I haven’t eaten meat or fish (anything with eyes!) since I was 17 so I’ve gone 37 years as a fully fledged vegetarian.
Two of these years I became a vegan but while it was relatively easy to maintain this diet when eating alone at home, I found eating out either in restaurants or at friends a burden I eventually tired of.
It’s not just a matter of avoiding cheese, milk and eggs, it involves the continual headache of scrupulously checking the labels or contents of everything you consume.
In addition the consequences would be that where I live in Italy I would have to forgo the pleasure of cappuccino, ice cream and many types of pasta. These are sacrifices some people are prepared to take but I’m not one of them.
I know all the arguments as to why I should be cutting dairy products from my diet but it’s not a discipline I feel able to maintain. I think the planet would be in much better shape if more people went veggie so my conscience is fairly clear.
Questions about the limits of ethical shopping and eating also take in other purchases like clothing and cosmetics. The tapestry of companies (see right) that test their products on animals makes you realise how many high street products we buy prolong this unnecessary suffering (a more detailed list is also available via Peta).
One of the main reasons why new face creams, after shave or shampoos are tested in this way is that it’s a cheaper alternative and saves companies having to bother using more natural ingredients or using content that is already known to be safe for humans.
The most effective message we can send is simply to buy an alternative whenever we can.
I’m never too comfortable getting on a soap box over these issues but I think we could all do our bit to prevent needless cruelty and not buying vaseline or veal are steps in the right direction.