Meat & Potatoes

Meat & Potatoes

© 2009 Paul C. W. Seymour
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I was talking, one day, with an old friend
About the virtues of not eating meat
But he chuckled as if I was crazy
And said “But we’ve all got to eat”

I replied “Yeah, but that’s just the trouble:
In order for you to have steak,
Ten children will die of starvation
And the hearts of their mothers will break,

“Cause the food that it takes to grow one cow
Could feed a whole suburb for days
And thousands of tons of potatoes
Could be grown where that cow needs to graze”

“But what about all of the farmers,
If they couldn’t breed cattle?” he said
“The land then, at last, would recover
And they could grow soy beans instead”

“But farming is perfectly natural
What harm does it do to the land?”
“Sahara was once a lush pasture
That sheep and goats turned into sand..

“To produce just one kilo of mutton..”
(Or two pounds, for you old-fashioned Yanks)
“Takes TEN THOUSAND litres of water..”
(That’s one thousand two gallon tanks)

“But dairy and meat manufacture
Is nearly as old as the stars…”
“Yet it liberates more greenhouse gases
Than ALL of the trucks and the cars!”

“But in order to be strong and healthy
You’ve got to eat meat, don’t you think?”
“No, you’ll die young of cancer or heartache
And meanwhile your body will stink”

He looked like he’d just been assaulted
I assured him that wasn’t the case
He said “I’ll be buggered!” and pondered
A questioning look on his face

“But why were the animals put here,
If it wasn’t for people to eat?”
I said “Well then, why were WE put here?
Were we also meant to be meat?..

“Plus, they were here long before we were
An’ we only ate fruit we picked fresh.
It wasn’t ‘til fire was discovered
That we could digest (or chew) flesh”

“Mmm, maybe so..” he responded
“But animals don’t have a soul..”
My Catholic friend had been brainwashed
By the powers that stay in control.

“So, that’s your excuse” I resounded
“You pretend that they don’t think or feel,
So then you can murder their babies
To enjoy eating lamb chops and veal..

“Cause mammals ALL feel true emotions
And fish even feel dreadful pain
And maybe they don’t think like we do
But they still have nerves and a brain”

He smirked and said “Chickens are stupid.
So surely they’re meant to be food”
“No, no they’re not really stupid
They play and they squabble and brood

“These darlings who die in their billions
Are treated like feeling-less things
And trampled and tortured or boiled alive
So you can have your ‘Wicked Wings’”

The argument went on for hours
As we topped up our glasses of wine
But I knew, though he never conceded,
That victory truly was mine

I was the one with clear conscience
He was still clouded with guilt
My view came from love and from logic
His, on tradition, was built

And I know that it won’t be long now
‘Til a new world is free of such crime
And my friend will smile and say “Thanks mate”
It’s only a matter of time.