Meat Free Week, running from March 18-24 here in Australia, is a thoughtful new campaign aimed at, well, all of us. Don’t worry … it’s not about becoming a vegetarian or giving up meat for life. It’s about taking some time out to think about the amount of meat you eat and most importantly, where that meat comes from. Its long-term goal is to end factory farming and encourage consumption of organic and free range produce which includes other animal-sourced products such milk, cheese and eggs as well.
The campaign highlights some important (and sad) facts:
- The overwhelming majority of the meat eaten in Australia is factory farmed. The conditions are horrific; where animals are trapped, with no ability to communicate their misery and suffering.
- Factory farming disregards the fact that animals have an emotional experience of the world. It is focused only on the end result and achieving that end result, fast. As such, animals are kept in overcrowded pens and rarely or never see daylight.
- Factory farming causes the most suffering to the largest number of animals in Australia – more than 500 million every year. They have no voice, cannot defend themselves and are legally classified as ‘property’.
- While the cattle and sheep are not factory farmed in this country for their meat, there are plenty of associated welfare issues.
- If you want to know more, the Meat Free Week team has details on each of the specific animal welfare issues: chickens, pigs, cows, sheep, fish.
Now, you have the power to make a change. How?
- As a consumer, you can make a change by asking questions when eating out and voting with your food dollars when shopping for food. Choosing to buy the food the way it is supposed to be; raised naturally, free-range and organic will send a message, loud and clear, to both ethical producers and those involved in factory farming.
- Try giving up meat for one week from the 18th to 24th March and ask some friends, family, work colleagues to sponsor you for each day you go without. Or reduce the amount of meat you eat and make sure to only buy organic and free-range.
- Donate money.
I thought I’d share these with you because whether you are planning the week’s menu without meat or looking to reduce your meat consumption in general, these are great places to start: 7 plant-based proteins and how to use them at Greatist; 44 fab vegetarian recipes at Meat Free Week including some nutritional myths busted on the sidebar; 72 yummy meat-free recipes at Foodwise and Meat-Free Mondays; 38 vegetarian and 28 vegan recipes right here at Wholesome Cook, 49 vegetarian recipes over at 84th and 3rd; Loads of vegetarian recipes on offer from Trudy at Veggie num num and An all-in-one vegan resource at Plant Powered Kitchen.