4 hours ago
Observations about the universe, life, Lausanne and me
Thursday, April 24, 2008
What would I eat?
My girlfriend is a vegetarian - has been a vegetarian for a couple of years, in fact. I, on the other hand, rather enjoy eating dead animals.
Fortunately, we are both not very gung-ho about it - she doesn't scream bloody murder when my blood-stained fork touches her food, I don't try to smuggle animal-parts into her salad. In fact, the only reason why I am not a hundred percent happy with her decision to become a herbivore is that it severely limits the kinds of meals I can cook. I enjoy cooking, but I don't enjoy cooking for myself. As a result, I now eat mostly vegetarian too - except for sometimes frying some bacon to go with my vegetarian lasagna.
Anyway, to come to the point of this post, from time to time we talk about her decision not to eat mammals (she does eat fish and animal products like eggs and cheese) and my decision to cheerfully glomp down every edible member of our class, subphylum or indeed phylum I can find.
The question I then find myself struggling to answer is: "What would I eat", or, more accurately: "What would I kill to eat?"
The distinction between those two questions is clear. The answer to "What would I eat" is "Near damn anything". I would not, for example, be averse to trying a bit of "homme á la maison" - just for the bragging rights. But the poor guy (or girl preferably - being a horrible chauvinist I imagine girls would be more tender) would have to be dead already, I wouldn't kill somebody for my treat, seriously, officer!
Cannibalism is inherently unhealthy though, since eating human flesh provides an excellent vector for all manner of diseases. There is also the problem of acquisition, quality control and so on; if cannibalism were to become a fad, unscrupulous businessmen bumping off people "who wouldn't be missed" would not be far behind.
So no biftèque de cannibale for me.
So what would I kill to eat? Not a human, obviously, even if I don't like him or her very much. What about a chimpanzee? Hmm... always supposing that I am not in danger of starvation, and there are other animals around I could hunt, Cheeta and her friends would probably be safe from me. (Except maybe once, just to see how they taste like). But this is (and here my girlfriend crows with delight) a slippery slope. If I won't eat Cheeta, on account of her being as intelligent as a four-year old, would I eat her cousin King Louie the Orang-Utan? And if I won't eat him, would I...
But, cunning as we are, we won't fall into this trap, no siree. I refuse to see eating animals as something bad - except maybe in the ecological sense, in that producing a kilogram of meat consumes about ten times more resources than producing the same amount of grain (at least for now it does, I still dream of vat-grown steak...). But animals die, and animals also die if you clear an acre of forest to grow your grains or beans. And the cow I eat wouldn't have lived if there wasn't a demand for it's meat - and who are we to choose which animal gets to live?
The ones with the biggest brain, that's who, and I for one am on the side of the cows.