Meat Free Monday Propaganda

Do you know who is associated with the latest push to ‘reduce’ Australian meat eating – ‘Do Something’/ Foodwise ‘Meat Free Mondays’?  No?  The funny thing is I doubt the high-profile Australians supporting it really do either.

Or if they do know it’s Animals Australia who are driving the campaign, they’re blind to the dark side – unaware of the absolute vitriol pouring forth from these animal rights extremists on forums, blogs, Facebook and Twitter.  And Animals Australia’s real aim.  They are not, of course, working to get us to stop eating meat on Monday.  They intend preventing us from eating meat on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and every other day ending in ‘Y’.  Animals Australia supporters want livestock farming – of all kinds – made extinct.  Many have frequently stated they wished farmers didn’t exist at all (despite the fact that like the rest of the population, few animal rights extremists grow their own food), or that they should be tortured, killed, etc.  You don’t have to wander around the internet for long to find comments along these lines.

As seems to be stock-standard, the figures quoted by Meat Free Monday promoters are vague and very obviously questionable.  But all presented well wrapped up in emotion (‘we must save the planet now’) and as immutable facts.  Unfortunately the tiny ‘contact us’ link down the bottom of the website is not working, at least not today, so it’s not possible to send a request for more detail on the figures used to support their statement that not eating meat on Mondays will ‘help the environment’ (etc).

Is it logical to argue a case for what dietary choices Australians should make, by using agricultural figures seemingly derived from world-wide statistics?   There are massive difference between livestock production systems across the world. As a generalisation; vast differences between heavily subsidised parts of Europe, feedlot-dependent USA, subsistence farming Africa, South American grasslands (most like northern Australia), family-farm intensive Asia and extensively grazed livestock on natural rangelands across most of Australia.  Basing any decisions on figures averaged across such expansive climatic, geographic and socio-economic diversity would be utterly ridiculous.  What is best environmental choice in one region may be the worst in another.

On the ‘Meat Free Monday’ promotion we are fed sweeping, completely unsupported statements such as:  “By eating less meat, we can improve our health, reduce pollution, save resources and combat world hunger.”  And we all live happily ever after!  Sounds like an excellent suggestion!  Hey wait on – how exactly will upping the intake of food from other food sources instead of meat, help the environment?  Oh dear, not sure how that’ll work?  Does other food production also require large amounts of water? Oh didn’t think to ask if that’s the case, either?  (If water use reduction was the primary aim, they’d be advocating no longer eating rice or wearing cotton clothing, surely? And no more drinking wine!)  Do native plants and animals exist amongst grain, horticultural and fruit crops, as they do amongst livestock grazed on Australia’s northern grasslands?  No?  So how will eating less meat and instead more from other food types, help Australia’s native plants and animals?

It won’t. Quite the reverse!

Somebody who is not obtaining nutrients from livestock raised on native pasture, is relying more heavily on other food production systems for their nutrition. Most of these other food production systems have far more of a negative impact on native flora and fauna.

The smartest things we can do for the environment are: 

  • Consume less (only what we really need. And not just food, everything!)
  • Eat from a wide range of sources (spread impact)
  • Eat farmed not wild harvested food (farmed produce is far more likely to be sustainable)
  • Be less demanding about purchasing only cosmetically perfect produce
  • Purchase only food in season, as much as possible
  • Avoid crops like palm oil (responsible for SE Asian rainforest decimation in recent years), unless you’re certain they came from an environmentally sustainable production system
  • Stick to permaculture principles, such as composting/recycling all food scraps (egg-laying chooks are ideal), grow what can easily be produced in a backyard (even if it’s just a couple of fruit trees or some herbs), etc.
  • Locally produced food is preferable but only when all else is equal, because produce grown in regions with unsuitable climate or soil can require levels of inputs so high (greenhouse heating or cooling; fertiliser, water, spraying for pests or weeds etc) that transportation saving benefits are negated, especially if the produce is substandard or low yielding.  It’s naturally best to buy tropical produce grown in tropical regions and temperate produce from temperate regions.
  • Buy food produced in Australia because it’s produced by some of the most efficient farmers in the world, under strict environmental and animal welfare standards.  Australia has a vast range of climatic conditions and soil types so we’re able to efficiently grow any species on the planet.
  • And – accept that large-scale farming is now required to feed what has become a huge percentage of the population, living in cities. The vast majority of whom don’t want to be growing their own food.  Support farming systems that are multi-faceted as much as possible as these tend to be systems much better for soil health than farms producing only one crop, year-in, year-out.
  • Learn about farming by talking with farmers direct; from as wide a range of specialties and regions as possible. There are vast differences between industries and locations, and unfortunately this is not widely understood. There are thousands of farmers on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn; and blogs; spread right across Australia.  All are happy to answer questions and clarify misunderstandings.  Go to a Farmer’s Market and find someone who is a hands-on grower or producer (many market stall owners are distributors not farmers, as the latter are mostly too busy for regular market attendance).  Go and stay overnight on farm stays. Watch ABC “Landline”. Doing these sorts of things can lead to a great understanding of not just how food is produced, but why farmers are farmers.

