Tuesday, 27 January 2009
Take away my meat and you're the main course.
Righteous Kerry has a swift one-liner on her blog. The NHS is to force vegetarianism on all patients. For the benefit of their health? No, because the NHS is now an organisation dedicated to combating global warming.
I remember when the NHS used to be dedicated to combating disease. Ah, the old days.
Kerry sounds pleased. She's a vegetable, you see. Oh wait, I mean vegetarian. I often get those confused, it's my age and diet to blame. Vegetarians are often pleased to hear pronouncements that we should all be like them. Without exception, these pronouncements come from vegetarians who fail to realise something important.
1. Most of us are omnivores. We eat meat and vegetation.
2. We prefer to eat herbivorous creatures because they taste better and are unlikely to have eaten something diseased.
3. Food is about to become very scarce.
4. Vegetarians are herbivores.
Well, that's the thinly-veiled threat out of the way. Although I think the RSPCA had better be careful what they do for a while. They demand that people treat their pets better than their children, and many do. Give it six months and people won't be phoning for advice on animal care. They'll be phoning for recipes.
Six months after that, vegetarians...
Although will there be any? With agriculture wasting its time and space on biofuels, vegetable foods might run out before the meat does. You can grow cows on grassland where no crops can be planted. There are sheep that live on seaweed in the northern isles. Vegetarians might soon find they have to choose between principles and lunch.
Back to the NHS. I don't know what it stands for now but the H used to mean 'health'. I see inside hospitals as part of my work. My advice? Don't go there. Don't even visit. They are no longer about health, they are about cutting costs and political point-scoring. The staff do their best but they do it despite government 'help', not because of it.
Dr David Pencheon, director of the NHS sustainable development unit, said the amount of NHS emissions meant it had to act to make cuts, and the changes would save money, which could be spent on better services for patients.
Uh... one of those services is feeding them while they're in there, surely?
I have spent most of my life working with intestinal bacteria, which is why I always get a seat to myself on the bus. There are billions of them in your gut and they develop according to what you eat. If you make a radical and sudden change to your diet, they'll go nuts and the world will drop out of your bottom until they adapt to the new diet. You will then be open to all kinds of gut infections, including Clostridium difficile. What a sensible thing for a health service to do. Take you in when you're sick and take your mind off it by handing you something else to worry about.
Changing diet should be gradual, or you get the same effect as traveller's diarrhoea. When these people get out of hospital, assuming they do, they'll go back to their old diet and experience the same thing again. If you know anyone who experiences this, please, please don't let them go back to the hospital.
As for the Notional Health Service, they are now far more concerned with emissions from chimneys than with any kind of emissions from patients. They could, of course, cut back on that massive, heated admin block populated by steak-eating Lexus drivers, but that's not going to happen.
On Tuesday, Pencheon and the NHS chief executive, David Nicholson, will publish the strategy - Saving Carbon, Improving Health - which will set targets to cut the organisation's carbon footprint, and proposals to meet them. It follows a government pledge last year to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050. The plans cover all aspects of patients' care, from building design to transport, waste, food, water and energy use.
All aspects other than admin then. Cuts in transport, waste, food, water and energy use, and no doubt more administrators to make sure the targets are met. Why not just shoot us in the ambulance on the way in? Think of the money you'd save and we wouldn't have to live on leaves and roots while we try to recover from the diseases you have in store for us. Everyone's a winner.
"If you're going to get me radical I say the default place for health is in the home, and the person who delivers it is yourself: that's the ultimate low-carbon health service," he said.
As far as I can see, it's the only safe option. No MRSA, no C. difficile, no ESBL Escherichia coli (oh, haven't heard of that one? It's been around since 1979). No sudden enforced dietary change, no nurses who don't understand that bacteria are not visible, and most of all, no admin insisting you fart less or they'll cut your food intake to compensate.
What's futile about this is that the greenhouse gases emitted by animals are emitted because they eat vegetation. If we cut out the animals and eat the vegetation ourselves, we emit the same gases. The gut bacteria do it as a consequence of what they get, which depends on what you eat. It's the bacteria, not animal they're in. It's not going to help in real life, it'll just look good on paper.
"Unless we all take effective action now, millions of people around the world will suffer hunger, water shortages and coastal flooding as the climate changes," it says.
Only if that climate change is proved to be man-made. Which it most certainly has not been. The best evidence for it, the hockey-stick graph, has been demonstrated to be fraudulent. Besides, it's a matter for climate scientists, not the NHS.
"As one of the world's largest organisations, the NHS has a national and international imperative to act in order to make a real difference and to set an important example."
No. The NHS has one reason to exist, and one only. If you're not going to do what you're paid to do, disband and shut down. The NHS is not there to forward the aims of the EU, the government, or of any aspect of science that is not directly related to the treatment and cure of patients.
If the NHS wants to promote a political agenda, they can do it without my support and most definitely without my money.
And vegetarians, listen up. You can stop me eating cows, sheep, rabbits, pigeons or chickens. You will not stop me eating meat.
You have been warned.