I am sure most of us, when we go to the supermarket and pick up a few chicken breasts or a kilo of mince, don’t really consider what has gone on from “paddock to plate”. We don’t really know the practices within the meat industry to be able to provide so much meat for our ever growing population.
The sad thing is, the “paddock to plate” saying really should be more along the lines of “cage” or “tiny enclosure” to plate. Animals are being factory farmed using inhumane and downright cruel methods to ensure that we get our supply of meat. Factory farming is the number one cause of animal cruelty in the world today. (meatfreeweek.com)
Not only are these animals being kept in cages with no room to move, which means they suffer disease, infection & broken bones, they are also mutilated with no anaesthetic – teeth being pulled out, tails and beaks cut off, and baby male chicks are thrown into macerators at 1 day old. Mother pigs are kept constantly pregnant and when they dont produce enough piglets anymore, are killed. Dairy cows are also kept constantly pregnant so they will continue producing milk and cry out for their babies for days, having a close maternal bond with their young. Chickens get as much room as an A4 piece of paper in cages, and often gain so much weight due to the hormones that their legs break as they can’t hold themselves up.
The amount of meat that we as Australians consume is above and beyond what our bodies actually need – the recommended meat serve at a dinner meal is the size and thickness of your palm…and thats a double serve! Most of us would eat twice that much without thinking about the impact that it is having on not only our bodies, but the environment and the animals that are suffering for it.
As mentioned on the Meat Free Week website (meatfreeweek.com) 70 billion animals are being slaughtered each year to feed 7 billion people. How does that equate? We are eating and also wasting a lot more food than we even realise.
Healthy eating should not just be driven by our desire to stay in shape, we also need to really think about the impact it is having on our environment and the sustainability of our earth. What is happening isn’t natural, animals weren’t meant to be mass produced in factories with countless antibiotics and hormones to speed up their growth – this has got to be having some effect on our bodies in return.
I know that it is not something that we can stop or prevent – our ever-increasing population means food demands are higher than ever – but it is something that we as individuals can help reduce. Your individual change WILL make a difference.
Check out www.meatfreeweek.com for some meatless recipe ideas. Lets utilise our meat-free proteins more often, as well as a variety of healthy carbs and vegetables, and make a difference in some animals’ lives.