Anti-meat lobbyists surely set to destroy nomadic cultures

Wednesday March 18 2020

Vegans, vegetarians, fruitarians and meat-free food evangelists have declared meat war. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP


JOMO is the latest word on the street.

The inverse being FOMO — that is, Fear of Missing Out. JOMO stands for Joy of Missing Out. I am a JOMO: my joy is on missing out on food anxiety.

Anecdotally, food anxiety seems to be the problem of the West, the land of plenty. People always become that little bit arrogant when spoilt for choice.

My view entirely. The West haven’t had it this good in decades.

Those who think famine is an African problem need to think again. Irish potato famine in the 1840s, brought on partly by potato blight, spread across Europe.

War, poverty and diseases such as scabies, TB and syphilis killed millions of people.

Fair enough, Europe put its act together and created prosperous and peaceful nations. Efforts worthy of the Nobel Peace Prize of 2012.


What I now grapple with is the rise of food radicals in the West — those who believe as pseudo-scientists they can define a way of life for the rest of us to outlive the sun.

I’m talking about vegans, vegetarians, fruitarians and meat-free food evangelists. They have declared meat war.

And to help in their war, they have been so aggressive as to recruit none other than a nomad — Mo Farah, the British athletics superstar born of the nomadic camel-herding Somali community — to advertise a meat-free protein brand.

I have never known anything as ironic! Going for dinner in the West is stressful when food sharing should be fun.

Having food to cook and eat is a blessing my grandmother always reminded me. And she should know, given the hundreds of famine situations she had experienced in the desert of Marsabit.

In the West, people will certainly start looking over their shoulder before ordering meat burgers, in case a vegan food radical behind them blew their head off.

A dinner in the West is no longer a case of sitting down at the host’s table and indulging in whatever is placed in front of you. Guests now demand what is to be served. Who invited who?


If hosts have a vegetarian, fruitarian, vegan and carnivorous (read nomad) like me for dinner, woe unto them.

Some vegans and vegetarians have become so radical that even vegan and carnivorous spoons are not to touch!

At this point, I’m very convinced Westerners are going to die of food anxiety before climate change gets them.

As I sit at a friend’s house tucking into my meaty meal nervously, all I think is whether anybody tried to ask what animal rearing means to nomads before fighting to rid the world of meat.

Campaign against meat has swept the West and a breed of food terrorists born.

Meat farmers have been attacked across Europe with France and UK bearing the brunt of vegan radicals.

French restaurants and beef farmers have had to go to court to fight for their right to indulge in meat, and so they should.

French liberte, egalite, fraternite (liberty, equality and fraternity) rights are to be upheld for meat eaters too. Bravo to meat-eating French, I say!


The whole anti-meat movement has not taken into consideration many communities around the world who draw their sense of identity from animal rearing.

Like many fads, this is another one cooked in Western kitchens with statistics only drawn from within their borders.

The campaign reminds me of the argument on IQ (intelligence quotient).

It was believed that white people had the highest IQ until it was discovered that Aboriginal children in Australia had equally high IQ based on how much of their art they could remember.

Intelligence is intelligence in any language.

My argument is that being a nomad is much more than swapping a plate of beef for a plate of kale.

It is a philosophy of life; it is religion; it is clothes on your back, your literature, your language, your food, your entertainment and stock exchange all beautifully birthed into one.

The world was stunned recently when they saw how camel herders in Marsabit wailed, mourned and sang for their dead camels.

Anti-meat campaign is against cultures that have stood for millennia. It is about tacitly intimidating people to lose their sense of identity. It is neocolonialism at its very best.


Many people lost their identities to slavery, colonialism and organised religions and now risk losing the little identity left to veggie evangelism hiding behind climate change.

Climate change is an issue. But I’m only concerned that the agenda is biased against smaller communities and countries.

Climate change actions must be measured and protective of vulnerable minorities. Before any radical solutions are considered, their risk to such communities must be carefully weighed.

The anti-meat campaign could lead to governments criminalising nomadic culture or even making it extinct.

It is also tipping the scales in favour of conservancies in northern Kenya, to the detriment of nomads.

Shrinking grazing lands for nomads by bullying them out of national parks and conservancies is a testament to the disregard given to this minority community — who now also have to contend with threats from vegan radicalism.

Ms Guyo is a legal researcher. [email protected] @kdiguyo