Can meat be ethical?
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Date: 19 April, 2005

roast beef


'Buy local, supporting local butchers, farmers' markets and farm shops.'

Suzanne Elvidge looks at where to get ethical and organic meat

I admit it. I’m a new-born carnivore — after around twenty years of being a vegetarian, I succumbed to a New Year bacon sandwich and haven’t looked back since.

It seems that I’m not alone in going back to eating meat. I have to confess, it smells good and tastes good. So, how can I balance enjoying meat with its ethics?

Omnivores or carnivores?

Meat eating goes way back in our ancestery. Googling on the internet to find out if we are naturally herbivors or omnivores brings up all kinds of irate rantings from both sides, but Desmond Morris feels that we should eat moderately from as wide a diet as possible.

Factory farming

Factory farming is grim, there’s no two ways about it. The RSPCA’s Freedom Food campain supports ethical farming. The Food Ethics Council has produced an article on the ethics of animals as food.

The alternative

Eat free range meat and eggs, and organic if you can. Gordon Ramsay’s ultimate organic feast includes organic beef from Aberdeen Angus cattle.

Buy local, supporting local butchers, farmers’ markets, local producers and farm shops.

Grow your own! You could keep chickens, ducks, geese, goats or even pigs!

Or even go vegetarian (see next month’s article).


And finally, you’ve bought your meat, now how to cook it? The Slow Food movement teaches respect for food and ingredients — ‘The Fat Duck's food takes up to 72 hours to cook. The BBC has a database of recipes, and the internet supplies recipes from Africa, India, Europe and the Americas. Good eating.


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