St Bride's: News - Less Meat Lent: "It Ain't What You Do, It's The Way That You Do It"

St Bride's: News

Less Meat Lent: "It Ain't What You Do, It's The Way That You Do It"

Less Meat Lent:

This Lent, St Bride's Choir is trying to eat less meat and looking at the environmental, health, animal welfare issues involved with food production whilst trying not to just point a finger at our farmers.

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Moving towards a more plant-based diet means that when we do eat meat, it should be a quality treat.

The UK livestock industry is at the forefront of excellence in ethically-produced meat and dairy products. Buying cheap, intensively-farmed meat comes at a price to both the animals and the environment; avoiding it means making a positive environmental contribution without going fully vegetarian or vegan.

There are several ways in which you can change your buying habits to support a more sustainable meat industry, lessen the environmental impact and improve your own health to boot.

Labelling

Identifying the best products can be tough. Here are some of the labels to look out for:

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  1. Battery farming produce is bred for maximum output and profit, so try to choose smaller more ethical producers who provide animals with a natural diet, enable natural behaviour, and promote animal health and wellbeing. Avoiding battery-farmed meat also means you will consume fewer antibiotics in your meat. If you have a local butcher, ask for advice about the most ethical choices on offer.

  2. Choose meat from 'pasture-fed' animals which helps to keep more carbon in the soil. Happier animals fed on omega-3 rich grass makes for a higher quality product, which in turn is better for our health.

  3. Choose meat labelled 'certified organic' by the Soil Association. This is particularly important if you are reliant on sourcing your meat from supermarkets. As well as raising livestock using fewer chemicals, and higher welfare standards, organic animals are often fed using local and home-grown produce.

  4. Try to avoid wasting food, and in particular, start seeing meat as a precious resource, using every last scrap in your cooking. Buying the right amount of meat and dairy and not needing to throw any away helps to alleviate the problem of feeding a growing global population.

  5. Remember the meat in your meals when you eat out. It can be easy to forget to think about the provenance of meat when you're away from home. Don't be afraid to ask restaurant staff if their meat is free range and where it comes from. If you regularly buy ready meals or pre-packaged sandwiches, look out for free range or organic food options.

eating better.pngFor more in-depth advice on how to consume animal products sustainably, read the report put together by 'Eating Better', a campaign consisting of more than 50 groups such as World Wide Fund for Nature, Greenpeace, Oxfam, Friends of the Earth and the RSPCA.

Ethically produced meat and dairy undoubtably cost more than produce from battery farmed animals. But using the "less and better" approach to consuming meat means that you can still save money in the long run. Buying high quality meat from an independent butcher or local farm once or twice a week costs less than eating intensively farmed meat from the supermarket every day, and has a much lower impact on the planet.

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