Pictured: Cows are mistreated in the meat industry. (Source: FreeUsePhotos via flickr).
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2067 – A Meat Oddity

Simon Amstell's mockumentary 'Carnage' sheds light on veganism

by James MacLachlan

2067 – A Meat Oddity

Veganism is becoming an increasingly popular life choice in our modern world. A few years ago, I could count the people I knew that were vegan on one hand, and now, I’d have to grow extra hands and feet just to keep up with the numbers. So, why have people, including myself, started caring about what they consume and how animals are treated? Are we evolving beyond a primal need to kill and consume other living things?

Last week, Simon Amstell released a mockumentary that explores the progression of veganism beyond the present day to the year 2067 – by which time everybody on the planet has turned vegan.

What the mock-doc does is makes the early attempts at veganism funny. Veganism can be unorthodox, yes, but it’s the right thing to do. It laughs at itself and encourages us to as well. A nineteen-seventies version of vegan cheese looks more like a slab of concrete, brown and unappetising, than the substitutes available nowadays that are better than the real thing, so how could veganism become a viable way of living? However, joking aside, it also underlines some very serious issues surrounding the meat industry. In this advanced society, the word vegan is no longer relevant: ‘We’re not vegans, we are all animals, and that’s why the idea of a meat industry is so appalling’.

A musical performance from the point of view of a cow highlights of an industry that forcibly impregnates a cow just for milk. And let’s not forget the environmental impact mass breeding cows has – methane outputs from livestock contribute more to the greenhouse effect than the carbon dioxide emitted from the billions of vehicles across the globe. ‘Stop making me pregnant. I’m not a machine, I’m a mother and my nipples they bleed. It’s my blood in your milk and there’s pus in your milk because it’s not your milk, it’s my babies’ milk. What kind of animal rapes just for milk?’

The same is true of the chicken industry – male chicks are killed at birth because they aren’t able to produce more eggs to fuel the cycle, and the female chicks progress to a life where they are forced to produce far more eggs than they should. ‘Why not have a period for breakfast? I don’t think people knew that wild hens only have ten to fifteen periods a year. Imagine being forced to have twenty times more periods than you were supposed to and then being killed for lack of periods.’ Sorry about that, but it’s the truth. If you need tissues to wipe away any tears, feel free to use the sport section at the back of the paper.

Undoubtedly, the rise of veganism in ‘Carnage’ incites a response from the humans that are not ready to make the change: ‘the carnists’, who, through political terrorism, attempt to revert the humans back to their primitive ways. Their radicalism leads to the murder of prominent activist Troye King Jones, who is killed and eaten in his own home by the ‘Great British Meat League’.

Thankfully, at present there’s very little risk to being vegan. Yes, there’s a lot of stigma surrounding the lifestyle, but with greater understanding, people can become aware of just how easy it is to become vegan.

There’s so much choice out there; it’s one of the best times to become vegan. Restaurants such as Zizzi’s and Jamie’s Italian have specific vegan menus and supermarkets like Sainsbury’s have increased their vegan product range to keep up with the demand. Milk alternatives, vegan ice cream, and Quorn allow you to substitute what you’re used to with a plant-based counterpart, and snacks like Oreos, Skittles, and Mr Kipling’s Apple and Blackcurrant Pies are already vegan, so if you’re as unhealthy as I am, you don’t even need to change. Oh, and most booze is vegan, too. (If you’re a fan of Guinness, I’m sorry. It’s not vegan.)

It’s easy to see why veganism is growing in popularity. It’s healthy and varied, it teaches us to respect our food and then be creative with it; it teaches us to respect the planet and the animals that live on it. If you’re not ready to give up meat, that’s fine too – take your time. Not everyone can go vegan overnight. Trying a meat-free alternative every now and again will reduce the stigma surrounding veganism. You can watch Simon Amstell’s ‘Carnage’ on BBC iPlayer now.

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