Have you ever wondered what a cattle auction’s like? I’m guessing the answer is ‘no’- simply because they take place in secluded places, great big halls far from our ‘normal’ life and most of us don’t know anything about their existence. So I decided to pay one of them a visit…
It’s a nice sunny day, birds are singing their hearts out and jolly people are making their way towards a big hall.
Can meat be part of a healthy diet? Do vegans miss out? Why do some go back to eating meat? What are the environmental and ethical issues? Should we eat meat?
Twelve per cent of UK adults are vegetarian or vegan, one in eight meat-eaters would like to eat less meat1 and the meat-free food market is booming. A recent report found that people become vegetarian for different reasons and this affects their commitment.2 For current vegetarians and vegans the motivation was animal welfare, feelings of disgust about meat and concern for the environment. For ex-vegetarians the motivation was health. So why is the health argument failing? It’s a combination of confusion, conflicting advice and disinformation from the £7.5 billion3 meat industry.
Apparently it is now cheese that is responsible for the French Paradox Puzzle rather than red wine! This revelation has made the headlines in the national press and of course is doing the rounds on social media. It refers to a small-scale Danish study funded by the large farmer-owned dairy company Arla Foods and the Danish Dairy Research Foundation.
For those who don’t know, the French Paradox Puzzle refers to the relatively low incidence of heart disease French people appear to have while consuming a diet comparatively rich in saturated animal fats. In other words, they suffer fewer heart attacks than people in other countries who eat the same amount of saturated fat.
The study compared urine and faecal samples from just 15 young men whose diets either contained cheese, milk or butter.
IN THE DEAD OF NIGHT
I don’t find investigating factory farms easy. It does not matter how many times I have clambered over fences in the thick of night drawing towards some ominous concrete ugliness, I always feel a sickness in the pit of my belly. It’s not just the thought of confronting what our species does to the animals inside the sheds, it’s because I’m frightened for my own safety, and the safety of my friends. I’m not that brave.
It has meant though, that I've looked into the eyes of the animals who are incarcerated. Those who have known nothing but a life of relentless, gnawing pain and utter frustration.
Viva! virtually destroyed the trade in ‘exotic’ meats in Britain 15 years ago, as many of you will remember. Supermarkets tripped over themselves to clear their shelves of dead wildlife but unfortunately, one of them has again raised the spectre of wildlife being put up for sale. We are determined to fight it so it is back into action once more.
Lidl have periodically tried to sell kangaroo meat for short periods, but our campaigning has stopped it from becoming a regular line.
Chickens have long been maligned as ‘stupid’ animals; scientists, however, now say that chickens are smart with advanced thinking skills – able to plan ahead, communicate precise information and feel empathy.
By Juliet Gellatley, founder & director, Viva! (BSc Zoology).
It’s become a national sport to trash politicians but Kerry McCarthy shows that conscience and concern are still alive and that honour is not dead.
Tony Wardle talks to Kerry McCarthy, vegan Labour MP for Bristol East
Viva! team Juliet Gellatley, Andy Cox, Rhiannon Buck, Veronika Charvatova, Ash George and Rose Alexander are mad! Mad about animals and saving our natural world! They are risking the freezing cold waters of Lake Windermere in the Lake District to raise funds for Viva!’s campaigns. Despite being scared and well out of their comfort zone they have vowed to swim a mile on Sunday, June 24, 2012, as part of the British Gas Great North Swim.