Michael Williams: Readers' editor

You're hopping mad about our dish of 'roo stew

Share

Lock the doors, put up the shutters, batten down the hatches. I've an admission to make. I'm actually rather partial to a juicy bit of kangaroo – an idea clearly offensive to many of our readers judging by the response to our news story last week reporting that Greenpeace is urging Australians to eat more 'roo meat to save the planet. The idea is that throwing Skippy, rather than a sirloin, on the barbie would reduce the nation's greenhouse gases, meaning less methane from flatulent cattle and less demand for grazing land.

Personally, I think it's a good idea. 'Roos are low in fat and high in protein. Travelling across Australia, I consumed the nation's most prolific marsupial as fillet and carbonade, as carpaccio and salami. I'd particularly recommend "National Emblem Stew" where quantities of emu are also stirred in. But I don't anticipate many of you calling in for the recipe. When my colleague Janet Street-Porter went on TV with Gordon Ramsay to talk up the virtues of another unusual meat – horse – a pile of steaming manure was dumped on the doorstep of Ramsay's restaurant. Several of you clearly view the kangaroo idea in much the same way.

"I thought you were supposed to be an environmentalists' paper," writes Jeff Jepps from Wimbledon, "but you have given huge prominence to this loony idea from Greenpeace, who not long ago were campaigning against the culling of these intelligent mammals. And to make it worse, you are clearly revelling in it by turning a serious issue into some kind of joke." The veggie lobby is on the warpath, too: "A responsible paper like yours should be pointing out that the quest for ever growing quantities of meat in our diet is not only destroying the planet but killing us off with heart attacks and a host of other diseases," writes Veronica Leigh , from Bristol. "Above all, hunger around the world could be eradicated if rich Westerners gave up eating meat."

True enough. But given that veggies are unlikely to attain world domination, the only proper test must surely be: are the animals facing extinction, and are they being dispatched humanely? Each nation makes cultural judgements on what it chooses as acceptable to eat. Why is it fine to eat horsemeat in France but not in Britain? Why do we recoil at the Vietnamese and Koreans eating dog? The UK is being plagued by a glut of grey squirrels, which the Government decrees can be legally killed. So surely Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall should be stewing them for the nation at River Cottage Contradictory? A whaler in Oslo told me not long ago: "You British are sentimental about whales because you say they are intelligent. But so are pigs, and you torture them by the millions in intensive farms for your breakfast bacon."

The proper test for any food we eat must be to interrogate the source and then decide. In this respect, our gag last week about "possum pie" and "kookaburra fricassee" may have misfired, since kookaburras are officially endangered, as are some types of possum. So in fairness to marsupials everywhere, here's another recipe sent to me by a reader this week: "Greenpeace kangaroo-killers should be served on a spit, slitted and gutted, with the head removed."

Email readerseditor@independent.co.uk

Message Board: Pills: lifesavers or a hazard to health?

Deaths from adverse reactions to prescription drugs have doubled in 10 years. Bloggers had plenty to say about doctors and drugs at www.independent.co.uk/IoSblogs

Gerry

There is far too much pill popping. I don't blame only doctors for this as their patients pester them for pills. I've heard of antibiotics being demanded to treat viruses on which they have no effect. I take nothing, not even an aspirin.

Angela

Some people feel their doctors have not listened to them as well as they would have liked. I am very sorry that this occurred, but painting the whole medical profession as arrogant and dismissive is an unfair generalisation.

Karen A

The human body is unique and each person will process medicines differently. No system, no clinical trials, will ensure that adverse side effects will never happen.

Robbo

The majority of doctors are rubbish and venal? You are joking. Next time you're ill, need surgery or advice, try sorting yourself out and see how happy, or even alive, you are.

Chris Caton

People need to be empowered, have their health put back into their hands, be enabled to make informed choices. Too often patients feel they must do as the doctor says through fear and not through choice.

Juan

People are accustomed to taking medicine without knowing about adverse reactions. More information in medical centres is needed to make people aware of them.

Mark Jago

People just need to take responsibility and read more. Stop behaving like sheep, and educate yourself on other options.

Brian



What has changed since Voltaire: "Doctors... prescribe medicines of which they know little, to cure diseases of which they know less, in human beings of whom they know nothing"?

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Copywriter - Corporate clients - Wimbledon

£21000 - £23000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Copywriter - London As a Copywrite...

Horticulture Lecturer / Tutor / Assessor - Derbyshire

£15 - £18 per hour: Randstad Education Nottingham: As a result of our successf...

Retail Lecturer / Assessor / Tutor - Derbyshire

£15 - £18 per hour: Randstad Education Nottingham: Randstad Education are succ...

Business Studies Tutor / Assessor / Lecturer - Tollerton

£15 - £18 per hour: Randstad Education Nottingham: Randstad Education are succ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Save the tiger: 7 saddening facts about the extinction of Javan tigers

Harvey Day
 

In Sickness and in Health: After months of silence, Nick has started talking

Rebecca Armstrong
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried