“I think it could be plausibly argued that changes of diet are more important than changes of dynasty or even of religion.”
George Orwell, 1937
“The Road to Wigan Pier”
As inventor of the original Vegeburger, the author feels entitled to take a sideways look at meat eating in this chapter, suggesting that we are the losers in the host-parasite relationship we have with our farm animals. Our cows, pigs and sheep easily outnumber all other large mammals on the planet. They are safe in that position as long as we continue to eat them, devoting 70% or more of our farmland to producing their food.
What do we get in return for breeding all these animals? Degenerative diseases, obesity, polluted and exhausted land, 90% of food poisoning cases, and the subsidised factory farm are but a few of the benefits. Once we just fed food processing and other edible waste to our domestic animals. Meat eating was more likely to be a weekly occasion than a daily event. Then the state got involved, thinking we all needed to eat more meat, and it all got exploitative and unsustainable – its ultimate expression being the factory farm.
Here it is pointed out that the best motivation for reducing or eliminating meat and animal products from our diet is the self-interest that wants to eat most of its food first-hand and avoid all the downsides of intensive meat consumption.