I heard a joke on the radio today. Here it is:

“Why did the vegan cross the road?”

“To get to the other side to tell everyone they were a vegan!”

Funny? Probably not that funny, but in a crummy phone-in about the subject of veganism and whether vegans should get the same rights as religious people, it was as funny as it got.

I do not know how or why vegans should enjoy the same rights as religions people. At least vegans believe in something real, I suppose, but what next? Vegan mosques and temples? A kind of vegan sharia law?

That’s what it sounded like, I have to say. There were stories of schools forcing children to wear leather shoes, although no one could find a single example of a school that did this. (Far better to make people wear plastic shoes, I suppose, because after all we don’t have enough plastic waste these days, do we?) Even  humble bee-keepers were treated as mass murderers, as they practiced genocide on snoozing bees in midwinter by stealing their honey. (This is not what happens, by the way, but let’s not let a fact get in the way of a good rant.)

Look, as an Australian person might say. As someone who enjoys eating dead animals, I cannot pretend I am on the moral high ground. I cannot say to someone who spends their eating life wolfing down various forms of plant life that they are in the wrong. Of course, I can’t. I just don’t like being lectured. And I hate being lectured in the most patronising way.

I am absolutely sure it is possible to enjoy a meat and two veg without the meat, with the meat being replaced by another veg, making it a three veg. I once stayed with a friend in London whose wife cooked a meal to which I responded, “It would have been better with a pork chop on the side.” I was being frivolous, it must be said, and my frivolity did not go down well. I was never asked to stay again.

I could, with some effort, become a run of the mill vegetarian. At least the veggies I know don’t make a song and dance every time I sink my teeth into a bacon sarnie. I had the impression with Radio Five’s vegans that whilst they might be opposed to killing animals, they might find it less than unacceptable to kill some of meat-eaters.

Eventually, vegetarianism will become the norm, or something close to it. Scientists will invent sausages that actually taste and look like real meaty sausages and McDonalds will sell something that’s actually edible and animal free. Lecturing and hectoring will,  I’m afraid, have the effect of getting people to turn away from veganism. Giving us all better choices would be far better.