Animalogy Podcast
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Vegetarians and Vegans Eat Meat: The History and Future of the Word


The word meat goes back at least as far as 731 AD, but it didn’t mean then what it does today. Its meaning was much broader. Understanding the history and evolution of the word can go a long way in normalizing plant-based meats and eschewing the derogatory qualifiers: “fake,” “faux,” “alternative,” “imitation,” “mock,” “replacement,” “analog,” or “substitute.” Words matter.

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  • greg

    This is an enlightening, helpful and excellent podcast. Along the same theme — how language reflects our values — I refer to my dog and horses, and to other folks’ non-human animals by their proper names in order to reflect that they are, and respect them as, individuals. (I occasionally refer to human children and grandchildren as “the kids” and “the grandkids,” but that is done in a lighthearted sense and sometimes I will do that with the non-human animals but I make a conscious effort to use the non-human animals’ proper names.) Note that farmers who raise animals for slaughter, often object to their children naming those animals. I know of one person, raised on a farm who would name the cows. Her father the farmer hearing her do this one day, sternly told her ‘don’t give them names’ and when she asked ‘why not?’ then and there, killed one of the cows and said ‘that’s why!’

  • “Meat” is the Old English word for “food” and persists to this day in contemporary words like “sweetmeat” and “nut meat.” Anglican priest Reverend V.A. Holmes-Gore, author of Those We Have Not Loved (a text on Christianity and animals), showed in an article appearing in World Forum in 1948 that many of the references to “meat” in the King James Version of the Bible were mistranslated from the original Greek, and should more accurately read “food,” “nourishment,” etc. Krishna devotees need to learn this point, as some are under the misconception that the words were deliberately mistranslated to read “meat” by bloodthirsty demons twisting Scripture for their own purposes.

  • Maria Theresa Garrigan

    Wow this is awesome info thanks so much.

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