Eating a Turtle

maxresdefaultWhen I was a wee boy I used to be a bit of a fussy eater.

Not one of those dull, modern day invented, lactose intolerant, vegan types, just a common or garden fussy food child. I remember turning my nose up when my mother first put a pizza in front of me, it looked like sick I told her, but she persisted and forced me to take a bite. So I did and then demanded pizza everyday.

At some point along the way this fussiness disappeared though. I can’t pinpoint the exact day. I didn’t go to bed one night and wake up craving liver but it definitely changed. Now I will eat pretty much anything, and I have.

There’s not much I haven’t tried, I don’t think. Aside from the normal meats I have tried some exotic ones like horse, including horse penis, alligator and even a Mongolian marmot but my favourite meat has to be reindeer steak, in my opinion far nicer than even the best hand reared Kobe beef. The only downside is it’s a little tricky to get hold of outside of northern Scandinavia and somewhat difficult to explain to small children why I am eating Rudolf, especially in December. It is nice though, if you haven’t tried it, you should, but be prepared to be disappointed every time you visit your local steakhouse after you have.

I read somewhere, or saw a documentary, or someone told me that one of the main reasons the giant sea turtle was hunted to virtual extinction was on account of its taste. It was so nice apparently once you have tasted it you cant go back to Aberdeen Angus or whatever the steak of choice is in the Galapagos islands. Even nicer than Reindeer or so they say, but I doubt a Galapagean (just made that up) has ever eaten Reindeer so I will reserve judgement on that one.

Yes ,so their downfall was their wonderful taste, which rather puts paid to the adage if you want to preserve it – start eating it. It might have worked for cows, chickens and sheep but clearly not the giant sea turtle….yet.

I would like to taste a giant sea turtle but will wait until they figure out how to farm them first before I do. Even I, with my couldn’t-care-much-about-what-I-eat carnivorous attitude, would struggle to internally reconcile the morality of eating such a beautiful and highly endangered species.

I would and have eaten Halal though and based on what I read, this would appear to be seen in a similar light.

Barbaric, medieval, monstrous are a few of the printable comments I keep reading from people I have never met and oddly some people I know very well. They are complaining about the religious slaughter of animals, and more specifically the Islamic method of slaughtering animals.

Its strange but it doesnt appear, on the face of it at least, that these people hold animal welfare concerns high up on their moral radar.  I could be wrong but it appears to be a thinly veiled attack on Islam rather than concern for the animals themselves.

Decide for yourself – here are four random comments I pulled from a Britain First post relating to Halal meat;

Must not upset the Muslim way! makes me so angry and despondent, if the government don’t care, why can’t we arrange groups of heavy people who do care, to prevent this happening, at any cost at slaughterhouses across the country’

‘Possibly the cruelest savages that ever walked this earth , I will strive to never buy or eat halal meat or products . Why does the government bend over backwards for these people , create some laws concerning it and enforce them !’

‘Islamic community need everything special, they do opposite to rest of world…..they never want to modernize..but use all modern stuff. .. they are evil on earth….’

‘Time for the British people to stand up and if by force….evict all muslims from England. The government will not do it.’

The last one made me smile the most, why would the British people stand up to remove all Muslims from England, and not Wales or Scotland if they feel so strongly about it?

Also you have to forgive the typos, spelling and grammar here, -I copied and pasted directly without any edit.

So assuming I am right and this is an obvious Trojan horse approach to attack Islam and then what? Cut off their food supply? Starve them out of the country?

It could work, but before Britain first or any other stupid group start pushing their animal welfare credentials they should be a little careful.

Please be aware that a few other religions insist on the same approach to the slaughter of the animals, one of them happens to be Judaism.

Also if the reason you want to ban Halal is on account of the cruelty involved lets be absolutely certain that the non-Halal animals are treated and slaughtered in a way which we would consider humane. Have you ever visited a non religious abattoir or a battery farm?

And finally do you really understand what Halal, or Kosher slaughter actually involves?

So yes, it could work but its unlikely because at the very least you will need to ban a whole bunch of non Islamic meat and piss off a lot of people you don’t want to in the process or at worst ban meat entirely.

Britain First, and your supporters, come up with something better please.

Something which is difficult to refute, something which isn’t laughable and something which doesn’t show you as the religious intolerant, ill thought through, bigoted group of Neanderthals you actually are.

Maybe then you might actually start getting taken more seriously and maybe your supporters who feel so strongly about supporting you from behind the safety and relative anonymity of their laptops in their bedrooms might stand up and do something about their beliefs.

And then, if they do, they might just realise how ridiculous they all actually sound.

Unfortunately though I would bet there is a higher chance of seeing a succulent and sustainable giant sea turtle landing on my dinner plate before this actually happens.

