Starting today is National Meat Free Week!
I challenge you (well the campaign does, but I like challening people) to go a week without meat, from today for 7 days.
The campaign exists to get people thinking and talking about meat, its consumption, and its production.
About 2 years ago, I would have put my hands up in surrender and said, “I could NEVER be vegetarian. I love meat. I love burgers. I love kebabs. Animals were made to be eaten.” But then the question dawned on me… what exactly am I eating? Where does it come from? Why am I so disconnected from the things I eat, the very things that sustain my life? So I got learning.
What I learnt prompted me to respond and now I’m a vegetarian who mostly stays away from milk, cheese and eggs. Everyone responds to the things they learn in different degrees, and learning about the meat industry won’t necessarily prompt you to go vego, nor is doing so the only ethical response. But if nothing else, it’s good to be connected to and understand better, the things we put in our body .
The point of cutting out meat for a week is to show you how much meat you eat. You might not notice the change. But, if you’re an average Australian meat consumer, you will be eating very differently this week. Australians consume, on average, 123.8kg of meat a year, the third biggest consumer of meat in the world. That’s about 2.4kg a week, about 4 times the recommended amount. In 50 years meat consumption has gone up exponentially worldwide… The meat industry has changed. A lot. And for the worse.
So the extreme increase in the consumption of meat is a problem for a few reasons: (the below facts are just snippets of the issue, be sure to do your own research)
1. The impact on your health
+ High consumption of red and processed meat (like bacon, ham, sausages, salami and other packaged meat such as pastrami) is associated with colon cancer3and increases the risk of type 2 diabetes.
2. The impact on the environment
+ 90 per cent of the world’s soya and over 30 per cent of the world’s grains (including wheat and corn) are used to feed farm animals. The majority of which are intensively “factory” farmed.
+ At a time when some 800 million people suffer from malnutrition, one third of the world’s cereal harvest is fed to farm animals – enough to feed almost three billion people.
3. The impact on animals
Being meat free doesn’t just mean red meat.. it means ALL meat – including chicken, ham, fish (yes even tuna) and all sea food.
Scientists and environmentalists agree that reducing meat consumption will take pressure off the planet’s resources. Animal welfare groups globally have called for an end to intensive “factory” farming practices used to meet our consumption demands.
Going without meat for one week might get you to think about how you consume meat for all the other weeks in your year. By just eating less meat, or having a few meat-free days a week, you can make a big difference to your health as well as help to lessen the damage on the environment. Alternatively you might decide to consider opting for meat and fish that is ethically and sustainably produced. Or you might want to go all out vego.
Skip meat for week, do some research and I’d love to hear what you decide to do! 🙂
Images and stats taken from
https://meatfreeweek.org/ check it out for more info.
A GREAT book to read on the whole food issue, beautifully written and researched, is Eating Animals by Jonathan Safron Foer – a great philosopher of our time!
A good film regarding the health impact of animal food products is the doco Forks over Knives (wacth in full below):