Today there is a different level of consciousness when it comes to food consumption and our food chain. Even though we are more removed from seeing how meat and animal products are produced, there is a greater movement towards veganism and more plant-based diets. Throughout history, and in some areas today, how people produce animals and animal products for consumption has and is treated with much more care and ethics. I believe that the more we tried to produce animals and animal products for consumption to cater to such a mass audience and at a low cost, is when many people started to see the negative circumstances and detrimental results of doing this. By this I mean the inhumane conditions which animals are confined to, the outcome of having such a high number of animals alive for consumption impacting the environment and the health impacts of consuming as much meat and animal products as many of us do today.
I understand that many people argue that we have consumed animals for centuries, protest about their need for specific nutrients and protein or say “it is just the food chain and the way things are done"; which I generally think is a lazy argument. As I mentioned, there have been recent changes in the production of meat and animal products increasing the amount of antibiotics and harmful additives pumped into meat and animal products and changes to the way animals are held and treated at mass producing farms. So, it is not the way things have always been done. I think as humans many of us have a fractured relationship with animals, which is why some of these contradicting behaviours and opinions occur. In certain instances some people will go to the ends of the earth to defend meat eating and in other instances when there are animals in our care the same people will show extreme affection and love towards them; sometimes even going the extra mile and show better care to the animals than they would to humans.
I watched an episode of a TV show on SBS called ‘Insight’ which explored the topic of meat and animal product consumption. There was a chef on the episode who was part of the discussion. He mainly discussed that from his perspective, in the Western world, there is so much waste when it comes to food. He continued to argue that if anything we should focus on being more conscious of this waste and be educated and encouraged to make use of the whole animal.
What I generally take away from the meat vs no meat debate is to be more conscious and change the way we consume and grow animals and animal products, and work towards consuming more of the animal and savouring it. How I generally consume meat and animal products is by choosing providers which source from organic and genuine free-range farmers. I believe that by reverting to previous forms of meat and animal product production, there will be reduced environmental degradation, enhanced ethics in the way we treat animals and improved health. I believe in veganism and I also believe in significantly reducing the amount of meat and animal product consumption.