Sunday, September 16, 2018

Tender flesh

A review of "The Myth of the Holy Cow" 

This book intends to prove that the cow wasn't always sacred within the Vedic or “Hindu” tradition. It also takes on Buddhism and Jainism. However, what I found most entertaining is that the book (inadvertently) also disproves one of the more silly myths peddled by fanatical vegetarians and vegans: the claim that Hindu and Buddhist civilizations are “vegetarian” and that Westerners can therefore stop eating meat, meat-eating apparently being a pure lifestyle choice.


This book proves that Indians have always killed animals (sometimes under ritualistic forms) and then consumed their flesh. Apart from pigs, deer, fowl, fish and the odd leopard, “holy” cows were a popular part of the diet. So popular, in fact, that the pious Buddhist emperor Ashoka never bothered prohibiting the slaughter of cattle. Ashoka himself was also an omnivore, the royal household consuming two peacocks and one deer per day…

The sacrificial killings, hunting, fishing and plain old slaughter mentioned in this book is probably enough to make every militant vegan boil over in righteous anger! Well, it seems that omnivorous eating habits aren't a social construct or lifestyle choice, after all. Animals are verily food. Deal with it. Have a steak or something.

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