I started a business. It made me want to drink copious quantities, smoke myself into oblivion and hit my head against a brick wall. Instead I wrote a blog.
Today started with an interesting discussion with my Russian aunt about the ethics of fur coats. It's one degree here in Sweden and in this weather I would normally stay safely inside toasting my feet by the fire. Since we are only October, and it's destined to get colder - remaining so until April - this would mean an extremely long haul indoors, which is clearly impossible. The Swedes say "There is no bad weather, only bad clothes" (well they have to say that don't they) which is why my boyfriend forbade me buying winter clothes prior to our arrival. Apparently the British don't have the right type of clothes for a -20 winter.
"Winter is very nice if you have a lovely fur coat." said my Russian aunt.
"Am not sure they wear fur coats here. I think they believe it's unethical." I said cautiously sitting firmly on the fence.
"I'm surprised at the Swedes", she said. "It's only unethical if it isn't a matter of survival."
"Maybe they think differently in the North." I said "Here they manage to survive pretty well with down coats."
It gave me pause for thought. Of course if I am forced to choose between my own survival and that of a rabbit, I would choose myself. The choice becomes even more cut and dried if I think of my daughter. But then I guess I would prefer to be able to eat the rabbit as well so as not to waste it. In this way, I am fine with eating steak because I also use leather for shoes, etc. It's a loose set of morals I have, but it allows me to live quite happily without examining my ethics more closely.
Coincidentally, after our trip to Ikea yesterday my boyfriend stocked up on ready meals for our unfurnished home.
"I got you lasagne." he said. "It's moose."
"I can't eat moose." I said.
"Why not? It's a wild animal who lived a lovely life happily in the Swedish forests."
"So I suppose it didn't get brutally murdered by bloodthirsty hunters then. Did it die of natural causes?"
He looked at me smiling slightly and said 'Yes, the Swedish people roam the forest looking for freshly dead old elk to put in their lasagnes.'
Of course my reasoning is completely skewed. I quite happily eat chicken reared in captivity (although always organic) which have met with just as frighteningly nasty death as any moose (plural debated - meese or mooses). It's not like the chickens are soothingly put to sleep whilst listening to Brahms.
But whilst I expected to be challenged with different cultural norms and was prepared to accept different customs (the Louisa in UK never went to IKEA), I didn't expect my own values to be so immediately challenged in the whole meat/fur area. Note to self...wait to figure out own position before jumping in and provoking controversy.
If you want a peek at the business that's driving me insane you can click here.