Our instincts are for plants

While many people are repelled at the thought of consuming fresh meat (especially something unfamiliar such as kangaroo, rat or cat), most don’t react so negatively to any fruits and vegetables – even unfamiliar varieties. Most people would be nowhere as reluctant to try, and to enjoy, unfamiliar fruits for the first time – even something such as a star fruit from the tropics. Natural instincts cause people to be drawn to fruits and vegetables.

Viva! founder Juliet Gellatley suggests that we try the following experiment with a small child. Encourage him or her to cuddle a baby lamb, and then ask if they want to kill or eat it. You won’t be popular until you explain!

A televised social experiment in 2000 affirmed that our natural instincts are towards vegetarianism. Thirty-four TV ‘guinea pigs’ were cast away by the BBC on the island of Taransay. Rather than slaughter the animals provided for their sustenance, several of the castaways became vegetarians. This was despite the fact that one of their number was a butcher, thus sparing the rest of the team the agony of having to slit a gizzard personally!

Writes Daily Express journalist, Martin Plimmer: “The Taransay castaways, in a vain attempt to remain authentic and reasoning that it’s easier to be cruel to fish, which are cold, wet and unfluffy... decided they would up their protein intake by catching fish. However, in six months the fishing detail, led by... a man who claimed to be a keen angler, hasn’t managed to land a single catch. At least, that’s what they say, though this seems inconceivable considering Taransay is a roundabout on a fish motorway” (Daily Express, 2000).

Plimmer continues: “We are so conditioned to eating over-prepared food that most children and many adults will not eat meat or fish at all unless it arrives in balls or fingers, hidden in a pie, or in the shape of alphabet letters or Kievs...”