happy meat


It’s a contentious issue: meat. mention the word vegetarian when among meat-lovers and you may witness a clash between serrated steak-knife and sharpened vegetable peeler.

There are some links below to some pretty horrendous stuff about abattoirs and factory farming: don’t go there if you’re a happy carnivore. “Ain’t no such thing as happy meat”. 

To be true to the theme of my blog, I must at least explore my disquiet over the subject of meat. How to do so without quickly descending into a rabid rant? Up until a year ago I had routinely consumed meat though never in great quantities and often with a certain reluctance. I still wear leather shoes although I will no longer be buying leather goods. So let me be honest: I’m hardly one to stroll into a knacker’s yard to climb upon my soon-to-be-butchered high horse. Or to think myself virtuous for saying no to that sizzling boerie-roll. I have no answers, but the questions themselves are enough to disturb me. Yes I am more or less a hypocrite – divided against myself like a split carcass in a butcher’s van. But don’t let my hypocrisy prevent you from making your own virtual tour of an abattoir before you head off (forgive the turn of phrase) to the local MacDonalds. The pervasive sense that “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark” persists. I really do (and don’t) want to do a tour of my local abattoir to witness exactly where our meat comes from: I believe such tours are discouraged. Let’s face it: the beautifully packaged foie gras, the neatly trussed Filet Mignon de boef dusted with peppercorns displayed at the local butchery may well disguise some more sinister origin.

Words themselves can be a kind of disguise too: were a waiter to offer us “dead pig” in stead of Poitrine de porc – it might offend decency.

I suspect it is not a happy place the meat comes from. Not the sort of destination for a school tour, for instance. No place for happy children with their happy meals, off to see how happy meat is made.

Some distressing links:







Beef diagram depicting the different cuts of meat (colour litho) (19th)
Paris, Bibliotheque des Arts Decoratifs

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