But, based on what I’ve been told, I’ll take that consolation prize every time…


Living & Growing

imagesI will start this blog off with an admission: I’m not gay.

I’m also not Christian. I’m not Muslim nor am I a scientologist. I’m not black. I’m not Asian.

I’m a heterosexual, Anglo Saxon, atheist, white male. To compound this damning description I also work in finance and have voted Tory ever since I was legally able to.

Essentially I am about as far away from the urban street as its possible to be, well perhaps Boris Johnson is a bit further away but its safe to say I won’t be appearing as an extra on The Wire anytime soon. Unless it’s to get mugged that is.

It doesn’t really matter though, I don’t care and I’m sure 50 Cent and his chums don’t care much either.

I remember when I first learned the real truth about human reproduction.  I was about 9 or 10 years old. It was the summer holidays and I was idly walking back from the park with a friend kicking an old plastic football between us.

‘Fuck off! No way! Who told you that?’ I shouted after he had just, out of the blue, told me about it using terms like ‘Your dad put it there, they did this and then you appeared’

‘Its true’ he said nodding solemnly

I thought about this for a while, trying to exorcise the image from my brain.

‘That means your mum and dad must have done the same then?’ I grinned, throwing it back at him.

‘Nope’ he said ‘not them, just your mum and dad’ then he ran off laughing and waving for me to pass him the ball.

I didn’t believe him at the time but within two years the horrible truth had been broken to me through the medium of pencil and chalk drawings in school. Living and Growing is a TV series I will never forget, for all the wrong reasons. Two years later it was a topic which had taken over my mind almost entirely. My forearms bulked out. Childhood was nearly over.

Anyway, it turned out to be not as bad as I thought it would when my friend told me about it that summer’s day in the late 1970s.

My three kids will find out one day, one already has. The other two have some time yet but eventually they will too. They might turn out similar to me, who knows. Two are half Asian so they already have a significant headstart in the street credibility stakes long before that even matters to them.

The good thing is regardless of their ethnicity, their sexual preferences or their career choices there will generally be no bias one way or another towards them. In general, and I am of course generalising here, the world is a pretty unbiased place to live. Rio Ferdinand might argue differently but we are certainly some way away from the world as it existed say, 200 years ago. Pockets of resistance exist in amongst some segments of the population and there is the odd country still believing themselves to be ethnically superior to another but these are rare.

Religion is different though.

Science is right, of course it is, 2000 years of scientific study and clinical evidence cant be wrong, can it? With such an overwhelming volume of work, postulating, hypothesising, proving and disproving how could it be anything but the truth? Well it cant be but it is certainly not the whole truth. It is still someway away from explaining the whole truth. Which leaves me in the difficult situation of there being some scientifically accepted scientific concepts I personally find impossible to understand no matter how tight I screw up my eyes; infinity, higgs bosun, warp speed to name just three.

So what is wrong with having a get out of jail card called faith in your back pocket? If you don’t understand it simply say it was gods will and move on. An omnipresent escape clause as John Loftus would describe it. But think about it, having an escape clause, omnipresent or otherwise has to be preferable to trying to figure out how the Starship Enterprise doesn’t bump into planets during warp speed. At least I think it is.

Christian bashing seems to be in vogue. There are multiple websites, facebook pages all with the intention of throwing unanswerable questions at creaky old men in robes safe in the knowledge they have no valid repost.

Its too easy. These sites seem to be awash with smug atheists actively seeking a fight then sniggering or arguing about creation and in the process trying to persuade some poor soul that his or hers belief system is flawed.

Are these the modern day equivalent of missionaries traipsing around Africa trying to convert the heathens?

Probably not.

To me it feels less of a conversion process and more of a bullying/self promoting ‘I am right and I want to hear you admit defeat’ type of process.

Either way its not very pleasant, in the same way it wouldn’t be acceptable to have the scientific community going out of its way to prove that man-love isn’t correct. ‘Its not supposed to go in there you know?’ is a pretty valid argument but I’ve never heard Stephen Hawkins say so and does it really matter?

Not really.

Anyway religion isn’t all that bad. The vast majority – 99.9% – of people with faith practice it without any negative consequence on the rest of us so what’s the problem?

If you have to throw anyone to the lions why not focus on the 0.1%. The door knocking Jehovah witnesses, scientologists, Islamic terrorists and anyone who carries out violence in the name of religion. Leave the rest alone to whatever it is they believe.

Just a suggestion though, it might be an idea to keep your thoughts on the existence of god to yourself if you happen to find yourself in the middle of Helmand province.

Who knows at some future point the bearded chaps at CERN might discover the god particle and reveal to the world it was actually made by the big man himself. They could prove that Mary did conceive immaculately and not how my friend described it and they might prove that god exists and is a hazy man with a white beard.

What will you say then? Bullying atheists? Huh?