This is Professor A. C. Grayling, philosopher, atheist and prolific writer.
He is also a vegetarian.
I have no problem with that, many of my favourite meals contain no meat:
Fresh pasta with pesto sauce, Margarita pizza, rhubarb crumble.
But I read one of his articles today and, when it comes to vegetarianism, the guy is as fanatical and as irrational as the worst religious fundamentalists he argues against.
"What butchers call 'fresh meat' is nothing of the sort, but is in fact carrion, because meat is only soft enough to cut, cook and eat when it has begun to decay. "
Comment: All meat carcasses are carrion, by definition. The hanging process has nothing to do with bacteria, indeed meat is kept cool (1-3 deg C) to prevent bacterial growth. The softening of the meat tissues during hanging is an enzymatic process, not bacterial.
"Rotting is effected by millions of bacteria swarming in the meat; their task is to pre-digest it for us by eating it first; the gamey smell of hung venison comes from the excrement of the microbes smeared all over it - everything that eats must excrete, and the meat is both dining room and toilet for the microbes. "
Comment: Lots of emotive words, little fact. Game is not common fare and the cooking process kills all bacteria.
"Their task"? Sounds awfully like Intelligent Design, professor!
"Everything that eats must excrete" is true enough but bacteria don't eat. Not in the sense of a digestive system with a mouth, intestines and anus.
You do seem to have it in for bacteria. Does that mean you don’t eat yoghurt because of the billions of bacteria ‘defecating’ in it? Or cheese. Or coffee? Or Cocoa? Or vinegar? Or sourdough bread? Or soy sauce? Or vitamins B2 and B12?
"Perhaps you like filling your mouth with rotting flesh full of injected hormones and vaccines, pullulating with microbes and covered in microbe diarrhoea."
Comment: Even if the food was 'pullulating' with microbes, which it isn’t, all bacteria are killed by cooking. If meat was so tainted, why can people eat raw meat safely? OK, not chicken, but many other meats are eaten raw or rare with nary a blink from the health authorities. Is this dereliction of their duties or is possibly because there no risk?
I must pull you up on diarrhoea. Yes, it is a nice emotive word but it is factually quite wrong. Diarrhoea is often a bacterial infection in animals. There is no evidence of bacteria having bacterial infections. They do not even have a digestive system that would support such a process.
That will do. I can't help wondering how the good Professor would mark a student's paper if they wrote in such a bizarre manner and illogical manner.
But it is fascinating to see a normally logical and reasoned writer struggle with a topic quite obviously close to his heart. Rationale thought seems to have deserted him.
If I was a Creationist, which I'm not, and I was on the other side of a debate with Professor Grayling, which I am unlikely to be, I would have to slip in something like "God meant us to eat meat" and then watch him haemorrhage.