Yesterday morning, the popular Johannesburg 94.7 breakfast express show, which is a light show, chose to bring up vegetarianism/ veganism as a topic for morning ridicule. A very serious topic for a very un serious show.
I listened for a while and got increasingly angry as the presenters and callers as they laughed and mocked the choice not to eat meat. As I was about to turn off my radio they asked for a vegetarian to phone in. I did, and managed a few minutes of airtime on the subject – pro Vegan of course. The presenters, at the time, were fairly respectful, and as the show has a wide listenership, I hope my words touched someone out there.
However one minute after my call, they were back at their disrespectful banter. Here is a radio team that supports killing and the ridicule of belief systems. It’s not a radio station I will be supporting again.
I kept thinking afterwards, how these 3 or 4 radio personalities are influential, and they could really make a difference too the lives of so many animals if they chose to advocate Vegan. I was left saddened by what I heard, saw on their FB page.
Their FB page was littered with this disturbing and deeply disrespectful content…….
There were a few lone voices …..
And then there was Sone Besters letter e mailed to the team …….
Dear Breakfast Xpress Team,
As a regular listener and supporter of your show I was deeply saddened and upset by the way you handled the topic of vegetarianism this morning. I must admit, I did not listen to the whole conversation about it as I was too offended, but I did hear what you had to say from the BBQ bit up until the first listener called in.
If I was not on my way to drop my son off at school, I would have loved to call into the show to give you some much needed insight into the topic. However, because this issue is close to heart I feel it is necessary to write you an email with some information about the topic.
Did you know that a plant-based diet is not only ethical and prevents the suffering of millions of sentient animals each year, but it has an enormous impact on reducing one’s carbon footprint.
One of the arguments raised was that plants have feelings too. That was quite the willy-nilly statement to make as I have never heard of plants forming social structures, tend to its injuries like an animal, nor squirming or screaming in pain and avoiding it at all cost. Furthermore, if you look at statistics it is the meat-eater whom is actually indirectly using more plants than if you would by eating and using them directly.
“Farmed animals are fed more than 70 percent of the grains grown in the U.S. It takes 4.5 pounds of grain to make 1 pound of chicken meat and 7.3 pounds of grain to produce 1 pound of pork. Approximately 700 calories worth of feed are needed to produce just one 100-calorie piece of beef. It is more efficient and economical to eat grains and soybeans—and all the foods that can be made from them—directly rather then feeding them to farmed animals so that we can eat those animals. Around 1.4 billion people could be fed with the grain and soybeans fed to U.S. cattle alone. A 2002 E Magazine article estimated that the amount of feed needed to produce just one 8-ounce steak would fill 45 to 50 bowls with cooked cereal grains.” – http://www.peta.org/living/humane-home/pays-vegan/ It is therefore not surprising that even the UN is starting to recommend a plant-based diet, as due to excessive population growth, eating meat is becoming more and more unsustainable.
It also takes about “12 times as much land, 13 times as much fossil fuel, and 15 times as much water to produce one pound of animal protein vs. one pound of soy protein” – http://www.chooseveg.com/environment
Another argument, which I saw was posted by a supporter on your Facebook page was that we were made to eat meat and have canines for that exact purpose. The person has clearly never seen the canines on a gorilla or a hippo, both whom follow strict plant-based diets and consume no meat.
I chose to not include bloody and gory images of animals being abused and slaughtered as that is too offensive for the unsuspecting eye and I do believe that it is your own personal choice whether you want to subject yourself to such imagery. I have also found that such “shock tactics” to educate tends to do more harm than good.
Being vegetarian or vegan is not an easy decision, and as for myself, as an Afrikaans South African whom was raised on meat, meat and more meat, it is more of a sacrifice. Let’s face it, meat is yummy. However, once you become informed about the topic of animal suffering in slaughterhouses your once beloved piece of meat starts symbolizing much much more than just instant gratification. This is not always the case for everyone and for the majority, unfortunately, compassion does not become first priority. Whether this is because of not wanting to be informed as the reality is just too gruesome and upsetting, or whether you do choose to be informed, yet still choose otherwise. However, this decision should still be respected as it remains a personal choice and as such a vegetarian’s choice of his lifestyle should be respected and not ridiculed on radio by public figures whom have considerable influence on people’s perceptions and opinions.
I hope that you find the email informative and would hopefully in future approach the topic with a little more understanding and sensitivity.
I wonder if Sone will get a response to her well crafted letter?
Thank you Sone for taking the time to speak out and up for those that don’t have a voice in our society.
Regardless of wether you heard the show or not, if you would like to express your view on this matter, and let this station know this behavior is not ok, and it is an offensive view too many people out there – here is their e mail adress