"Just don't like the idea of eating animals - they show no signs of wanting to eat me."
(John Peel in an interview with the Molara website)


Vegetarianism is the practice of abstaining from the consumption of meat (red meat, poultry, seafood, and the flesh of any other animal), and may also include abstention from by-products of animal slaughter. Vegetarianism may be adopted for various reasons. Many people object to eating meat out of respect for sentient life. Such ethical motivations have been codified under various religious beliefs, as well as animal rights advocacy. Other motivations for vegetarianism are health-related, political, environmental, cultural, aesthetic, economic, or personal preference. There are variations of the diet as well: an ovo-lacto vegetarian diet includes both eggs and dairy products, an ovo-vegetarian diet includes eggs but not dairy products, and a lacto-vegetarian diet includes dairy products but not eggs. A vegan diet excludes all animal products, including eggs and dairy. Some vegans also avoid other animal products such as beeswax, leather or silk clothing, and goose-fat shoe polish.

Links To Peel

In the book Delicious Way To Earn A Living, Peel, interviewed in 1975/76, explained why he had been vegetarian:

"I got into the Love/Peace Flower Power era, like a lot of people in the glamourous world of Rock-a-Boogie. Everyone draws the line at what they're willing to kill, mine's a bit further down the evolutionary scale. I say you don't eat me, and I won't eat you." [1]

Peel was a vegetarian when John Walters began producing his programmes in the late 1960s, and later Walters explained how he had invited Peel to a well-known London vegetarian restaurant in a (successful) attempt to improve their working relationship ("I took him for a meal to Cranks where he'd get plenty of nuts..."[2])

Despite being a vegetarian, in an article in the Guardian published on 12th August 2001, Peel admitted eating occasionally fish:

"I like any sort of food because I'm a greedy bugger but I don't like the idea of eating meat. Sheila and I have been vegetarians for about 35 years (though I must admit I do occasionally eat fish) and the Brewers always have a good vegetarian option. All my four children have been militant carnivores, now two of them are vegetarian, but I think they are more spurred on by recent health scares than anything else. I can't remember my last meal at the Brewers - they do a good stuffed mushroom - there are more important things to remember, like your name and address. I'm a well-intentioned, gentle old chap but I've got a fantastically bad memory, I just forget everything." [3]

In October 2001 Peel wrote an article called WI in the Radio Times (later re-published on Olivetti Chronicles), admitting that he and Sheila ate meat when they were in Moscow, Russia about ten years ago, after some people invited them for dinner and served what Peel described as "overcooked fists":

"God knows from which of his creatures the meat had been hacked, but we knew our hosts must have gone to a lot of trouble and no little expense, so we ate with, I hope, every appearance of gusto"

In the Nineties, Peel was criticised by some for supplying the voiceover for a television advert for the Peperami pork sausage snack. In an interview, he acknowledged that he received "so much stick for that, being a vegetarian." [4]. However, this was a case of mistaken identity and he was not the voice of the advert.

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