British celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has made a name for himself by venturing into the darkest corners of culinary arts. Throughout his career as host of several cooking shows in the UK, Fearnley-Whittingstall has put his taste-buds to the test, eating, amongst other things, roadkill, giraffe testicles, fruit bats, and even some human placenta he whipped up as a pate. Needless to say, the TV chef has an iron stomach -- but after swearing off meat more than 5 months ago, he's wandered into controversy yet again. According to Fearnley-Whittingstall, eating puppy meat is really no different than eating pork.Fearnley-Whittingstall, who stars in the British cooking program River Cottage, has become a leading voice for the organic movement in the UK, challenging his viewers to adopt a more intimate understanding of where their food comes from. In this role, the celebrity chef has advocated for the public to incorporate more free-range meat and locally grown vegetables into their diets.
Leading in to the latest season of his cooking show, and accompanying cookbook of vegetarian recipes, Fearnley-Whittingstall has adopted a meat-free lifestyle for the past 5 months. In a recent interview with the Radio Times, as quoted by the Daily Mail, the chef noted the inherent hypocrisy most non-vegetarians display in classifying some animals as acceptable to eat while others are taboo -- namely, puppies.
In principle, but not in practice, I have no objection to a high-welfare organic puppy farm.
You can't object, unless you also object to the farming of pigs. It's an artificial construct of our society, a cultural decision, to make pets out of dogs and meat out of pigs.
Both animals could be used the other way round - although pigs probably do make better meat than dogs and dogs better pets than pigs. But it's not a foregone conclusion.
Some animal advocates, like those from the RSPCA, have taken issue with the chef's remarks, saying his "comments may seem sensible but are actually quite controversial - especially when dogs are our most popular and loved pet."
The point raised by Fearnley-Whittingstall, while conveniently aligning with the release of his new show and book, do tap into a double-standard which exists in the meat-eating, puppy-loving community -- which, I would venture to say, is most people.
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