We know know that River Cottage TV Chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has eaten some strange things in his life, but is his latest statement just a publicity stunt to promote his new book? He spent more than five months being a vegetarian for the latest series of his River Cottage TV show and has penned non-meat recipes for a new cookbook, River Cottage Veg Every Day!
Cookery Book Sales October 2011 - Infographic by Great British Chefs
Fearnley-Whittingstall has eaten placenta pate, curried fruit bat, giraffe and calf testicles in the past. Asked whether he would try loin of Labrador or cat liver, he told the Radio Times: “Not unless I was on the point of starvation. In principle, but not in practice, I have no objection to a high-welfare organic puppy farm.”
From our infographic above you can see that Hugh’s book is currently number two in the charts for cookey book sales. So, like others, we couldn’t help but wonder if his vegetarianism was a gimmick to write another book as part of a £1.9 million publishing deal. However he told Radio Times: “That money is for a series of eight or nine River Cottage handbooks, which I don’t write, so the money is shared.
“But I don’t think we’re gimmicky. I started by looking at where food came from, rearing our animals and growing our food.”
Back to the subject of puppies as food, he said “You can’t object, unless you also object to the farming of pigs. It’s an artificial construct of our society, a cultural decision, to make pets out of dogs and meat out of pigs.
“Both animals could be used the other way round, although pigs probably do make better meat than dogs and dogs better pets than pigs, but it’s not a foregone conclusion.”
Hugh, has campaigned for sustainable fish and has highlighted issues surrounding the mass production of chickens, and said: “That’s what we’re still doing. I hope we have an influence and like to think we’re driving the agenda.”
For the full story see The Press Association.
What do you think? Is this all a publicity stunt? Or should we think of it as a way of looking at how we eat meat? After all many farmers name pigs, chickens and other lifestock and almost treat them as pets before they are killed. Or has Fearnley-Whittingstall gone a step too far by suggesting that puppy farms in principle are OK? We’re discussing this over on Facebook.