I saw this ad on the back of a bus the other day.
Why indeed? It’s something to dwell on as we move into The Season of Massive Consumption.
Along with eating meat when we know we can get protein from more environmentally sustainable sources, here’s a smattering of other things we do out of habit and/or tradition.
Yes, yes, I know – some of these issues are fraught with convoluted legal, ethical, economic and cobwebby religious constraints – but from this subversive pragmatist’s point of view, they make no sense.
- Euthanasia. While we put our pets down when they are old and/or suffering, the legal systems and moral codes in most countries prevent us from doing the same to people who are terminally ill and have expressed a wish to die. Why, when it comes to terminal illness, do we treat our pets better than we treat our fellow humans?
- Blood Sport. What is it about killing beautiful, noble and free animals that gives some people such a thrill?
As Socrates said: ‘the unexamined life is not worth living’.
Writers and artists – individuals whose professions revolve around this very examination of the human condition – through choice or temperament, often prefer to hover on the outskirts of society and watch the world from a distance. Grist for the creative mill comes from observations that much human behaviour is ruled by vanity, social conditioning, fear of rejection and a desire to conform, imitate and impress peers.
Governments and legal bodies often reflect our breeches of common sense on a grander scale. So continuing on with my list:
- Fossil Fuel Dependence. Why in sunny Australia is the government not offering more business subsidies and solar incentives to support clean energy?
- Drugs and Drink. Why is alcohol – the cause of countless deaths – legal, while marijuana is still in many countries criminalised?
- Smoking. Given the obvious link between health problems and smoking why on earth do tobacco companies still exist?
I welcome your additions to my list.
Meanwhile, SETI continues its search for signs of other civilisations in the universe. To date this quest has revealed nothing but utter silence (except that single ‘Wow’ signal). This raises the question: Is there intelligent life out there? Or have we got this the wrong way round?
Perhaps there’s no technologically advanced civilisation out there dumber than us. Perhaps, just like the Vulcans in Star Trek, before they make contact, advanced alien species are waiting for humanity to pull itself together and discover the warp-drive of common sense.
They may also be waiting for us to cotton on and eat more insects.
After all, those delicious crustaceans (lobsters, scallops, prawns) we eat are really just bugs from the sea.
Back to those cute animals and the questions posed at the beginning of this post. Aside from the initial yuk factor of insect consumption (and BTW, what is more yukky than eating the red bleeding flesh of a dead animal?), if you have a rational answer that doesn’t involve tradition, laziness, habit or the fact that bacon tastes good, then I’d love to hear it.
My guess is I will hear nothing but utter silence.
Press on the link demon above for more discussions on the future of food: