Talk about Newsnight

Ethical Man - Justin Rowlatt

Talking turkey (not shares)

  • Justin Rowlatt -
  • 20 Nov 06, 12:20 PM

bird_203.jpgI'm still smarting after Ethical Man attracted the attention of a number of national newspapers thanks to my wife's contribution to my last blog entry.

I'd written about the joys - and dangers - of urban foraging and was hoping to prompt a vigorous debate when Bee intervened with a query about some shares I own. As a result I'm hoping she'll report back on the ethical makeover she wants to put the family finances through.

It is a worrying prospect so, by way of a diversion, I am publishing this handsome picture of Ned, the Newsnight turkey.

The plan is he'll be the centrepiece of our "ethical" family Christmas. He certainly looks like a suitably proud bird and he's certainly come on well since we last saw him.

Unfortunately Ned's progress has inspired the ethical producer Sara to suggest that I atone for consuming him by spending January as a vegan. I've been a keen carnivore all my life but many of our correspondents believe that the only truly ethical diet is meat and dairy free. They also argue that it will make another dent in the family's carbon footprint.

I won't lie, I am not keen. I'm also not persuaded that carbon savings from forgoing flesh will offset the increase in methane emissions from a diet of beans and pulses. Rather ominously Sara says there is only one way to find out...

Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 04:15 PM on 20 Nov 2006,
  • Mills wrote:

Vegans are weird - Veganism is the late 20th/early 21st century equivalent of self-flagellation.

The only real reason for being vegan is to justify your otherwise deeply anomic relationship with the rest of society and thus being able to look down on everyone else supercilliously.

I bet given a choice not even the cows would recommend veganism.

In my book vegans are up there with fruitarians... which come to think of it might dovetail nicely with your urban foraging lifestyle.

What do you think Justin? Another prune?

  • 2.
  • At 12:17 AM on 21 Nov 2006,
  • russell g wrote:

Vegans and fruitarians are probably
only a response to the unsustainable way Western Man is living at the moment.
One of the strongest and largest races on the planet lives on a Pacific island and lives meat-free.
Farmers/landowners are one of this country's largest and most powerful pressure groups, and for a long time have held sway even to the point of potentially damaging the nation's health.
Don't misunderstand me, I enjoy a good slice of meat with the rest of my food, but having seen how many of our animals are raised, I wouldn't eat them for a million quid. For my own sake, not theirs.
Too many farmers I know have died of heart disease or cancer. The days of a few chickens in the yard, a few cattle lowing from the byre and the odd pig or two foraging in a small field are long gone. Those were the days when people worked hard and ate well.
Today it's Monsanto, organo-phosphates and loneliness. The supermarket cream off the state aid and the food doesn't taste like it once did.
Trouble with being a fruitarian must be finding enough good-tasting produce. No wonder we're all deserting this country for France and Italy, where quality of life comes before profit. Plus it gets rid of Labour.

  • 3.
  • At 12:55 AM on 21 Nov 2006,
  • Slati wrote:

Merry Christmas old Ned
I'll think of you
While I'm tucked up in bed
Thinking of ethics and Justin's dread
Ho Ho Hos all around and Season's greetings be upon you Justin--but why don't you pick on Blair instead of old Ned?

Let him live out his days in the Lords.

  • 4.
  • At 11:22 AM on 21 Nov 2006,
  • Harry42 wrote:

Ref Mills #1
'Vegans are weird', really come on, what about choice? When one looks at the food industry, meat and poultry in particular and the almost yearly problems from BSE, anthrax on Welsh farms to bird flu, can you really blame them! If people are different from you, in this instance abstaining from eating meat, then accept and support difference. Anyone for bean risotto?

  • 5.
  • At 01:43 PM on 21 Nov 2006,
  • Nick wrote:

Why not let your wife on to your blog?

  • 6.
  • At 09:35 PM on 22 Nov 2006,
  • caroline wrote:

I think you should try being vegan for a month. Then hopefully permermantly become vegan or veggie.

Veganism is the only way to go. I hope to make the switch from vegetarian to vegan soon.

And for those of you who believe that veganism is a waste of time and effort - perhaps you should do a bit of research on the cruel secrets of the dairy industry.

*Looks at picture of Ned* - Why not be really ethical and not eat him? He could be a pet! Go on, impress us by not eating a dead bird on Christmas day - afterall - isn't Christmas supposed to be a time of happiness and love, not a time for devouring corpses of turkeys???

  • 7.
  • At 01:06 PM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • Mills wrote:

Ref #4 # Harry42

Harry - I have no problem with anyone - everyone has the right to be whatever they want - even weird socially inept vegans.

  • 8.
  • At 02:08 PM on 29 Nov 2006,
  • trish wrote:

yeah vegans are weird. vegetarians are ok though. why don't you just be vegetarian for a month?

and where is your wife with her financial makeover for you? i'm looking forward to it.

Hi Justin,

In your quest for an ethical Christmas, hopefully you haven't bought a Christmas tree yet because ...

... you should buy one that is still living (ie: in a pot with roots et al) then, after Christmas, you can call me and I (and some other Guerrilla Gardeners - will collect the tree from you and plant it in a neglected plot of green space in London :)

In fact, I'll LOAN you a tree for Christmas and you can give it back once you've taken all the tinsel off it :)

Remember - a tree is for life, not just for Christmas!

Have a great Christmas and try not to eat too many of those sprouts - don't want you emitting any more greenhouse gases than necessary.


PS If anyone else wants to donate their "real" trees to Guerrilla Gardening in the New Year, we'll make sure we find a suitable home for them :)

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