More sanctimonious and self-righteous justification for killing animals to eat them by Guardian food critic Jay Rayner. This time — and for the first time — he watches the animal he will later eat be killed. The animal in question is number 365, which happens to be the number of days in the year. This is lost on Rayner, however, who fails to acknowledge that commercial slaughterhouses throughout the world kill animals 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

What’s also brushed aside is that Rayner is visiting Fodder, a “unique food shop,” which is a charity that has part of its educational remit to help people who want to know how their food is produced. All well and good, you would think; but one of the farmers who raised 365 and others says, “No, I don’t think anybody should be forced to make the connection between animal and carcass, because that might put them off and that wouldn’t be in people’s interest.” Well, of course, we need to define whose interest. Meat and other animal products people eat are luxury items we can no longer afford from the perspective of human health, animal welfare and environmental protection. Most likely Rayner witnessed an efficient and clean slaughterhouse which paid attention to how it killed animals and dissected them. Now, Jay, go and visit the greatest number of commercial slaughterhouses you can to see how the meat you eat is truly produced.

This may question your simplistic ethical justifications: “And if the likes of me weren’t here to eat it, this animal would never have existed in the first place.” And your conclusion that it “brings a certain seriousness to what we are doing.” Clearly, not sufficiently enough, as taking the life of another for momentary hedonistic pleasure is difficult to justify in my mind.

You see it differently, however, as you conclude, “It is what it is, a matter of expediency.”

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