Let’s get to the heart of the matter: A Swansea University researcher identified as Dr. Shareena Hamzah has suggested that, “as awareness of animal cruelty and the negative effects of raising animals for meat production” spreads, and “more people embrace vegetarianism,” common expressions like “bringing home the bacon” will vanish from the vocabulary, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
At the risk of hamming it up, that seems about as likely as one day hearing Sam Elliott proclaim, “Tofu, it’s what’s fer dinner!”
Hamzah recently held forth on this notion in a short essay at The Conversation. She referred to studies reported in The Guardian that suggest meat in the diet really isn’t good for people. That put the fat in the fire, because The Guardian story, published this past March, was a lengthy look at the controversy surrounding bacon and the use of chemicals in “processed meat.”
There were a few paragraphs on sausage, the risk of cancer and even a hint that people who consume lots of processed meat might be playing chicken with their health.
Last month, CNN reported on a proposal to tax bacon and other processed meat to “offset health care costs related to red meat consumption.” The story quoted Dr. Marco Springmann at the Nuffield Department of Population Health at Oxford University. By raising taxes, it might reduce consumption and thus reduce deaths due to chronic disease.
However, studies have a way of being contested by other studies that reach different conclusions, and eventually someone winds up eating crow. While that may be preferable to watching how they make hot dogs, it’s probably not going to steer people into veganism.
There are some people who do not eat salad, excusing themselves by stating, “That’s what food eats.” Others simply avoid red meat, choosing instead to dine on fish and chips. That is, of course, unless the fish comes from an area where there is a high mercury content.
And that doesn’t come close to dining on fish that may have been swimming down-current from the Fukushima nuclear disaster. If your salmon glows in the dark, you probably don’t want a bite.
Well, chew on this: According to The Guardian article, “In January, a new large-scale study using data from 262,195 British women suggested that consuming just 9g of bacon a day – less than a rasher (slice) – could significantly raise the risk of developing breast cancer later in life. The study’s lead author, Jill Pell from the Institute of Health and Wellbeing at Glasgow University, (said) that while it can be counterproductive to push for total abstinence, the scientific evidence suggests ‘it would be misleading’ for health authorities to set any safe dose for processed meat ‘other than zero’.”
Of course, it doesn’t help the burger-and-fries crowd when CNN announces a massive ground beef recall.
Let’s not stew over this. Let’s talk turkey. Consuming anything in excess is not good for the health. That is indisputable. But completely removing references to meat from the English lexicon?
Anybody taking on that task will have the bull by the horns.
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