World Vegan Month #8 (a departure)

It’s not yet World Vegan Month, but here I am with this self-imposed blogging regime. Tonight I depart from my usual format with an email and some illuminating links about anthropomorphism.

Hello,

I will be accompanying friends to Jamie’s Italian in Greenwich.

Though other restaurants have started to indicate vegan foods, Jamie’s does not. The nutritional information, which seemed so considerate at first glance, turned out to only help me identify all the things I wouldn’t be able to eat.

I called. The person who answered the phone had not been briefed to answer this kind of question. She was receptive, did her best though, and I believe she asked the kitchen – but the answer was Alla Norma sauce over gluten free pasta.

The first thought that occurred to me was that this is roughly the kind of thing I make at home when I’ve run out of ideas. Not a creative, inspired dish by any stretch. Not a real alternative. Quite a contrast with the rest of the menu. There’s no pride in the offer. And dessert – it seems that it would be sorbet or nothing again – and somehow that sorbet, which stores so well, is the same price as the other desserts. Subsidising the egg, butter and cream that I refuse to eat.

That’s why I said on Twitter I don’t feel welcome – I will be paying you for a like-it-or-lump-it meal tomorrow, though, because I want to see my friends.

I do note the effort you’ve made to accommodate other dietary needs, and that gives me some hope. I want to say, though, that academic research findings on the environment, conservation, animal sentience, and human health are converging: we need to eat less animal and more plant foods.

For example, here are two senior academics pointing in the same direction for different reasons.

http://www.thegrocer.co.uk/opinion/columns/second-opinion/another-direction-emerges-in-the-food-world/350360.article

http://www.mfablog.ca/2013/10/world-renowned-ethologist-richard-dawkins-id-like-everybody-to-be-a-vegetarian.html

I think your menu should better reflect this.

There’s a vegan Italian place in London called Amico Bio – have a look.
http://www.amicobio.co.uk/

Yours,

‘Flesh’

While I was looking for suitable links I came across a HuffPo exchange between Marian Dawkins (Professor at Oxford) and Marc Berkoff (Emeritus Professor, University of Colorado) which encapsulates the debate about anthropomorphising animals. In a nutshell, Berkoff’s charge against Dawkins is that she clings to agnosticism in the face of contradictory evidence, and that skepticism is a smokescreen for bias.

Berkoff:

“Dawkins worries that bad science will drive people away from being concerned with animal welfare but I maintain that if we remain so skeptical of what we already know it undermines our efforts to learn about who other animals are and to protect them. Dawkins’ sweeping claim that ” … what has become the new orthodoxy about animal welfare – that anthropomorphism is all we need …” truly misrepresents the views of numerous people around the world, researchers and non-researchers alike, who are keenly interested in making the lives of other animals far better than they are.”

Bonus links:

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