Not eating meat on Mondays will do absolutely nothing to help the environment, it’ll just make a bunch of animal rights extremists feel like they’re working towards their ultimate aim, while putting more pressure on farming monocultures which are detrimental to native species.

Doubtful? Go and walk through a favourite vegan crop – soyabeans. Then come back and tell me how many native plants and animals you’ve counted.

Over the last couple of years there’s been a raft of public figures and large companies associated with a push to ‘reduce’ meat from the diet of Australians.  Which 100% of the time have been pushed by animal rights extremists who are actually working hard – mostly behind the scenes – to totally remove meat from everyone’s menu permanently.  But rather than tackle the whole hog at once they’re chipping away piece by piece, spouting more palatable excuses to promote seemingly sensible aims. The two favourite Trojan Horses are:

  1. Health
  2. “Saving” the planet (environment)

If  “Do Something” founders and supporters were serious about improving the health of human beings and the environment they’d be publicising the work of people like Bill Mollison (Australian; Permaculture) and Joel Salatin (American;’ Polyface Farms) and  campaigning for the eradication of all cats from the Australian continent.  Anyone serious about improving Australian health would be pushing for reducing the amount of sugar-laden drinks consumed by Australians, and the ever-increasing consumption of processed foods (high in fats, salt and sugar); as it’s these dietary afflictions that are decimating Australian health and driving increasing rates of obesity, not consumption of red meat!

I can’t help wondering if the well known people who’ve jumped on the Meat Free Monday bandwagon are smart enough to understand who is in the driving seat and what the driver’s ultimate aim is.  Surely these people really aren’t so stupid that they haven’t even read what is on the ‘Foodwise’ website, and a good hard look at what Animals Australia do, before agreeing to support these organisations?  I can only conclude it’s a classic case of the Emperor’s New Clothes.  Well intentioned, but uneducated, and/or busy pushing their own little barrow.

These are the people & organisations whose names appear on the ‘Do Something- Foodwise’ website, either in quotes or by providing bios & recipes, financial support etc:

  • Jon Dee
  • Pat Cash
  • Tina Jackson
  • Olivia Newton-John (former vegetarian who now eats chicken & fish)
  • Julian Cribb
  • Arabella Forge
  • Nicole Senior
  • Maggie Beer
  • Kylie Kwong
  • Neil Perry
  • Curtis Stone
  • Luke Mangan
  • Guy Grossi
  • Simon Bryant
  • ‘Fast Ed’ Halmagyi
  • Alice Zaslavsky
  • Janella Purcell (vegetarian)
  • Martyna Candrick
  • Ross Dobson
  • Tom Kime
  • Alecia Wood
  • Dr Rosemary Stanton (vegetarian & ‘ambassador for Meat free Mondays’)
  • Judith Friedlander (vegetarian & Post grad researcher for Institute for Sustainable Futures at Sydney Uni of Technology)
  • Wendy Harmer

Plus imports:

  • Britain; Richard Branson
  • South Africa; Wally & Debbie Fry (Vegetarians & makers of imitation meat products. Family Fry Foundation even offers free $1 off vouchers for Fry supermarket products on the ‘Foodwise’ website, for meat eaters struggling to avoid the high cost of a vegetarian diet in Woollies)
  • New Zealand; Alex Mackay
  • Britain; Fuchsia Dunlop
  • Britain; Paul, Stella & Mary McCartney (vegetarian & PETA supporters)

And:

  • NSW Govt’s ‘Love food – hate waste’ campaign
  • City of Sydney Council – Green Villages project
  • The Food Safety Information Council
  • Good fish bad fish
  • The Lovacore edition
  • Green Lifestyle (publication)
  • Green pages
  • Secondbite
  • Oz Harvest
  • Foodbank
  • Greenpeace

And via the ‘Make it Possible’ Animals Australia campaign which is supporting the Meat Free Monday campaign; quotes from:

  • Pat Rafter (vegetarian)
  • Mick Molloy
  • Dave Hughes (vegetarian)
  • Missy Higgins (vegetarian & PETA supporter)
  • Rove McManus
  • Hugh Sheridan
  • Claire Hooper (vegetarian)

