People sometimes ask me why I'm veggo - after 15 years it's really only people I've just met - and I usually mutter something about "animal welfare" and insist that it doesn't bother me at all if they want to order a steak sandwich (which it seriously doesn't).
The truth is that animal welfare is a huge part of it but there's also another element to my decision that I find hard to articulate. It's the reason I wouldn't eat a chicken even if it's spent most of its life running around a field, happy as Larry. The way I usually describe this element of my reasoning, assuming the person who asked hasn't moved on already, is that I don't want to cause pain/fear/death to animals if I don't have to and in 2016 pretty much nobody has to eat meat. But today I came across a sort-of lovely line in an old Jack Monroe column that said it much better for me.
Quoting an old Indian cookbook Monroe wrote:
Ayurveda, the ancient Hindu wisdom for health, is described by Panjabi as the single greatest influence on Indian cuisine. “Flesh has the force of violence in it, and the negative emotions of fear and hatred … it has no place in the sattvic diet.”Bammo, that's so very much it for me. I can no longer imagine sitting down to a nice piece of chicken or steak or bacon - however much I do from time-to-time think fondly of the taste and the sheer bloody ease of eating meat - without thinking about the pain and fear that had brought the meat to my plate.
Of course I'm vegetarian, not vegan, which makes me a hypocrite but if I can't be self-righteous and hypocritical on my own tiny blog then where can I be?