Flat White

Towards a Safe Supermarkets program?

2 August 2016

11:14 PM

2 August 2016

11:14 PM

Rejoice, rejoice. The ABC has found a new font of identity politics. A new set of victims. And — naturally — it’s already campaigning on their behalf.

“Vegetarians are bullied and hated in Australia and our culture is caught in a cycle of overreliance on meat,” Aunty reports.

The source of these insights is Fairfax columnist Richard Cornish, whose tale of dietary experimentation My Year Without Meat has just been published by the increasingly gimmicky Melbourne University Press.

“I learnt what it’s like to be a vegetarian,” Cornish told News24. “Most people hate vegetarians and they loathe vegans,” he said.

But that’s not half of it. Aunty added to the sob story, recounting Cornish’s experience of how we cruelly taunt folk with a flesh-free diet: “He said people would give him food with meat in it just to get a reaction. Or he would bring lentil burgers to a barbecue and see them treated as a foreign object.”

Cornish continued with his tale of dehumanisation. “You’ll ask for a vegetarian pasty and bite into it and go, ‘There’s meat’, and they say, ‘Yeah, but there’s vegetables, too’.”

His conclusion? “There’s a lot of disrespect for people who choose not to eat meat.”

But we’re not only brutes and bullies. We’re racists, too — or wedded to negative notions about culture and food.

Cornish told Aunty other cultures embrace a more vegetable-based diet and that Australians could benefit from learning to use more grains and beans and chickpeas and lentils.

Clearly we need something along the lines of the Safe Schools program to inculcate a respect for vegetarians and vegans at an early age. A Safe Supermarkets program seems essential too.

Society must change its attitudes. That is if the problem lies with society. There may be more than one side to the story.

The report on Cornish began with a recollection of how when driving home with a shoulder of lamb for his family one day, he was overcome with the smell of the meat and decided to pull over and eat it on the side of the road.

“I found myself face-planted in a shoulder of lamb on the bonnet of my car,” the author admitted.

Perhaps he should make some teensy-weensy changes of his own before we remake society to serve the sensibilities of (allegedly) victimised vegans and vegetarians.

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