Featured Image : dothegreenthing.tumblr.com
We buy meat because it’s easy, it’s readily available and for the most part, it tastes good. Is it really easy? My favourite, psychologically scarring advertisement (I cannot find online after an hour of searching) used to be on television but no longer airs….probably because it was f*%@ing up too many Mummy’s and Daddy’s days as their kids cling to the bottom of their trousers pleading, “That’s not where our meat comes from, is it?” Because honestly, this ad was confronting.
It showed a middle aged, very together looking woman strolling down a grocery aisle with a flickering smile and an innocent looking shopping list. She is looking for bacon and then all of a sudden the big double doors in front of her loudly judder open leading her and her trolley into a dark, dinghy warehouse full to the brim of factory farmed pigs and piglets writhing around on the floor of tiny dirty stalls screaming, the way pigs scream, when they are distressed. This is real footage of factory farming.
Now, 13 year old Me, is very fragile (not unlike 24 year old me today) and bursts into tears with a gripping jolt of panic and urgency. Does everyone know about this? Why are we still eating meat? Quick! Let’s scream it from the rooftops, pick up the phone, write a letter…something! I don’t know how, but as far as I can remember this was my first exposure to industrialised meat products…..apart from actually eating the stuff. Up until this point, I really had believed that those twee little farms I had visited throughout my childhood, not unlike Old Macdonald’s, was as bad as it got.
Not shockingly, this ad only lasted a couple of months. Perhaps it was too real, too traumatising. People all over NZ shielding their eyes in front of their TV dinners, “Please. We are trying to eat!”. It has popped up every now and again over the years, but I can’t imagine advertisements like this doing anything good for the ‘clean, green’ image of the NZ farming industry or associated meat sales.It seems like the driving factor behind creating a poster image for the meat industry has nothing to do with good ethics, conservation or climate awareness. It is directly to do with sales and that illusive beast….the economy.
All power to you if you strictly buy fresh, locally sourced, organic, free-range/grass fed meat. Even more power to you if you traipse into the wilderness camouflaged in khaki with a hefty survival bag full of wilderness essentials, not forgetting a gun or two, and shoot yourself a wild piece of venison or pork. Some of my closest friends will often disappear for days into the bush and return back with a freezer load of freshly butchered pig. After all, up until quite recently, we as a culture depended on this instinctive, primal activity of hunting and gathering. Now, we find ourselves confronted with meat products everywhere we go. Getting our hands dirty (in the physical sense) for a meal is no longer a necessity. The sad, tormented fact is, most people just don’t consume meat the old fashioned KIY (Kill-It-Yourself) way anymore.
Despite wholeheartedly loving the Ron Swanson mentality, I don’t eat meat because I feel that the current industrialised era of food production and the idea of sustainability, just cannot go hand in hand.
I eat eggs sometimes (the real free range kind), I take cream in my coffee, I eat yogurt and I honestly don’t think my life would be worth living without cheese. Everyone is different and a lot of people are limited by their financial situation or by their dietary restrictions. I believe it is all about what works for you, while acknowledging the wider problems and doing your best to not directly contribute to them on a day to day basis. My food ethos is built around trying to reduce my consumption of meat and animal products. If I were financially stable this commitment would be much easier. At the moment I struggle with keeping my meals varied and nutritious. How many cheese and spinach toasties does it take before one turns into a giant, stringy toasted sandwich oneself? I will keep you updated.