On Boxing Day, 2007, I became vegetarian. My novel, MEAT, would hit bookshops a few weeks later and I wanted to act on what I’d discovered.
Researching MEAT included reading papers on ‘best practices’ and watching undercover footage of factory farming, animal transportation and slaughter. The horror of how livestock are treated in the food industry changed my life. Many of MEAT’s readers also quit eating flesh.
Since then, I’ve learned to make delicious, nourishing veggie/vegan meals for my family and my health has been excellent. A year into the Covid debacle, however, I experienced a profound inner questioning. Quitting meat had been a cerebral decision, based on information gathering; this new internal prompt was more like a soul message. Was avoiding meat right for my body? Was it natural? Having intensified my exercise regimen, was something missing?
Humans are at once sage and savage – part of life’s seemingly cold, brutal circle yet also highly sensitive. We are capable of love. Equally, we can husband animals or hunt them. Unlike our animal cousins, we are blessed (or cursed) with the power of choice.
Despite thirty years’ deliberation, I still don’t know if taking life to prolong one’s own is right or wrong. My decision to reintroduce meat is personal, based on listening to my body and spirit. It’s a gradual process but it feels renewing. I pray over my food now and my appreciation is heartfelt in a way it never was before.
These last three years have changed us; caused us to rethink everything. Frankly, the louder our overlords crow about meat substitutes, the greater my suspicion. This questioning extends far beyond the matter of diet do we trust some external narrative or our deep inner core? My sense is that, if we allow our hearts to lead in all matters, true liberty awaits us all.
Nature Way Farm (where I buy meat)
All photos are supplied by Nature Way Farm and are of their free-ranging animals