Wednesday 21 September 2016

Cow Mechanics

I've been a vegetarian for nearly twenty years. I follow that diet which airlines refer as a Lacto-Ovo, in that I eat dairy and eggs. And honey.

Over the years I became well practised in defending my philosophy from attack by omnivores. When I began I was passionate, as time passed I became weary, and now I simply shrug and say, "It is was it is."

An experienced vegetarian develops the tools necessary to wallop improvised and insubstantial arguments skywards towards the moon. My late granny, who slipped by only earlier this year, was the only person who really gave me pause for thought. She was a Devon girl, grown on farms, as were countless generations before her. She told me of the mechanics of dairy farming, of the necessity of calving the cows to keep the milk running and of the fate of half of those calves, the male half.

Milk and cheese and yoghurt is subsidised by the trade in flesh and skin of these young bulls.

This is problematic.

In that knowledge, I still drink milk and eat cheese and yoghurt. I would consider not doing so from a dietary point of view, despite cheese being the greatest foodstuff on the planet. I could refrain, I have willpower. The problem comes in stepping out of the house. Britain is very good at providing a lacto-ovo vegetarian option, but to turn vegan is to say, hey, I can't eat with you in that cafe, pub, restaurant, and there is nothing for me in the chilled section of the petrol station. I can't step over that line.

Is there a solution?

Well, perhaps. But many of you won't like it.

What is a cow? Before humans penned them, did they exist?

As dogs were artificially bred from the wolves, so cows were domesticated from their wild bovine ancestors. Over the centuries they have been shaped into the docile oblongs of meat on legs that today we hear moo plaintively over hedgerows and wire.

This is genetic modification by selection.

Could we expand on our modification and genetically design a bred that will give birth to a disproportionate amount of cows to bulls? Nine cows to every lucky bull that will spend its rarefied life fathering nine cows to every lucky bull?

It would solve my ethical problems, at least.


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