“I’d go vegan but I can’t give up cheese!” A statement stated by many a vegetarian and omnivore when ideas of going vegan are brought up.
Cheese may very well be the number one cause of ethical vegetarianism*. I said in a recent blog post, ethical vegetarians are like Bigfoot … they don’t exist. You’re a dietary vegetarian who drinks milk and eats eggs and cheese with no connection to what it takes to produce these foods.
Ah, cheese … wonderful cheese. The richer, the creamier, the sharper, the more rennet, the better. Rennet, as it churns out, is derived from the stomach lining of a dead calf and used in the production of cheese. Not very vegetarian. Ethical or otherwise.
This stomach lining can only be used from (obviously) slaughtered, unweaned calves since older calves stomach lining contains a higher level of pepsin. And who wants too much pepsin in their rennet? Not this guy. Suffice to say, that the production of rennet is closely related to the killing of male calves, since they are taken from their mother very early, boxed up, and killed for veal.
Rennet is technically the enzyme taken from the fourth stomach chamber of these young calves. Sounds delicious, doesn’t it? This is yet one more reason cheese should be taken off vegetarian diets. Might as well go vegan.
For me, as “bad” as the worst vegan cheese might be, and many of them are very good, I’m going to say it’s still better than a mouthful of stomach lining.
* Go vegan.