Thoughts on politics and life from a liberal perspective

Friday, 6 November 2015

My Show on Music Mill FM - 04/11/2015

I'll be doing these most weeks now between 8:30pm and 9:30pm on Wednesday evenings. You can listen to the station live here.

This week I speak to journalist and BBC Radio 4 Analysis presenter Jo Fidgen about the ethics of eating meat and also to the comedienne Wendy Wason about fulfilling different roles in our busy lives and how much room is left for the real us. We also try to answer the question as to why Postman Pat is so incompetent.

I have put an edited (sans music) version of the show on the House of Comments podcast feed so if you subscribe you should get it automatically.

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes here.

Other podcasting software e.g. for Android can be pointed here to subscribe.

Or you can listen to the embedded episode below here:

Any feedback welcomed in the comments below.

PS: A big thanks to Audioboom for hosting the podcast.

1 comment:

Millennium Dome said...

On the morality of eating meat issue, you raised the issue of whether there would still be millions of cows existing if we didn't farm to eat them but I thought rather quickly dismissed that.

But then you presented a utilitarian argument about how long a cow would live if it lived out its life. And you were trying to balance years of cow happiness against human happiness.

But if we didn't eat cows, with the best will in the world we'd have very many fewer cows, not least because it we're to grow a whole lot more veg and grain we'd need the land currently grazed by the cattle herd. (Not that humans competing for land with other large mammals has a good record, of course.)

So the two arguments ought to be linked. There are currently 10 million cows in the UK, about 2 million of them are dairy cows. Beef cows are sent to slaughter after about 2 years; dairy cows after about 5.

So that's 26 million "cow-years" of just being alive.

The natural lifespan of a cow being 20-25 years, that would be the equivalent of having slightly more than a million "wild" cows.

(I'll not try to judge "cow happiness" – it's not all one-sided: fewer than 20% of British cows are intensively farmed and domestication provides benefits too, e.g. available food, protection from predators, and (BSE and foot and mouth outbreaks aside) disease control.)

So the question is would (or even could) we allow a million cows to roam the UK in the wild (or as pets)?

Well, apparently there are already about 2 million deer living wild in the UK (let's just ignore whether deer and wild cows would be in competition for food), so in the end I have to concede it's not impossible.

We could eat less meat and farm better, though. George Monbiot has an interesting article on this: