Two principles drive the modern production cycle for meat: speed and scale. This demand for FAST and cheap meat comes with hidden costs to the environment, animal welfare, public health and rural livelihoods.
Without knowing how our food travels from field to fork, we lose sight of the true costs of cheap meat. Worse, as the economic prosperity fades, our appetite for cheap meat grows. We then find ourselves trapped in a culture of confinement.
We, as eaters, are confined by a narrow scope of food choices with one or two breeds dominating our plates. Animals are confined in spaces that prevent them from enjoying the Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare (View).
These freedoms, outlined by the Farm Animal Welfare Advisory Committee, form a logical and comprehensive framework for analysis of welfare within any system together with the steps and compromises necessary to safeguard and improve welfare within the proper constraints of an effective livestock industry.
1. Freedom from Hunger and Thirst
by ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigour.
2. Freedom from Discomfort
by providing an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area.
3. Freedom from Pain, Injury or Disease
by prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment.
4. Freedom to Express Normal Behaviour
by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal’s own kind.
5. Freedom from Fear and Distress
by ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering.
Similarly, the flow of money is confined in fewer and fewer hands. The result is an animal agriculture that extracts wealth and dignity from farming families in rural communities, instead of growing more of it.
We believe in SLOW Meat: Better, Less.
Eating BETTER MEAT creates:
- Improved working environment for producers and quality of life for animals
- More complex and delicious flavors
- Animal and plant diversity in the field
- Healthier local food economies
And eating LESS MEAT creates:
- Opportunities to explore the flavors of vegetables, grains, and culinary traditions from many cultures
- Resilient ecosystems, less threatened by environmental damage
- Frugality and inspiration in the kitchen
- Healthier eaters
Our five-part campaign provides a framework for eaters and food communities to learn more and take action.
Slow Meat brings together ranchers, farmers, butchers, chefs, eaters and more to share ideas on how we can turn the herd toward meat that is good, clean and fair for all. Initiated in 2014, we will reconvene in June of 2015. Stay tuned for details on this year’s event, available here in January.