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Photo: Alice Snedden’s Bad News
Photo: Alice Snedden’s Bad News

Pop CultureOctober 5, 2022

A meat-eater takes a look in the mirror

Photo: Alice Snedden’s Bad News
Photo: Alice Snedden’s Bad News

Ever since Alice Snedden got a dog she has been plagued by the moral question – is it OK to love one animal while eating countless others?

When you give it any real thought, meat throws up a lot of moral dilemmas. Can you really eat cow for dinner then going to sleep with a dog in your bed? Must we either give up meat or give up on being a good person? Besides, cows, chickens and sheep must have a lovely life in Aotearoa, right? 

In the latest episode of Alice Snedden’s Bad News, the comedian chats to the owner of vegan fast food chain Lord of the Fries, Bruce Craig, about her dilemma. She loves meat, she loves the taste of it and she loves the process of preparing and cooking it. But she also loves her dog, so why would she draw a line at cooking and eating him? Craig answers her question with another question: “Who do you want to be on the planet?” 

Like most of us, Snedden is interested in being a good person, so she heads to meet Craig Johnson, professor of veterinary neurophysiology and animal welfare science. He eats meat – although increasingly less and less – but ensures that any animal he consumes has lived a good life. For example, beef and lamb in Aotearoa generally have better welfare than chickens as they are at least stunned prior to slaughter and not kept in as problematic living conditions. 

However, that doesn’t mean it’s all sunny paddocks for cows and sheep. Vegan comedian Tom Sainsbury grew up on a dairy farm, and remembers the wail of the milking mother cows when their calves were taken away to slaughter. Because while we’re looking at meat, perhaps we need to also examine our relationship with milk, cheese and eggs? And where do fish come into all of this? What about pigs? And what does Avatar director James Cameron have to do with all of this? 

If, like Alice, you consider yourself “city girl oblivious” to the realities of food production, but don’t want to endure graphic videos of animal abuse to rethink your consumption, this is the episode for you.

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