Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 5th 2015 Contents B6
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, March 5, 2015
II ve joined the ranks of the vegetarians (if only
for 40 days and 40 nights.) Strictly speaking I ve
joined the ranks of the pescetarians. Is it ok to
eat fish, I wonder? And do they have any feelings?
Some people say that fish scream when they re
Perhaps at a pitch only dogs can hear. I ve no
doubt that dying, gasping for air, crushed under
the weight of your fellow fish in a net is as horrible
a death as the steel bolt to the head of the cattle
herded into the abattoir, or the slash of the halal
butcher s knife across the throat of the fatted lamb.
The wrung neck of chickens, pecking round
Trinidadian yards is equally disturbing---I ve heard
tales of men simply picking them up by the neck
and swinging them.
Nonetheless, this lack of meat has me halluci-
nating, salivating and growling after only two weeks.
It s hard---two days into my self-imposed ban I
completely forgot and bought jerk chicken from a
Trini-owned restaurant in Stroud Green (the area
of North London CLR James once lived in.) Known
as Hummingbird restaurant for 30 years it recently
re-branded itself Lulu s---a brothel-esque name if
ever I heard one---with a makeover like a hair par-
If Jesus was alive today and planning a quiet Fri-
day night in with a dvd, you d forgive him for suc-
cumbing to Lulu s curried goat.
I m not giving up meat for Lent (I don t believe
in God) and it s not in support of animal rights.
I don t feel guilty about eating our four-legged
friends; I m an animal lover but I love eating them
too! I could eat a bacon sandwich while listening
to the miserable indie singer Morrissey, singing
that "meat is murder."
Last year Morrissey walked offstage at a concert
because he could smell "burning flesh" from the
burger stands. He s compared the meat industry
to the slave trade, the Holocaust and child abuse.
Since my flesh fast began I ve smelt cooked meat
coming out of pub kitchens and found myself walk-
ing towards the source, blindly following my nose---
entranced like Pepe Le Pew the cartoon skunk
enraptured by the aroma of Penelope Pussycat.
I m giving up meat to see if I physically can. It s
a test of my willpower that would rival a heroin
addict withdrawing from skag. I ve never gone
without meat for more than a few days in my whole
life. I m indecently carnivorous. In recent years
I ve even developed a Hannibal Lecter-like obsession
with innards. Chicken livers, cooked to perfection
with just a trace of blood left on the plate, are one
of life s greatest pleasures.
In France, where my mother (a strict vegetarian)
lived for several years, the supermarkets were a
meat-lovers paradise: offal and body parts of every
description, and prime cuts of course. I d play jokes
on my veggie mother. As she went off to buy lettuce,
tomatoes and onions I d take half a pig s head off
the shelf, or the cadaver of a skinned rabbit wrapped
in clear packaging, place it in the shopping trolley
then nonchalantly stroll past as she came back
with the salad ingredients. The swear words that
followed were epic.
Once I bought a pig s heart and took it home to
cook. Unfamiliar with heart recipes I simply boiled
it. It was tough and when I got to chewing through
the hardened ventricle it became frankly inedible.
The other items on sale---cows tongues over a
foot long, lambs brains (cervelles d agneau) neatly
lobotomised, entrails and intestines, pigs trotters
and ears---I found fascinating. If you re going to
kill a sentient being, use every last bit of it I say.
On a recent trip to Trinidad with my mother,
Trinis struggled with the concept of vegetarianism.
A dear friend made her signature smoked herring
dip which she served with Crix. "She s vegetarian,"
I told her as she eagerly offered it to my mortified
looking mum. "But it s only herring!" exclaimed
Later in the trip my mother ate meatless roti.
Not boneless eh.
I would eat most types of meat (though never
horse, dog or rat under any circumstances). If I
was the guest of an Amazonian tribe I might eat
monkey, tapir or parrot. In former, more
abundant times in T&T I might have tried
tatou or agouti (just the once!) but I would
recoil at the hideous spiny tailed manicou.
As for the thought of killing a turtle for
Eating animals (as well as domesticating
them for companionship, hunting, wool,
milk, eggs and transport) was an essential
part of human evolution. Without it we
would have perished as a species. Meat is
of course nutritionally important too. But
the ethics and practices of the meat indus-
try are vulgar and if I could rear my own
animals I would.
Recently I was shocked by an article on
a vegan Web site which described how
thousands of chickens can be killed in
minutes using foam sprayed over them,
suffocating them. The same article
described the fate of male chicks from the
egg-laying species of chickens. The tiny
baby males---redundant as egg-layers and
not big enough to be sold for meat---are
simply thrown into a shredding machine
to dispatch them as quickly as possible.
Happy Easter everybody!
We'll meat again
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