Another bigmouth strikes again…

… this time the bloke who review cars for a living weighs in with his opinion about vegetarianism and the environment.

Via the Sunday Times:

Save the planet, eat a vegan
June 3, 2007/Jeremy Clarkson

“Good news. It seems that your car and your fondness for sunken light bulbs in every alcove are not warming up the planet after all.

In fact, according to new research, power stations and transport produce lots of carbon dioxide, but in addition they also produce lots of aerosols that, in the short term at least, help keep the planet as cool as a deodorant model’s armpits.

Clarkson getting pied at Oxford Brookes in 2005So who has come up with this new theory? Some half-crazed nitwit with a motoring show to protect? George Bush? A bloke in the pub? No. In fact it comes from an organisation called EarthSave, which is run and funded, so far as I can tell, by the usual array of free-range communists and fair trade hippies.

The facts it produces, however, are intriguing. Methane, which pours from a cow’s bottom on an industrial scale every few minutes, is 21 times more powerful as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. And as a result, farmed animals are doing more damage to the climate than all the world’s transport and power stations put together.

What’s more, demand for beef means more and more of the world’s forests are being chopped down, and more and more pressure is being put on our water supplies.

Plainly, then, EarthSave is encouraging us to go into the countryside at the first possible opportunity and lay waste to anything with more than one stomach. Maybe it wants me to shoot my donkeys. Happily what it’s actually saying is that you can keep your car and your walk-in fridge, but you’ve got to stop eating meat.

In fact you’ve got to stop eating all forms of animal products. No more milk. No more cheese. And if it can be proven that bees fart, then no more honey either. You’ve got to become a vegan.

Now of course if you don’t like the taste of meat, then it’s perfectly reasonable to become a vegetablist. It’s why people who don’t like, say, John Prescott become Conservatives. But becoming a vegan? Short of being paraded on the internet while wearing a fluffy pink tutu, I can think of nothing I’d like less….

Eating a plate of food that contains no animal product of any kind marks you down as a squirrel. Eating only vegetables is like deciding to talk using only consonants. You need vowels or you make no sense.

Of course there are certain weeds I like very much. Cauliflower and leeks particularly. But these are an accompaniment to food, useful only for filling up the plate and absorbing the gravy. The idea of eating only a cauliflower, without even so much as a cheese sauce, fills me with dread.

There are wider implications, too. Let us imagine that the world decided today to abandon its appetite for sausage rolls, joints of beef and meat-infused Mars bars. What effect would this have on the countryside?

Where now you find fields full of grazing cows and truffling pigs, there would be what exactly?

Hardcore vegetablists like to imagine that the land would be returned to the indigenous species, that you could go for a walk without a farmer shooting your dog, and that you’d see all manner of pretty flowers and lots of jolly new creatures. Wolves, for instance.

In fact if animal farmers were driven away, the land would be divided up in two ways. Some would be given over to the growing of potatoes – the ugliest crop in Christendom – and the rest would be bought by rock stars. Either way, Janet Street-Porter and her ridiculous gaggle of ramblers in their noisy clothes and stupid hats would still get short shrift.

What’s more, there’d be no grassland because there’d be no animals to graze. And there’d be no woods either because without pheasants what’s the point? I’m sure EarthSave dreams of a land as pristine as nature intended but it’d be no such thing. Within about three weeks Britain would look like Saskatchewan.

So plainly the best thing we can do if we want to save the world, preserve the English countryside and keep on eating meat, is to work out a way that animals can be made to produce less methane…

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