Eat less, care more, feel good … sounds like an idea worth thinking about. That’s the slogan of “Meat Free Week 2014” and it’s starting this coming Monday 24th March. We’re being challenged to forego eating meat for just seven days. The Meat Free Week initiative aims to focus our attention on how much meat we’re eating and how that might be impacting our health and that of the environment. We also need to think about how animals are being treated in factory farms. What’s the cost to them of our unnecessarily high consumption of chicken, pork and beef? If you’re up for the challenge, join me and sign up. You can raise money for some great charities at the same time.
The Meat Free Week website tells us that in Australia, in just 90 days, we slaughtered:
- 169,000 calves
- 2.1 million cows
- 2.7 million sheep
- 145 million chickens
- 1.2 million pigs
- 5.5 million lambs
Do we really need to eat this much meat? Can we start to think about alternatives?
Mindlessly continuing to sustain our insatiable appetite for animal flesh, ignores these facts:
- “Like humans, animals are living, breathing beings able to feel joy and pleasure as well as fear, pain, sorrow and suffering”
- “Each year more than 66 billion animals are slaughtered for food to feed 7 billion people.”
- “Two out of every three farm animals in the world are now intensively ‘factory’ farmed. It is the number one cause of animal cruelty in the world today.”
- “Many animals endure mutilation with no anaesthetic, e.g. teeth being pulled out, tails and beaks sliced off.”
- “Animals raised for food are denied the same legal protection from cruelty as cats and dogs.”
Those who aren’t convinced sometimes raise the question of how it might affect farmers? Won’t cutting down on meat hurt them? And indeed that was what the NSW Farmers Federation claimed last year when they called on consumers to boycott Meat Free Week. But as the Voiceless organisation points out, Meat Free Week is not anti-farming, it’s anti-factory farming, which is the process of raising animals in intensive systems to maximise the amount of profit at huge cost to the animals’ welfare.
“The majority of animals produced for food in Australia are raised in intensive systems called factory farms.”
There are alternatives – free range animals look happier for a reason.
What you can do:
- Join the challenge – Go without meat or seafood for a week and get people to sponsor you
- Sponsor me – I’m donating funds raised to Voiceless
Charities you can support:
- Voiceless – the Animal Protection Institute
- The Australian Conservation Foundation
- Bowel Cancer Australia
Unsure how you might manage a week’s worth of meals without meat? The Meat Free Week website has a fantastic recipe resource you can use. There is also a free e-book you can download from the website Sustainable Table plus there’s zillions of meat free recipe ideas at the tip of your Googling fingers. So there’s really no excuse. All it takes is a little imagination, a bit of creativity and a willingness to give it a go.
To give you inspiration, here are a few ideas (recipes here).
And don’t forget to sponsor me!!
by Anne Green