Saturday, November 29, 2008


In order to win over meat-eaters to the vegetarian cause, many vegetarian meals are designed to look exactly like their bovine, porcine, and equine counterparts. For example, most veggieburgers have the appearance and texture of beefburgers. Similarly, veggie frankfurters are virtually indistinguishable from the genuine article. They even approximate the taste, unfortunately.

This is all very laudable and no doubt helps ease the transition towards a totally herbivorous lifestyle. Why, though, is all this effort directed solely at proselytising carnivores? Why is nothing done to help those vegetarians - possibly an equal number - who are trying to kick the habit and become meat-eaters?

In my opinion, scientists should direct their attentions towards breeding strains of cattle that look like cucumbers and carrots. Then, aspiring carnivores would feel less guilty and/or nauseous about consuming them. Indeed, as long as the cucumber didn't moo as it was sliced, people probably wouldn't notice the difference. Only when they bit into it would they realise it was meat, and not vegetable, but by then they'd have committed themselves. In time, they would be able to leave such pretence behind and tuck, guiltlessly, into a genuine fillet steak.

Of course, there is always the risk that a specially bred bull-cucumber might get loose, infiltrate the supermarket greengrocery section, and shag a genuine cucumber. If he came from a BSE infected strain, he could pass on the infection. Then people could catch Kreutzfeld-Jacob disease from their salads.

By the same token, however, the existence of bull-cucumbers would be a boon to farmers plagued by trespassers. To frighten off such people, they currently have to put "Beware of the Bull" posters in their fields. But, with the advent of the hybrids, they needn't need go to the expense of having a real bull in the field any more. They could just put a cucumber in there, and no-one would know the difference

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