Today, I discovered a handy little button on Facebook that enabled me to stop following someone, and still stay friends with them. Why would I need this? Said friend isn't someone I've spent a lot of time with, but I do like him. He's a bit 'alternative' in many ways, but the thing that made me reach fast for that function when I found it is his constant posting of really gory memes and images that are intended to shock and revolt people who eat meat. (oh, and FYI, don't look for examples in this post, because there won't be any)
I have my own food foibles. I'm Jewish. I follow Jewish dietary laws - to an extent. I don't eat treif - i.e. 'forbidden foods', those specifically mentioned in Torah as foods to not eat - and I don't mix my meat and dairy products. I don't go to the extent of purchasing only kosher meat (partly because it's horrendously expensive), and I don't have two separate sets of everything to keep utensils apart. The latter is mostly because Dragon Dad isn't as observant as I am, because he doesn't find it meaningful so wouldn't keep everything neatly in its place, AND any scallop on a restaurant menu has his name on it...apparently. I'm also allergic to chili - which, let me tell you, can be a complete and utter nuisance, since SOMEONE, in their infinite wisdom, started a trend where 'season to taste' appears to now mean add salt, pepper, and CHILI to the dish, and it's not always mentioned on menus, which can have pretty nasty consequences for me.
I have NO issue with anyone's food choices. My personal thing - as with many things - is that I will respect the choices of others as long as they'll extend me the same courtesy. And that's where it starts to get murky.
There's a largish populist movement that is spreading dietary solutions for a vast array of medical issues - from the common cold through auto-immune diseases to cancer. There have been a rash of 'health bloggers' exposed in recent times, for extreme diets that have been promoted as 'cures' - which they're not - and social media has been the forum for many a war of words in the comments following posts about these bloggers. I wrote a post for Creaky Joints on this, and got a 50/50 mix of support and pillorying.
My own Facebook feed, courtesy of the algorithms that ensure that I will have 'items of interest' given preference based on my activity over the things I may prefer to see, keeps offering up all sorts of things about alternative diets. And I have a few activist friends whose most frequent means of communicating their passion is to post the goriest, most shocking images they can find.
In the wake of America's Thanksgiving holiday - and feasting - there have been all too many posts about the poor turkeys. Today's 'best', that I can still see in my head, is the bucket of bloodied turkey heads. I can't remember the text that was printed over it.
The thing is, I eat meat. Not a lot of meat, but I do eat it. And fish. Because I believe that a balanced diet of ALL the food groups is the healthiest option for me. I had a period where I was a complete vegetarian - with eggs and dairy included - but with an overactive metabolism, I lost so much weight it was getting dangerous. The rest of my family weren't prepared to go down that road either, and I don't care what anyone says, it's a pain in the tuchos to have to cook multiple meals for one family for EVERY meal.
They say, the people who post all this blood and gore, that it's activism. If someone can explain to me how it's effective to post constant blood and gore that most sensible people will choose to stop following one way or another, I'd be grateful. MY response is to block it. So they're not getting any message of value across, to my way of thinking.
It is MY choice to eat the meat that's part of my diet, small component though it may be. It is a vegan or vegetarian's choice to NOT eat that meat. I'm not about to call either of them out for that. Why should I have to have that stuff shoved up my nose?
What is it about social media that seems to give license to people to operate potentially very differently to the way they might in person?
I do try to source ethically produced meat from small producers where possible. Sometimes I can't - for any number of reasons. And that's MY business. I don't expect to be attacked for that, or for choosing to eat meat in the first place. And I don't think anyone else should be either.
So, the radical vegans out there need, in my opinion, to remember their manners, and treat others as they would wish to be treated - and get all that blood and gore off their pages. I WILL block those posts from my feed, because - and this may shock... - they are tiresome. They DON'T move me to stop eating meat. They annoy me because all I see is the cheap shock tactic behind them.
And here is a picture of my cats. Because, as far as I know, very few people eat cats, so they can't possibly be contentious - unless someone wants to take umbrage because I'm being facetious.