Do any of these people understand Animals Australia is working to a long list at the end of which is the ultimate goal of eradicating all domestic livestock?  This organisation pours massive amounts of time and money into finding fault with anyone involved in the livestock industry on a daily basis, sometimes resulting in decisions detrimental to livestock welfare, happily filming breaches rather than directly intervening, and hanging onto film footage for months to assure maximum damage to livestock industries; yet they do absolutely nothing to help on the practical front, eg when natural disasters strike.  For example, since the recent bushfires in the Gulf of Carpentaria – leaving native and domestic animals without food – no support of any kind has been offered by any animal rights organisation.  Do the supporters realise that the Animals Australia view on livestock exports is that they should cease immediately, thus finalising our ongoing work to help raise animal handling standards in other countries and leaving less caring livestock exporters in charge, and livestock from other countries unsupervised?

The Foodwise website also has a page titled ‘A word to the wise’ (on how to give up eating meat) – of course, supplied by Animals Australia.

And, ‘The Dark side of Dairy’ – of course, supplied by Animals Australia.

And, ‘Simpler steps for making kinder choices in the egg aisle’   – which is really about eating no eggs at all. Of course, ‘information’ (opinion) also supplied by Animals Australia.  The suggestion to use melted margarine in recipes instead of eggs is perhaps an indication that vegetarians are not necessarily gourmands.  But more to the point; they aren’t logical either.  This particular page is an absolute classic that indicates the real aim of Animals Australia.  Because many Australians could keep a few chooks of their own in their backyard.  They don’t need a lot of space to roam around, they keep pest populations down, eat food scraps (thus reducing what goes to the tip),  produce fertiliser and make great pets; reducing stress in adults and teaching kids about the cycle of life and responsibility.  When they die of old age or are euthanased, they’re buried under a rock in the backyard, returning to the earth and helping to produce greenery for the next generation of chooks. And so the whole cycle of life begins all over again. Absolutely perfect win/win, everyone is happy! But do Animals Australia suggest keeping backyard chooks to supply eggs rather than buying cage eggs, in support of their stated quest to prevent animal cruelty? Certainly not!  When listing the options they only recommend eating NO eggs at all.  Because Animals Australia is really about getting rid of all domestic livestock and pets altogether, NOT about living in harmony with the environment in a long-term sustainable manner.  To suggest using unhealthy oil from a genetically modified, imported plant crop grown in a monoculture absolutely devoid of native animals or plants, instead of a high-protein, nutritious egg donated by a happy chook living on grass and table scraps in someone’s backyard, really sums up the warped thinking of Animals Australia fanatics.  Along the same line as vegans recommending footwear made from petrochemicals as being preferable to shoes made from an environmentally friendly, compostable  product such as leather.

People wake up!  Animal rights extremist organisations are absolutely NOT about helping the whole planet, preserving the natural environment or sustainable living!  They wrap their campaigns in emotive images, sounds and words.  They use only facts and figures that appear to support their ultimate (but kept quiet) aim, and shout down anyone who dares to disagree with the figures used and statements made.  Get it into your thick heads!  They care about one thing and one thing only – putting certain animals on a pedestal and pretending mother nature, and cruelty in nature, doesn’t exist.  Every single animal rights group puts animals into a particular pecking order – they deem some worth bucket loads of attention, while ignoring other species completely.

Have you ever seen Animals Australia, PETA etc campaigning to protect native wildlife from Australia’s millions of cats (domestic and feral), by supporting a cat eradication campaign, or control via a disease like feline enteritis?  Or have you seen these organisations voice opposition to plans such as that of the Moreland Shire Council’s,  to release desexed feral cats back into the environment, to scoff themselves silly on native wildlife?  No.  Because cats are on a pedestal and native wildlife are deemed unworthy of a second glance.

And the above-mentioned well-known people, who I’d have thought had at least a few brains between them, have happily jumped into bed with these destructive, illogical fanatics and allowed the Foodwise website to basically be an Animals Australia promotional vehicle.

Shame on all of you!  Get out an educate yourselves about Australian agriculture – visit real farms, spread right across Australia, and talk to real farmers.  Have a long hard look at the WHOLE picture – the web of life.  Get to know farmers and you’ll discover that people farm BECAUSE THEY LOVE ANIMALS AND LOVE NATURE!  If this was not so, trust me, they’d sell up and head for an easier life in the suburbs!

And for goodness sake, why on earth support a go-vegetarian campaign whose primary supporter is a manufacturer of artificial “meat”? Spare me, if that’s not a vested interest, what is!

PS: If any of the above-mentioned people or organisations decide to remove their support for the Meat Free Monday campaign, don’t hesitate to let me know so the above list can be updated.

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