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What about lions?

It’s always lions with you, Ben, isn’t it? It’s never the least weasel or the honey badger.

We’re no psychologists but we can’t help wondering why our dedicated Cluckwits compare themselves so frequently and so freely with the king of the jungle and less so with more modest creatures. Some might say they have delusions of grandeur, we couldn’t possibly comment, but maybe, just maybe there is something of a delusion of intellect.

For one thing, lions are obligate carnivores; humans are not. If you ate the way lions eat, your colon would turn to concrete if you were lucky, or you would diarrhoea yourself to death if you weren’t. For another, lions tend to put their money where their mouth is, and stalk, kill and eat their prey, whereas we would venture you’re the type of guy to pick up a plastic-wrapped bit of meat from a convenience store, which was cut from a carcass of a sick, weak, purpose-bred animal in a shed, and who was killed and butchered by someone you’ve never even met. Really, you’re just one small step away from getting someone else to eat it for you, too.

So, dear Ben, while we at VFC value all animals the same, we think it’s time to demote yourself in your own mind. It’s time to accept you are not a lion (heck, even at your most meat-centric, you are more of a robin, or a hamster or a cod) and recognise that the reasons we urge people to eat vegan simply do not apply to lions.

Lions, weasels, hamsters and cods are out there doing what they need to do to survive, so of course we don’t get mad at them. Most don’t have the opportunity to pop into a Tesco Express for a tasty vegan snack. But we do. We can live happily and healthily on a fully vegan diet, and when we make that choice, our bodies thank us for it. We’d wager there has never been a single fibre-powered vegan with an impacted colon, which is just one reason why we’re such a cheerful bunch.

But we’re not heartless, Ben, and although we have established that you are not a lion, we recognise your own affinity with them and so we want to give you a tip. If you want to help lions and other wild animals, you can do them a favour by eating more plants and less meat. Meat production demands so much more land than vegan foods require, and that land is taken from the natural world, an act of vandalism that displaces and kills wild animals. Today, African lions are reduced to living on just eight per cent of the land they once had with one key cause cited as agriculture. If we all ate vegan foods, we could reduce our land use by 75 per cent, which means there would be plenty of space for lions, weasels and honey badgers, as well as all the grown men who really should know better.

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