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Come and Get It

by Stephen Lautens


July 28, 2000

I like vegetarians. I really do. I especially like those vegetarians who don't make a big deal about it.

But then there are the ones who want to really rub your nose in the lentils.

Canadians have never taken to people with a Holier Than Thou attitude. And what could be more holier than thou than PETA's recent billboard campaign?

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals have sponsored billboards picturing God in all His majesty holding a bunch of carrots and thundering: "Thou Shalt Not Kill." The idea is God doesn't want you to eat meat.

I guess PETA didn't give a lot of thought to all those Old Testament animal sacrifices God demanded. And I'm not sure the Prodigal Son would have returned home quite as quickly if he knew a fatted radish awaited him instead of a fatted calf.

Not to mention the fact that Jesus did his miracle with the loaves and the fishes - not the loaves and the tofu.

Of course there are those vegetarians who eat fish ­ talk about being stuck with the worst of both worlds. I'm unclear about how a fish got to be a vegetable. For years I tried without success to convince my mother that green jujubes also qualified as a vegetable.

Then there are the really strict vegetarians, who don't eat eggs or milk either.

One guy I knew at college was not only a vegetarian, but he also insisted on making his dog a vegetarian too. That was one mean, hungry dog. If it had the strength, it would have chased you down the street. Of course, it was the nicest dog in the world during backyard barbeque season, begging meat scraps from a very sympathetic crowd of fellow carnivores.

And there you have it in a nutshell. Vegetarians want to deny our biology and ignore the fact we have teeth made for meat (for you anthropologists out there, our tooth enamel is too thin for full time grazing).

All you have to do is spend a few days in the wild to see how nature handles the food chain. Last weekend I watched an Osprey carry off a very surprised three pound bass. Our chipminks, who are exceptionally well fed on $2 of peanuts a day, still crave meat. I saw one happily munching a dragonfly like it was a corndog with wings.

Now, I don't hunt or fish, I abhor cruelty to animals, and feeding the wildlife at the cottage will pretty soon require a 2nd mortgage.

And not because we're fattening them up. I really do love animals. It's just that I love some of them with BBQ sauce.

I walked past a sign for a vegetarian day care that's opened near my office. Forget drug dealers - this schoolyard would be filled with the wrong element pulling the kiddies aside and saying in a whisper: "Yo, check it out. Beef jerky. Your first hit is free."

Two of my vegetarian friends were beside themselves because for a time their baby would only eat yummy whipped pork - the thought of which, ironically, is almost enough to make me into a vegetarian.

In a way I admire the vegetarians who don't eat meat because they feel it's wrong. It can't be an easy way to live.

Me? I don't care what you eat, as long as you're quiet about it and chew with your mouth closed.


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