Here is what this ignorrant woman says. If you do write to her, please ensure that your letter does not prove her right!
Why I hate vegetarians
People should not be bullied into giving up meat by humourless, judgmental souls using spurious arguments
Monday June 13, 2005
Eating in a meat-free restaurant the other day made me realise why I hate vegetarians. The food, unlike the tasteless, bland rubbish often served up in such places, was delicious. Unusually for meatless cuisine, it had flavour and texture, and had even been seasoned. What was unpalatable were the customers and waiting staff, all of whom seemed to believe that what they were eating made them superior. They all looked smug and self-satisfied. It brought it home to me that most vegetarians - and I am largely excluding those who eschew meat for religious and cultural reasons - give themselves a bad name. They are better than you, don't you know? The atmosphere in the restaurant was one of pompous aloofness. I left with indigestion.
People often assume I don't eat meat, because I am a feminist and vaguely of the left. I have turned up at dinner parties to find the host has assumed that at least one guest would be vegetarian, and served undercooked baked potatoes. What an atrocity! Why can they not put a chicken in the oven at the same time? Or is the sight of meat so offensive to veggies that they would pass out at the table?
Recent converts can be the worst. I have lost friends to the cult who, once they get fed the mantra from the militants, become something akin to ex-smokers. I am tired of feeling self-conscious in restaurants when ordering meat in front of them. No one should deny that factory-farmed animals are kept in the most appalling conditions, and that eating too much meat is bad for you. But look at their claims. Crusaders promote vegetarianism not only as healthy but as a solution to world hunger and a safeguard of the planet.
Do not assume living without animal products is always a positive, healthy choice. A vegan couple in American have recently been charged with child abuse for malnourishing their three small children. They had been brought up on a vegan diet from birth. There have been similar cases where children, who cannot choose what they eat, have had their health severely damaged because of their parents' principles. They are putting the welfare of animals before that of their children. Giving up meat and dairy has been linked to anorexia and other eating disorders in teenage girls. Lack of vitamin B12, found mainly in meats, eggs, dairy and fish, can cause brain damage. Most vegans, and some non-meat-eaters, have to supplement their diet with pills. In the developed world, vegetarianism is a privileged choice. How many working-class vegetarians do you know? It is not an option for most poor people in this country.
A veggie colleague once said of a woman with her three young children in a supermarket, "Have you seen those cheap beefburgers and pies she's feeding them? Why does she not go to the market, buy some fresh vegetables and make them all some nice, healthy soup?" Again that assumption that vegetarian and vegan foods are cheaper, which they are not, and that the mother had all the time in the world to prepare food from scratch.
Let's get our priorities right. People who put foxes and lambs before people do not have my vote. Animal liberationists blowing up scientists for conducting experiments that might lead to a cure for cancer are odious. There are more refuge spaces for cats than there are for women and their children fleeing domestic violence. While rape crisis centres are closing due to lack of funds, animal charities are raking it in.
Although vegetarianism is often seen as a "women's issue", there is a nasty, misogynistic wing that relies on sexist images and messages to convince people that meat is murder. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) are the worst offenders. One of their early adverts features a woman dragging a fur coat behind her. She is captioned as a "dumb animal". Another has a woman having her fur coat ripped off in the street and clubbed to death by a man, to make the point that it is not nice to be killed for your coat. The actor who played Lolita in the 1997 remake became "the youngest star to pose naked for Peta's anti-fur campaign". The message is: treat women, not animals, like meat.
Those who think we should not eat meat because all life is sacred are naive. Would they be happy allowing mosquitoes to spread malaria, or having rats run loose in their home? Not all creatures are equal. There are natural hierarchies in the food chain.
People should be allowed to make their own choices and not be bullied or frightened into giving up meat. In the US recently, children in a secondary school were taken by their teachers to a slaughterhouse to show them how animals are killed for food. This tactic is a form of mind control, as unethical as discouraging young girls from having sex by making them watch a difficult childbirth.
I may hate vegetarians because they make me feel guilty, or because, meat being so delicious, they must have lots of willpower. But as an animal lover who agrees in principle with most reasons for giving up meat, I would rather not join that band of humourless, judgmental souls. It would seem that you are indeed what you eat.
· Julie Bindel is the founder of Justice for Women