I saw a little sign on the tip jar at a US airport cafe recently. It said, "Scared of change? Leave yours here!" Human nature makes us resist change. There's a biological reason for this. Our ancestors knew that if they ate unfamiliar foods, they might die. Not much has changed, which was clear yesterday in the hysterical response to the government's decision to take measures to cut carbon emissions – including by changing hospital menus to make them more environmentally friendly.Funnily enough, I don’t think anyone is suggesting that. Certainly, the government isn’t – it’s merely suggesting that meat in NHS menus should be reduced, while more fish, and local vegetables, be provided as an alternative.
It's pie-in-the-sky and a waste of time to lament that farming isn't what it used to be. With hospitals strapped for cash, no one can seriously suggest that they buy only organic, range-fed meat.
Sorry, did I say ‘fish’? I meant ‘sea kitten’, of course… ;)
And of course, we all remember the last great £40million hospital food initiative, don’t we? And just how well that was received too.
But the watermelons are on a roll:
The facts about carbon emissions from livestock are just that: facts. We can ignore them to our children's and grandchildren's peril, or we can do something positive. Hospitals should be applauded for taking the latter path. You needn't have read the United Nations' report on global warming to know that raising animals for their flesh, eggs and milk is one of the world's leading causes of carbon dioxide emissions.Ahh, right – it’s ‘for the childen’.
It isn't hard to see that, if anything, the recent ruling hasn't gone far enough. We need to stop feeding meat not only to hospital patients but to schoolchildren as well. And we should eliminate dairy products and eggs too.And when no-one eats the stuff and it all ends up in landfill? Are you going to demand that hospital staff force it down people’s throats with a stick?
Hospital meals, like school dinners, have never been something to write home about. That "mystery meat" on the tray on your lap might be pork, it might be lamb, it might be, oh I don't know, cuttlefish? I'm betting that hospital patients – and certainly not their poor clogged arteries – will never miss the pink-beige blob of meat on their food tray.Maybe. But who the hell do you think you are to blithely seek to make that decision for them, based upon your own choices, while they are a captive audience…?
Militant, authoritarian vegans. Love ‘em. Couldn’t eat a whole one, though…