`Is there any more salami?'

So I like bacon? Where's the beef? asks John Rentoul
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The Independent Online
I am not a proper vegetarian, as carnivorous friends gleefully point out, when they think they have "caught" me out eating parma ham, bacon or sausages.

Why am I "allowed" to eat those? I look round to make sure the Vegetarian State Police are not watching. "Because I like them," I say. "Besides, I am sure it's all free-range pig."

In fact, the truth is that what I fail to be is a pescetarian, not a vegetarian, because I eat fish. But most people would think I was talking about star signs. I have always been a moral relativist.

I don't know if animals have rights, but if they do I am sure that less injustice is done by killing fish than cattle. There are hierarchies of both sentience and cruelty.

Some time after I gave up meat (most of the time) I was heartened to be told that fish don't feel pain.

Apparently they don't need to, because they don't have memories, so pain is of no use to them. They simply respond by reflex to external stimuli.

This is a good enough justification for me, although how salmon find their way back to their breeding grounds remains a mystery.

Anyway, I didn't become a partial pescetarian because I was against killing animals. My main motive was my own health: I don't think a lot of meat is good for you and the way it is produced involves a lot of chemicals and antibiotics and mechanically recovered bits you can't be too sure about. And I worked in a chicken house once.

As a secondary consideration, I see no point in being cruel to animals if it can be avoided - and industrial farming and abattoirs can be - although, being a moral relativist, I am more concerned about cruelty to humans.

Is there any more of that salami?

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