Recently the UK medical journal The Lancet recommended a 90% reduction in our intake of red meat in our diet. Indeed, their recommendation looked something like this; porridge for breakfast, rice for lunch, a dinner of lentils and vegetables, and a single hamburger every few weeks, as a treat!
Such is the latest effort to save our planet although someone asked humorously which planet the authors of the report were on!
So beefeaters beware – the vegans are the flavour of the month.
Ever since it was discovered that the cow was a polluter she has had a bad press. She pays her way by producing large quantities of milk, butter and cheese, foods which, for various reasons, we should reduce our consumption. When it comes to bullocks there seems to be no redeeming features in the eyes of the scientists. Their manners are appalling and whilst what they leave behind may be good for the land they do nothing for the atmosphere!
Who is going to advocate on the cows’ behalf? We have the Irish Farmer’s Association who maintain we are the most carbon-efficient dairy producer in Europe and among the top five in beef. We have Members of Government making plans for the annual St Patrick’s week junkets. Will they put in a good word for our dairy and beef products in the countries where they promote Ireland or will they also turn green like the buildings and bridges all over the world?
Before we succumb to the scientist’s fruit and nut policy let us take a look at what the Bible says. “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food” (Genesis Chapter 1 verse 29). Our stewardship of the earth includes animal husbandry.
The sacrificial system of worship which culminated in Christ’s sacrifice of himself on the cross made provision for Priests to receive portions of the meat (Leviticus Chapter 7 verse 15).
Feasting also played a part. On this occasion the Bible had been found by the returnees from exile and read to the people. “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength” (Nehemiah Chapter 8 verse 10).
Jesus reassures us and reminds us of our primary task – “Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (St Matthew Chapter 6 verses 31/33).