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'Oh shut up, Piers Morgan': there are bigger problems in the world than veggie Percy Pigs

PUBLISHED: 10:00 06 May 2019

Percy Pig sweets from Marks and Spencer

Percy Pig sweets from Marks and Spencer

M&S

Percy Pig debate now divides the country more than Brexit: do you really want real pig in your sweets? The country has gone off its trotter, says Stacia Briggs.

It was inevitable, really, Brexit has reached saturation point and we're all so desperate to be outraged at something new that we've only just stopped short of rioting on the streets because a high-street brand has dared to stop using boiled-down pig skin in its sweets.

I refer, of course, to Percy Pig sweets from Marks & Spencer which used to contain actual pig, or rather bits of hooves and eyelid and bum skin and what-not, and now, er, don't, because they've been ruined by fun-hating militant vegetarians. Me, in other words.

Created in 1992, the two-tone pink sweets have become a staple for anyone who likes sweets that look like cartoon pigs – in 2011, a vegetarian version was created made with beeswax and pea protein (yum!) which was sold alongside the meaty version. Both co-habited in their middle-class pig pen without issue.

But last week, the store threw the nation a chewy curveball by announcing that a change to the Percy Pig recipe meant that the standard sweet is vegetarian and that from now on, there will be no gelatine in the recipe: gelatine is a colourless, flavourless substance made from raw animal materials such as skin, bones and cartilage, which makes our beeswax and pea protein look positively appealing.

Within minutes of the announcement, social media was under attack from gelatine fans claiming the new Percys tasted “like washing-up liquid”.

Professional odious gas-bag Piers Morgan declared that M&S had “completely destroyed Percy Pigs” and suggested that vegetarians and vegans should “go and get your own sweets made from kale”, you know, as opposed to meat-eaters' sweets, which are made chewy thanks to the addition of pulverised hooves and eyeballs.

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The last time I looked, there were worse things in life than choosing to eat a plant-based diet – genocide, nuclear war, inequality, disease, global warming, paper cuts to name but a few.

But people HATE vegetarians and vegans with a passion that makes me fear they're eyeing us up to go into a burger – listen, I would have to try incredibly hard to care less about whether or not there is gelatine in Percy Pigs yet somehow I have a nagging feeling that the lack of it in the new recipe is all my fault.

I can't help but feel that the veggie/vegan-bashing is a smokescreen so fans of the gelatine-based sweets don't have to think about what they're eating, although this could be because I've just proofed my daughter's philosophy dissertation and it's all about the disconnect between eating meat and eating animals, cognitive dissonance to those of us in the know (or those of us who proof philosophy essays in their spare time for larks).

In short, we like eating meat far more than the thought of eating animals and generally choose not to really think about what we eat because if we see our pork chop as a pig, or our beef as a cow, we've created a distance between our food and an animal with the ability to think and feel. I realise this argument is not for the agricultural crowd.

The founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, ate only self-slaughtered meat for a year, saying: “People forget that a living being has to die for you to eat meat.” I bet it was a right laugh going to his for dinner as he asked if you were ready to eat and then headed outside purposefully with a stun gun.

Meanwhile, hilarious pranksters are listing the original, gelatine recipe Percy Pigs on eBay for £1,000, because that's how much the nation loves connective tissue in their sweets.

As a vegetarian, can I please assure all meat eaters that I have not recently returned from a stake-out at the M&S headquarters where I, and every other vegetarian and vegan, had camped out until this momentous decision was made. I don't even like Percy Pigs, I prefer Colin Caterpillars.

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