1 EAGLETON NOTES: A Fiver For Your Principles

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Saturday, 3 December 2016

A Fiver For Your Principles

As some of you may know I am by inclination although not in practice a vegetarian. 

As some of you may know the new Bank of England £5 note contains minute traces of tallow which is an animal product.

It now appears that a café in Cambridge is refusing to accept the notes because they will not have animal products in their establishment. ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cambridgeshire-38184599 )

Presumably, therefore, they will refuse to serve anyone wearing leather shoes, silk underwear or woolly jumpers.

How fortunate are we to have such first world problems to worry about?

34 comments:

  1. ome things can be carried too far but you can't tell some of these people that they are irrational.

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    1. Where did the capital "S" go? Or perhaps "Gn"?

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    2. That, Red, is because they don't think that they are irrational.

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  2. There are so many things to worry about in the world, that this nonsense makes me cringe. Will the Café also refuse to serve criminals, paedophiles, wife beaters, speeding motorists, etc? A miniscule amount of tallow in a banknote is the least of our problems.

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    1. Perhaps, Cro, vegetarians are not criminals, paedophiles, wife beaters, speeding motorists, etc.

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    2. Well, Meike, every day is a school day.

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  3. Yes, first world problems although in this case I would commend them for having a worthwhile principle. It's the totally self centred first world problems that get to me. Just today I read somebody complaining about a neighbour making noise while he cleaned the (shared by the complainant) common bin area

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    1. Yes Kylie I'm afraid that intolerance has reached far far beyond matters of principle into areas of personal selfishness which confound me.

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  4. Only one word comes to mind when considering the £5 rule of café proprietors is 'bonkers'

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    1. I'm sure that it's a word many would share Heron.

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  5. I read about this in today's paper...and all I have to say about it is - "How bloody ridiculous!" (Not what you wrote...but the protesting).

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    1. Well it has certainly brought the issue into the open Lee and many would agree with you.

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  6. I guess to us these are simply 'first world problems', but to the animal that has to die they might seem a little more important.

    Obviously being vegan I'm biased, but given the rise of the anti-establishment far right immigrant haters all over the globe I think that a little more empathy, whether it be for animals or people, is called for.

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    1. Helen I couldn't agree more with you about empathy or intolerance of any sort. However I think we have to accept that in the foreseeable future people are going to eat meat. That being the case there will be many parts of the animals that will be a by-product of that. One is the fat that is used to produce tallow (which is used in many things including bio-fuels) and another is leather. It would be foolish to throw away all the parts that are not used as food. Of course plastics can be used to replace leather in many situations but that raises all sorts of other issues. The point I was trying to highlight was simply that principles are principles and to highlight something like the banknote but allow all the other animal products was not wholly rational.

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    2. I know I'm in the minority here and impossible to please - I don't like the idea of paper or plastic either!

      As for using up by-products, that reminds me of when a huge pile of ivory was set fire to recently. I can understand that it seemed crazy to some as the elephants were already dead. I guess we have to find the best ways of discouraging needless harm, destruction and materialism, but I don't think that anyone really knows what they are yet.

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    3. The difference with the elephant tusks Helen is that they were not a by-product they were there simply because the elephants had been killed for them and not for any useful purpose such as food. We are fortunate to be able to choose whether we eat meat or not. In an ideal world perhaps we wouldn't kill for our food like so many creatures from microscopic parasites and insects to lions do. Nor, perhaps, would we genetically modify crops to make them resistant to weeds or to increase their yield (apart from the other reasons such as commercial profit) but even with all these things vast numbers of people die each year from starvation. Whilst we live in a 'first world' country we will consume and rape and pillage the earth's riches. Hopefully ways will be found to reduce that to a level that doesn't eventually destroy the planet but I'm not holding my breath that anyone will be prepared to give up what they have sufficiently for that to happen.

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  7. I had not heard that about your new bank notes... We're in the process of getting new bank notes (and coins) in Sweden too (some last year, some this year) but I don't think they're like yours - or if they are, they've kept the secret well! Most of the fuss here has been about whether it's worth while at all as most people nowadays pay by card or the internet or their phones anyway...
    I can only assume that café must have a very stable group of (strictly vegan) regular customers already or else they're risking their whole business by keeping that rule.

