Leah McLaren gives up red meat.

Don’t get me wrong, I have no interest in becoming a vegetarian.

Vegetarianism, in my view, is a seriously unattractive character trait.

Having majored in liberal arts at university, I’ve encountered my fair share of sanctimonious zealots keen to lecture me on the dubious ethics of gelatin, bone-refined sugar and silk. Diehard vegetarians love to point out hypocrisy in others, but are often slow to recognize it in themselves.

Sentimentality about the feelings of cows and ducks, I have noticed, often comes at the expense of basic human decency. A case in point was a meat-free media executive I once worked with who was such a cold-blooded mercenary she actually enjoyed firing people. She was also the only person I have ever seen weep at the sight of flypaper. This, in my experience, is typical of the evangelical vegetarian mindset.

Having said that, I have sworn off red meat once and for all, and am determined to limit my consumption of chicken and fish. Food poisoning was the catalyst in my case, but the deeper reasons are rational rather than sentimental.


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