Food for Thought
1st March 2016
Ever thought about what goes into that tasty burger you’ve eaten? Now I’m not just talking about what meat it was, or if there was some lettuce and tomato in it, what about how the animal has been treated from birth to slaughter? What about the effect the consumption of meat and dairy is having on our environment?
Festivals such as DGTL in Amsterdam and Shambala have gone meat free, as well as football clubs like Forest Green Rovers who have replaced their burger vans for vegan food!!
But why have they done this?
Does it make any difference to our lives?
The answer to that is… YES!
- Animal agriculture is responsible for 18% of the total release of greenhouse gases worldwide. This is more than all the cars, trucks, planes and ships in the world combined!
- Two acres of rain forest are cleared each minute to raise cattle or the crops to feed them (PETA)
- A farm with 2,500 dairy cows produces the same amount of waste as a city of 411,000 people. (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2004)
- Over 70% of the worlds fish stocks are over or fully exploited (Friends of the Earth, 2016)
Consumption of meat is a major cause of environmental damage, deforestation and ocean pollution. The fact is this huge scale of meat consumption is not sustainable for our growing population!
More than 6 million animals are killed for food every hour (Oppenlander, 2013)
And, for many farmed animals there are no laws preventing animal cruelty such as those for dogs or cats. This means that many farm animals are kept in horrific conditions and treated terribly!!
Land Required to feed 1 person for 1 year:
Vegan: 1/6th acre
Vegetarian: 3 times as much as a vegan
Meat Eater: 18 times as much as a vegan (Robbins, 1987)
If events source local produce, use organic and fair trade produce, go meat free or vegan, they can spread the message to large groups of people whilst being responsible.
What can meat eaters do?
Whether you eat meat or not you can still care about animal welfare and sustainability…
Be a responsible consumer!
- Choose meat based on knowledge of where it has come from and how the animal has been treated.
- Cut down on how much meat you eat and pay more for better quality meat.
- Switch to a more plant based diet.
Buying local produce cuts down the use of fossil fuels for transportation, whilst supporting local farmers. As well as this you can buy organic produce that does not use toxic chemicals, which reduces water, soil and air pollution.
What can events do?
- Encourage the use of organic, fair trade and local produce
- Encourage free range meat and sustainable sourced fish
- Go meat free or reduce the amount of meat selling stalls
- Don’t allow people to bring their own food to events
- Make equally delicious but sustainable vegetarian and vegan meals
- Do food tastings so that people can try vegetarian/vegan foods
The Roskilde Festival in Denmark and Way Out West in Sweden have started encouraging their food stalls to use organic produce, with a large percentage doing so. As well as this ‘Way Out West’ have stopped people from bringing their own food to the festival, providing the opportunity for people to sample the alternative produce that is on offer.
Shambala festival has gone completely meat free, but is allowing people to bring their own food to the campsites. While this encourages people to eat less meat or no meat at all, it is not forced upon people and they can still eat meat if they want to.
Also, going meat-free will have a huge influence on the festivals carbon footprint.
This is a great start and if festivals and football clubs, can go meat free or vegan… so could you!
The most important and valuable tool is education and making people aware of the effect agriculture is having on our environment, health and animal welfare!
Events are a great way to spread the message to many people and encourage people to make a difference!
This isn’t about making everyone become vegan, this is to make people more aware of the effects they are having on our planet and how they could do a very small thing that could make a huge difference!
Check out World Meat Free Day – they stated that if 10 million people swapped meat for a plant based protein in just one of their meals the impact would be incredible.
By doing something very small YOU could make a huge difference to our environment and the animals that live in it… Be a responsible event manager and try and cut back on how much meat, fish and dairy products are on offer at your event or even better
…….make your event MEAT FREE!!
For more information take a look at these links:
Why not sign up to Meat Free May
Oppenlander, R A (2013) Less Meat, and Taking Baby Steps Won’t Work. Minneapolis, MN: Langdon Street.
Robbins, J (1987) Diet for a New America, StillPoint Publishing, p.352.