I well remember sitting at a bar in Logan Airport, Boston, and watching the great cattledammerung of the mid-1990s on a flickering TV: mechanical grabbers lifting up tons of twitching steak tartare and dropping it into enormous trenches. It looked like the smorgasbord of the Devil himself. Ruminating over a few fluid ounces of Miller Lite, it occurred to me that this could well be The End. But no, because in ’01, I found myself walking across the causeway to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, shod penitently in £1,300 calf leather walking boots, while behind me a 30-mile swath of the Northumbrian coast was visible in the sunlight: the smoke from scores of death barbecues wavering up into the heavens, as once again the British cattle industry was near-annihilated.
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