic flatulence, presumably because his doctors wanted it to get worse...
2) The Bible says we should eat meat. Really? Who's got the theology degree here?
3) Biologically we're built to eat meat. I'm not a biologist, but I have seen proper carnivores and we don't look much like them. Sorry, at best we're omnivores. Like hedgehogs.
4) Vegetarians are weird. Well, I was weird a long time before I became a vegetarian. If you don't believe me go for a trip through my blog archives.