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    1. Monica the use of electronic payments is huge here too but the number of banknotes is also colossal.

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  8. Are they going to check on people's underwear or simply believe them if they say that of course it's all cotton or bamboo fibre?

    Helen does have a point, of course (two, actually). But anything that is taken to an extreme makes me wary, and this really IS taking things a bit far.

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    1. Of course, Meike, principles only go so far. In an ideal world one would also ensure that the cotton used was Fair Trade cotton and that the bamboo was from sustainable sources.

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  9. My son is now a vegan. I have no idea where Planet Vega is located in the vastness of the universe.

    There are no Inuit vegans or indeed Inuit vegetarians. It simply would not be a realistic choice in parts of the world where sealife is the only dietary route for survival.

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    1. Your son, YP, is obviously, like his father, a man of priciples: just different principles.

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  10. Just my thoughts when I heard about it. Perhaps the cafe was in need of some publicity - it's certainly got it now!!

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    1. I have to say Jenny that I tried to keep the cynic in me from thinking that.

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  11. I think this is about how we treat animals, and how we overlook their treatment and murder for our various conveniences. If there were traces of human flesh in new bank notes then production would be shut down and police investigations started... who was the half a human body that ended up in our currency, how did they die and was there any wrong doing?

    It used to be acceptable to own human slaves, or to buy ivory ornaments. Over time we progress as a species in our understanding and compassion. This is just the latest example.

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    1. To be honest Ian I think that is too simplistic and world events would not, I would humbly suggest, point to humankind becoming more understanding and compassionate. I think we stopped slavery not so much out of compassion but because of pressures from those enslaved and because economics allowed us to. I'm not sure either that your use of the word 'conveniences' is one many would accept. We grow food (be it animal or vegetable) for our needs rather than our convenience. We treat them appallingly in many cases whilst they are alive and, I agree that that has to stop as has testing on animals of things like cosmetics (which is a convenience not a need). Hopefully one day we'll be able to feed the world on mycoproteins but that won't happen in our generations.

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    2. There is evidence that we're not as selfish as we think we are. Humankind are predominately understanding and compassionate.

      "Humanity's dominant characteristic is, er, humanity".

      The economic argument to stop animal consumption is far stronger than that with slavery -
      beef production is among the most powerful causes of climate change.

      Drastically reducing meat consumption is becoming the most realistic chance of survial for humankind. Stopping eating meat can reduce your carbon footprint significantly more than quitting driving. This will only begin to happen as meat consumption becomes less socially acceptable, which is what the whole five pound note thing is really about.

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    3. I accept the economic argument Ian and always have done. I also accept the moral argument. We are not, I think, in disagreement about those things.

      I think the fact that over 100 million people died in the last century as a result of wars is prime facie evidence of man's inhumanity to man.

      The fact that the car manufacturers and most of the world accepts that petroleum products as a way of powering vehicles and providing electricity will eventually (and in the not to distant future) run out if alternatives are not found has spurred on the alternatives.

      People have not yet seen that as a consequence of eating meat. Until the economic argument becomes paramount (or first world countries start facing starvation) and until acceptable (being the operative word) alternatives to meat are found by food providers change will not, I would suggest, take place.

      After all the USA have just elected a President who refutes climate change is a result of fossil fuels so trying to get his electorate to believe that meat produces climate change is going to be a bit of an uphill struggle to say the least.

      Unfortunately in my humble opinion the 'five pound note thing' trivialises the whole argument and does it no good whatsoever.

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    4. I just realised - this is where my comment about slavery and animals as commodities came from. I haven't watched this in years, but looks like it shaped my thoughts a lot... http://gary-tv.com/ (the link was originally sent to me by CJ!).

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  12. Just one word comes to mind. SHEEEEEEEEESH.

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    1. Mrs S I can just hear you saying that.

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  13. Yes I can see the silly side of the rule.

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    1. I think, Diane, it's like many things it's a matter of principle for the café owners but one they really haven't thought through (unless Jenny's proposition is correct).

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