Meat in the Farming Industry
As you probably know, here at eco cuisine we care deeply about our environment and ensuring the food industry is sustainable. We do everything we can to ensure that our carbon footprint is minimised and that sustainability is considered through every facet of our catering business. You can read more on what sustainability means to us here.
When it comes to the meat industry though, sustainability and ethics around farming is a somewhat controversial subject. At eco cuisine we do offer meat options on our menus but we ensure it is traditionally farmed and free range as a minimum standard.
Great British Beef Week is 23rd April – 3rd May and with this in mind we wanted to explore the subject of the meat industry in this blog post.
I read an article recently with comment around Rob Wallace’s Big Farms Make Big Flu. It is common knowledge that flu viruses spread to humans from other species like pigs, chickens and ducks (‘swine flu’ and ‘bird flu’). But, Wallace argues that despite the industry declaring ignorance on the subject of how these viruses formed and evolved, it is actually well-known exactly what was responsible in the evolution of bird and flu virus strains.
In pigs, the emergence of multiple strains of flu went ‘hoof in hoof with the reorganization of the hog industry’ (Big Farms, p.133), specifically, the move from small herds on family farms to huge herds in big corporate facilities. These massive intensive corporate farms are the ideal place for various strains of the flu virus to combine together and develop.
The gist of the article was that these large corporates around the world that have enormous factory type intensively farmed chickens and pigs are helping spread avian flu and other strains – just like humans, the close contact means it spreads very quickly. Even Ebola, which comes from fruit bats spreading the disease, comes from other corporates destroying forests for palm oil! Basically, these businesses are meddling with ecosystems for their own profit margins…
The lesson to take from this is that if we continue to treat the biosphere in this way, then new diseases will break out.
Aside from this, there are the obvious concerns about animal welfare and safety conditions that are often not met with meat that is imported to the U.K. from abroad. British meat is produced to an extremely high welfare standard and no growth-promoting hormones are allowed, which is another reason why I always encourage people to buy British. The supply chain is also clearer so you know if you are buying beef it is beef and not horse-meat for example!
Of course, some people choose not to consume meat or any animal products at all due to both ethical and environmental factors. You can read more on this here. At eco cuisine we cater to vegetarian and vegan diets and have a variety of recipes available.
I feel if local conditions and the needs of the whole eco system are considered then the answer could be as the Food Ethic’s Council say: “in producing and consuming ‘better meat’, and heading towards a more sustainable system that combines high animal welfare with good environmental performance.”
Thanks for reading,
Categorised as: Caterers