Stop Meat Commercials

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Credit: Masha Manapov

Passover, like all the religious festivals here, is a holiday of gluttony. The spiritual content (from slavery to freedom, etc.) is no more than a thin and preposterous wrapping that covers critical questions about what is or isn’t kosher to pack into our gut, amid the consumption of scandalous amounts of food – mainly meat. So maybe this is an opportunity to place on the agenda a motion whose purpose is not, heaven forbid, to put an end to the lust for meat of the chosen nation, which is stocking up energetically for the offerings of the interim days. No, the idea is to create a marginal, cosmetic effect, fraught with a seemingly moral thrust.

I propose a ban on commercials for meat products, as well as publication of meat recipes and reviews of meat dishes in food columns. My rationale, I admit, is slightly absurd, but the underlying logic is the same as that behind the ban on cigarette commercials: If it’s not possible to prevent suicide, we can at the very least prevent propaganda that encourages suicide.

Inarguably, the stoppage of commercials that recommended smoking had an effect. And how: A role model is an extraordinarily powerful motivating force. When people are no longer exposed to drooling paeans to lamb chops and rib steaks, the level of desire will certainly be moderated. If there’s no chance of preventing murder, let’s at least forbid incitement to murder.

Taking creativity a stage further, I see nothing wrong with making those abattoirs otherwise known as the “meat industry” to add to each product – like the horror warnings on cigarette packs – a photograph from one of the stations on the “Via Dolorosa” that leads the lambs and calves to the plate of the consumer – a brutal sequence of torture, involving amputation, grinding and mashing such as the devil never invented. Have no fear. For the people of virtue, that will be a trivial addition – as long as the sacrificial Passover offering is kosher.

Eyal Megged is a writer. 

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