Sunday, 6 March 2011

...and how you say it.


Wit a remarkable lack of presentation, the professor replied:

Dear Lee Kennedy
Thank you for your email and the accompanying letter. And for the nice things you say about some of my writings. We disagree about meat: you have a desire for logic and rational thought and yet you are 'saddened' and upset because of what I say about meat, and impute this to being saddened and upset because, by your lights, I fail in logic and factuality in talking of meat. Your points, however, simply won't do. For a start the fact that someone is 'saddened' that someone holds a different point of view does not wash with me; disagreement is the motor of clarification and debate, and sometimes disagreements are a datum that have to remain. I am not stopping you from being a graveyard for parts of deceased farm animals, I am telling you my take, and you are very free to think otherwise. As to facts and logic: Consult your dictionary for 'defecate', for example; and for 'carrion'; check with a microbiologist whether the contemporaneous existence of bacteria and antibiotics is possible; ask yourself whether it can really possibly, conceivably be true that deceased animal flesh can be bacteria free; read up a bit on factory farming and the use of growth hormones and antibiotics in cattle destined for the slaughter-house; read up on the effects of human over-exposure to antibiotics and their consequent reduced efficacy. I leave you to look up and verify the economics of meat versus cereal production and how many people can be fed by each method; I would especially look at the square mileage of rain forest being felled annually for running beef cattle in the Amazon basin as an indicator, and also at the staggering percentage of climate change carbon output from the meat industry. And you fail to accept that having raised the health and economic points, my own chief reason for being a vegetarian is a personal ethical one. You have made a different ethical decision: that doesn't sadden and upset me: my emotional responses are confined to the animals in the slaughter house. Good wishes - Anthony Grayling


Dear Professor Grayling,

Thank you for your most interesting response.

My principle concern is the nonsense about defecating bacteria. They don't. If this strange assertion were true the same must apply to other foods that contain 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?

Nor are they swarming on meat the way you claim. If they were, those strange people who eat Steak Tartare and Beef Carpaccio would have died from food poisoning long ago.

Being an Approved Analyst under the Food Act here in Victoria I am not totally ignorant of the compositional and health aspects of food.

But I feel that you are misusing a position of trust by perpetrating quite bizarre notions about meat in a high-voltage, high emotion diatribe.

That is not to say I am anti-vegetarian; nor does it mean I am pro-meat. It just means I prefer calm and factual discourse.


Lee Kennedy.


No reply, so I assume that is the end of the correspondence. Calm or otherwise.


  1. Touche, to Lee!

    My take is that, while there may be other strong arguments against meat/meat production (another place and time for that discussion), he still is relying heavily on emotion and inflammatory (and apparently inaccurate) language to make his case.

    Perhaps this is because it is clear that of he did have to make his case based on reasonable discourse, it probably wouldn't get nearly as much attention, or converts. Go figure!

  2. I believe there is a way available to make the bacteria begone!
    irradiation (although I question how I'm using the word)
    Nuking the meats kills the bacteria enough to actually store on a shelf, as long as it's in a vacuum pack.

    However, that leaves Australia out, except in importing same.
    Here, it's a different story altogether.
    People are afraid of turning into mutants if they eat nuclear treated food.

  3. You awful man! How can you possibly use logic when arguing with a bigot? It's unfair of you.

  4. You have WAY too much time on your hands if you are corresponding with this guy. His amazing disconnect with the reality of food makes one wonder about the rest of his thoughts.

  5. sorry, but i like what the prof. has to say.
    maybe u can both agree to disagree. rotting carcasses/rotting cheese/rotting vegetables - waste/all waste/ waste not/want not.


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