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Auckland, North Island, New Zealand
Wine tour operator, wine writer and lapsed physiotherapist. "Nature abhors a vacuum. I personally hate dusting."


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Kill to eat. (In defence of meat). A carnivore writes ...

I guess I have wavered slightly in the last few years about the vegetarian option.  I do have a huge respect for animal welfare and had assumed that one can get all necessary vitamins and mineral from a purely vegetarian diet.

But -  I discovered that even being on a part-time vege diet (with a vegetarian step-daughter living with us half the time) that I became clinically anaemic within about 12 months.  My GP and then a specialist gastroenterologist went to the extent of testing me for internal bleeding, such was their mutual concern and bafflement.  At any rate, I passed the undignified ‘oscopies’ (known in the trade as a top ‘n’ tail) with flying colours and clear and healthy tubes.  My pathetic haemoglobin soon normalised with a more meat in the diet and regular  iron tablets.
Which got me thinking.  When I was a kid, as a fourth gen NZer I still had a link with the land.  My father was from sheep farming Gisborne family, and my mother came from rural Marlborough.  My parents’ generation were used to fishing, hunting and farming – all of these activities pretty well connected with killing animals to eat.  I grew up in a second hand hunter-gatherer culture.  As a kid I fished, shot (in the general direction of) rabbits and succeeded in shooting a mallard duck.  I ate wild venison, pork, fresh fish, Pipi, mussels, Paua, crayfish, whitebait, Toheroa and Tuatua.

Nowadays, it’s all sanitised and hidden away.  Cattle trucks are boarded up so you can’t see the animals en route to the Works.   Yes, I feel compassion for these animals I’m going to eat.   But if I’m fairly sure that they have had freedom, sunshine, good food and water, and will subsequently be humanely instantly killed at the peak of their development, then I don’t have a problem.  In the natural wild state, these animals would be mere low end fodder in Nature’s brutal food chain and would be hunted, savaged, and slowly devoured by large ruthless predators.

I do care about animal welfare – I am totally opposed to sow crates, battery chicken farming, and mulesing.  I am, not so ironically, a member of SAFE.  Animal experimentation and vivisection is detestable and is one of the hidden horrors of 21stC life.

But uumans have been eating meat and fish and other stuff, for millennia.  Our teeth are designed for cutting, chewing and grinding an omnivorous diet.
And I do like a nice medium rare steak.

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