At www.consumewithcare.org we love giving a shout-out to like-minded organisations empowering consumers to vote with their wallets to create change in the way animals are raised for food. One such organization is Sustainable Table – please check them out at www.sustainabletable.org.au. Sustainable Table is, in their own words, “a young and innovative not-for-profit organisation that empowers people to use their shopping dollar to vote for a food system that is fair, humane, healthy and good for the environment.”
The Sustainable Table web-site features loads of fantastic information, resources, recipes and much, much more to help you eat and live more sustainably. They have also published two gorgeous cookbooks full of mouth-watering recipes (such as Yarra Valley salmon, holy goat cheese and chili pasta and chocolate mousse – yum!!) and inspiring stories from chefs, farmers and everyday people who have made the change to a more sustainable way of life.
We share a similar philosophy to Sustainable Table in that we believe you don’t have to be vegetarian or vegan to be ethical. By choosing higher animal welfare products (and avoiding conventional animal products) we all have the power to make a real difference. They have come up with some fantastic tips for being a Mindful Meat Eater and they have very kindly agreed to let us share them with you. Here they are:
1. Make meat a treat
Start by giving Meatless Mondays a go. Reduce the portion size of meat you use in dishes and make the humble vegetable the hero. Also reduce your dairy intake and support small artisan cheese and milk producers who farm using organic or biodynamic principles.
2. Choose more eco-friendly meats (and fish)
All types of meat have an environmental impact or ethical consequence, but there are some meats whose farming/harvesting has less of an impact than others. Learn which meats and fish are a better choice, e.g. wild-harvested meat, like wild rabbit or hare is likely to have the least environmental impact, farmed lamb and beef have the most.
3. Choose grass-fed or pasture-raised organic meat, dairy & eggs
Choose milk from organic/biodynamic farms and beef from grass (pasture)-fed over grain-fed cows, because fewer resources have gone into the feeding of these cows. Milk and meat from grass-fed animals is also more nutritious and therefore better for you.
4. Support a nose-to-tail philosophy
Choose less popular cuts of meat like neck cuts, liver, ears, and support a nose to tail philosophy. After all if an animal has to die for us, we should respect it enough to eat all of it.
5. Buy ethically-farmed meat from small organic or biodynamic farms
Small-scale farms practising organic or biodynamic methods take care to minimise their impact on the environment. Avoid factory-farmed meat. If a meat is widely available in supermarkets, it is likely to be from a large-scale or factory farm, and likely to be grain-fed, or at least finished at a feedlot. As a general rule, chickens and eggs sold in large supermarket chains under the free range label at a similar price to the conventional equivalent are unlikely to meet strict ethical standards.
6. Shop at accredited farmers’ markets
They are a great place to purchase your meat from as you can speak directly to farmers who have often chosen to raise heritage breeds in smaller quantities. You are likely to pay a little more for your meat, however, the extra cost is worth it because the taste is sensational and if you have committed to making meat a treat, you will be buying less of it anyway.
So, please do check out the Sustainable Table web-site and feel free to let us know about other like-minded organisations you’d like us to give a shout-out to in future blog posts.