Once upon a time, I was a vegetarian. I whipped through recipes in my battered Moosewood cookbook, made an unsuccessful bid to participate in a community garden, and swapped recipes with my Swedish best friend, also a vegetarian.
Then, I began observing the behaviour of vegetarians and vegans, my supposed allies. The ones who compared the Ashley X case to spaying/neutering animals against their will. Who compared Seaworld to experiments Mengele conducted on Auschwitz prisoners, slaughterhouses to the Trail of Tears, milk production to the rapes and massacres in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the work of carriage horses and service dogs to slavery. I began to drink milk again, put cheese on my potato, and I ordered rare, bloody steak for dinner when I was on my period and felt dizzy from lack of iron, and began avoiding these people when possible.
My cynicism was growing, but I believe the last straw came around the time of the earthquake in Japan. I was so frightened for my friends and loved ones in Japan, who were as close to me as family, and spent nearly all of one of my paycheques on a donation to Doctors Without Borders. And then an animal rights activist suggested to me that Japan was getting “karmic retribution” for killing whales and dolphins with this earthquake and tsunami.
After that, I removed myself completely from the movement, and I’ve been an omnivore ever since. I still respect vegetarians and vegans who don’t act like racist monsters, and I would never make fun of anyone for their tofu sandwich, and I believe that large-scale farming needs a serious makeover, if not a complete wipeout to start from scratch, but it isn’t for me. Just ask Morrissey, who, during a concert in Poland, compared the recent awful tragedy in Norway in which 80+ people died, mostly children and youth, to fast food.
This isn’t the first time he’s been a complete and utter arse, and I understand I shouldn’t judge all animal rights folk by this comment. But having been immersed in that culture for several months, I have to say that I no longer suspect that Morrissey’s attitude is unique or exceptional. Pass the berries coated in heavy cream.