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Eating them softly

First, there was the ?less harmful? cigarette. Now, there is the ?less cruelly made? dinner plate.

india Updated: Oct 27, 2006 02:19 IST

First, there was the ‘less harmful’ cigarette. Now, there is the ‘less cruelly made’ dinner plate. In America — where else? — carnivores with a conscience now have the option of eating meat products made from animals that are raised in a ‘humane manner’. Never mind that, to quote John Maynard Keynes out of context, in the long run, the animals are all dead on our tables.

Whole Foods Market has come across this novel idea which some are seeing as a burgeoning niche market. After all, if there can be societies having serious problems dealing with halal meat because of the ‘inhumane’ procedure in which the meat is ‘made’, why can’t there be joy in munching on tender meat fed on tender love and care? Thus, in accordance with the practice, the products will now carry the labels, ‘certified humane’ and ‘animal compassionate’ and ‘cage free’. The Chipotle Mexican Grill, for instance, claims that its decision to use humanely raised pork, free of antibiotics and hormones, in his burritos was based on its owners’ distaste for industrial-style farming. But like all good sermons, the taste of the pork chop lies in — you guessed it! — its taste.

The flag-bearers of ‘happy meat’ insist that because the chicken are not caged, because the pigs are allowed to roam free and because the cattle are given their mandatory four hours in the meadow, the food does taste better. So what if the price is a bit higher than the proletarian meat products. In any case, eating with a clear conscience makes even broccoli taste good. Which brings us to the point: do we treat our vegetable patches with the love and respect with which we treat our fellow beings? Manekaji, what say thee?

First Published: Oct 27, 2006 02:19 IST