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  • Writer's pictureCrone

Never trust anything that makes you feel good about yourself

Updated: Jan 11, 2022

This was the conclusion that Richard and I came to in our last philosophy chat. He was up-in-arms about Christians (I guess they have more sway in the U. S. of A. For my part, I think it's fine it belief makes people... er... feel better and even better if it encourages charity, and the evidence suggests that both seem to be the case, on average.) I was up-in-arms about human exceptionalism and the stupidity of acting like tourists on the planet, all take take, rather than as participants who have to do their bit.

I have been feeling not good about myself because I am faced with the horns of a dilemma. This came up on the cold run when I stopped to talk to the sheep man - a rather sweet looking young man in his twenties, I guess. I asked him how the sheep were and his face lit up, saying they're well. He told me how intelligent sheep are and how he likes working with them and how they're all 'soft' with the sheep.

I asked him about the decision to have the sheep on the arable fields in winter and he said how it's good for the environment and saves money as they need less herbicides and fertilisers. It also helps to protect the soil. He told me how the farmers are changing practices to be better for the environment, but that the Prime Minister fails to understand that these changes need to be supported as they will increase food prices.

We talked of how 80% of a family's income goes on food but now we think food should be really cheap so that we can buy holidays and plasma screen TVs and Sauvignon Blanc and Siamese cats.

He was surprised that I knew what I did about farming and I said I'd been brought up in the country. But I also had to admit to the veganism. He made two good points: my avocados and non-animal products are transported across the globe so I'm not as good as I could be were I eating local (my brother pointed this out) and secondly that if there were no farm animals, farmers could not rotate crops and livestock to farm in less carbon emitting way. the integration of animals and plants is what supports the soil and lessens the need for chemicals.

Oh dear. This is true.

What's more he said that as the supermarkets buy most of the milk, they have a big say in welfare and Tesco say you can't just kill baby bull calves. So they have created dairy cows whose calves can be grown on for beef. I didn't ask how long the mothers and babies get together as that, it seems, is still an issue.

But I do come back to the point that it's the numbers of us eating meat, the amount of meat we expect at the cost we expect that is a problem. He said British meat ends up more expensive so there's less market but the welfare is better than cheap imports. I will not eat meat myself, but I do acknowledge that many (most?) farmers love the animals - they have to to ensure they flourish. And that they have a better.... ethic of food production than most of us who are so detached.

This lad said his family farm was a sheep farm and he, as a young lad, decided he would visit the abattoir where they were killed because he wanted to know if he could agree to it. He said he could. He said he was impressed and the sheep weren't distressed.

Of course he has a bias, as I do, but his words and his perspective made me think. It did not make me feel good about my categorical imperatives and self-righteousness.

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