Guardian columnist Hadley Freeman writes today about a critical scourge facing vegetarians: other vegetarians.
While Freeman has her reasons for not eating meat, she doesn’t feel the need to impose those beliefs on other people. However, she cannot say the same for the more vocal vegetarians in the public eye:
I really do admire the evangelical vegetarian brigade. Imagine being so sure of your life choice that you email Janet Street-Porter to berate her for "promoting meat", as Mary McCartney is alleged to have done. I, on the other hand, have always seen my vegetarianism as something akin to OCD – a weird belief system indelibly printed on my brain that overrides all sensible evidence pointing to the contrary; namely, that humans are meant to be omnivores, not herbivores. And for that reason, the worst thing about being vegetarian isn’t that epiphanical moment when you realise the one phrase you know in multiple languages is, "Just a green salad, please." It’s other vegetarians.
She’s right: Meatless-moralizing evangelists are tireless, and tiresome. Whether taking a religious position or a specious environmental tack, the most deeply devoted followers of the vegetarian cult have no problem using shame and distorted facts to convert the rest of us.
Never mind that Oxford University has linked meatless diets to brain shrinkage. Or that vegetarianism is on the decline among youths (one of the hottest populations for activist recruitment). Ignore for a minute that meat, dairy, and fish have essential vitamins and minerals, particularly important for pregnant moms. What’s left?
Consumers are getting fed up with being lectured on saving the chickens or cows. The anti-meat task force needs to find a new hobby – one that leaves those of us with healthy, balanced diets in peace.