I’m not writing anything this week – I’m on strike*. Instead I thought I’d share this passage from the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I read it once, many years ago. Saw the film. But never did I notice how wonderfully Douglas Adams promotes veganism, in such a non-offensive, humorous way. Offensive, humourless idiots like me could learn a lot from him about the right way to go about changing the world.
Batten down the hatches, light the fire, curl up under a blanket and sip some hot chocolate. Hygge enough for you? Good, it’s time for Douglas to take over:
A large dairy animal approached Zaphod Beeblebrox’s table,
a large fat meaty quadruped of the bovine type with
large watery eyes, small horns and what might almost have
been an ingratiating smile on its lips.
‘Good evening’, it lowed and sat back heavily on its haunches,
‘I am the main Dish of the Day. May I interest you in the parts
of my body?’
It harrumphed and gurgled a bit, wriggled its hind quarters in
to a more comfortable position and gazed peacefully at them.
Its gaze was met by looks of startled bewilderment from
Arthur and Trillian, a resigned shrug from Ford Prefect and
naked hunger from Zaphod Beeblebrox.
‘Something off the shoulder perhaps?’ suggested the animal,
‘Braised in a white wine sauce?’
‘Er, your shoulder?’ said Arthur in a horrified whisper.
‘But naturally my shoulder, sir,’ mooed the animal contentedly,
‘nobody else’s is mine to offer.’
Zaphod leapt to his feet and started prodding and feeling
the animal’s shoulder appreciatively.
‘Or the rump is very good,’ murmured the animal. ‘I’ve been
exercising it and eating plenty of grain, so there’s a lot
of good meat there.’
It gave a mellow grunt, gurgled again and started to chew
the cud. It swallowed the cud again.
‘Or a casselore of me perhaps?’ it added.
‘You mean this animal actually wants us to eat it?’ whispered
Trillian to Ford.
‘Me?’ said Ford, with a glazed look in his eyes, ‘I don’t mean
‘That’s absolutely horrible,’ exclaimed Arthur, ‘the most revolting
thing I’ve ever heard.’
‘What’s the problem Earthman?’ said Zaphod, now transfering his
attention to the animal’s enormous rump.
‘I just don’t want to eat an animal that’s standing there
inviting me to,’ said Arthur, ‘It’s heartless.’
‘Better than eating an animal that doesn’t want to be
eaten,’ said Zaphod.
‘That’s not the point,’ Arthur protested. Then he thought about it
for a moment. ‘Alright,’ he said, ‘maybe it is the point. I don’t
care, I’m not going to think about it now. I’ll just … er … I
think I’ll just have a green salad,’ he muttered.
‘May I urge you to consider my liver?’ asked the animal,
‘it must be very rich and tender by now, I’ve been force-feeding
myself for months.’
‘A green salad,’ said Arthur emphatically.
‘A green salad?’ said the animal, rolling his eyes disapprovingly
‘Are you going to tell me,’ said Arthur, ‘that I shouldn’t have
‘Well,’ said the animal, ‘I know many vegetables that are
very clear on that point. Which is why it was eventually
decided to cut through the whole tangled problem and breed
an animal that actually wanted to be eaten and was capable of
saying so clearly and distinctly. And here I am.’
It managed a very slight bow.
‘Glass of water please,’ said Arthur.
‘Look,’ said Zaphod, ‘we want to eat, we don’t want to make
a meal of the issues. Four rare steaks please, and hurry.
We haven’t eaten in five hundred and seventy-six thousand
The animal staggered to its feet. It gave a mellow gurgle.
‘A very wise choice, sir, if I may say so. Very good,’ it
said, ‘I’ll just nip off and shoot myself.’
He turned and gave a friendly wink to Arthur.
‘Don’t worry, sir,’ he said, ‘I’ll be very humane.’