Where would we be without DNA testing? Otherwise who knows what might be lurking under your tomato sauce. Possibly dead cow, mad cow, lame horse or pickled panda. God forbid, it might even be tofu, tempeh or gluten.
Back in the early 1980s, long before cheap and easy DNA testing, Australia resorted to a Royal Commission into the meat industry to try and resolve the scandalous pollution of dead cattle with dead horse and dead kangaroo in domestic and export meat.
The US recently had its “downer cattle” scandal and now Europe has had headline stories for a week over horse meat. Undercover cruelty footage in slaughterhouses and factory farms is pretty common everywhere and seems to disappear like sketches on a beach at low tide, but mislabel carcinogenic horse as carcinogenic beef and all hell breaks loose.
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It’s Monday, so I can tell you what Richard Branson is having for dinner. Well probably not exactly, but one thing is for sure, it won’t be meat. Why? Because it’s Meat Free Monday and he’s one of the faces of the iniative being run by Do Something! and the Frys Family Foundation, that encourages everyone to spend at least one day of the week not eating meat.
Wait – please keep reading. This is not a rant against eating meat. Meat is good and yummy but as Rosemary Stanton tells The Punch, the planet would be better off if we all just cut back how much of it we are eating, by just one day.
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There are two reasons to eat less meat: its consumption is causing environmental problems and it’s bad for our health.
Last year, at a restaurant in Sydney’s inner city suburb of Surry Hills, my friend announced that she had become a part-time vegetarian. As we passed her the tofu stir-fry, we mocked her decision to only to eat meat on weekends. It seemed half-hearted, flippant, and token.
However, her reasons were compelling. Full-time vegetarianism felt too extreme, but part-time was a doable compromise that would have some positive impact. We could mock her, but it was more than we were doing. Imagine the difference we could make to the environment if we all cut down on meat consumption.
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Barnaby Joyce objected with characteristic sophistication to Peter Singer getting the nation’s top honour last week, the Companion of the Order of Australia. Various letters appeared defending Singer on following days, but all talked of his moral philosophy and honours without touching on his environmental insight which was well ahead of its time.
Back in 1990, in the second edition of Animal Liberation, Singer wrote that forests and meat animals compete for land and then outlined the contribution of deforestation to global warming and wildlife loss. He described the imperative for reforestation to avoid the worst of both.
In the two decades since those prescient words, while mainsteam environmentalists were busy with BBQ fundraisers to raise money to campaign on such pressing matters as plastic bags or disposable nappies, the Queenland cattle industry deforested another 7.8 million hectares. Globally, cattle have increased by 130 million to over 1.4 billion weighing more than the human population.
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Welcome to this week’s I Call Bullshit, a weekly look at bollocks and balderdash, spin and pseudoscience. This week’s bullshit just lobbed into my inbox this morning, so it’s FRESH!
It’s nut-free peanut butter. Yes, it’s the nut world’s I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter.
An increasing number of kids are inexplicably becoming deadly allergic to more things – particularly nuts. Meanwhile the number of hypochondriac adults who think being allergic to stuff makes them appear more youthful is skyrocketing.
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“If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian.” So goes a rather weary old dog of a proverb attributed to Paul McCartney.
Admittedly, his sentiment makes me as misty-eyed as the next idealist softie. But in light of the latest abattoir cruelty scandal, I need to have a quiet word with Paul.
“Glass walls” don’t come much clearer than the hidden footage uncovered by the ABC and subsequently splattered across our news last week. You don’t exactly need Windex to see inside the pure barbarism of NSW’s Hawkesbury Valley Meat Processors.
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Wildlife harvesting advocate Professor Mike Archer AM has been geeing up the anti-vegetarian ork armies with an article putting the boot in for ‘hypocrisy’ over mice. The pesky little critters erupt into sizable plagues in grain growing areas every few years and Archer thereby accused vegetarians of having the “worst possible” diet in terms of suffering and sustainability.
What not to do when it comes to a sustainable diet
During the robust online debate following his article, Archer produced the following visionary statement on Australia’s food production future:
“In fact (sorry to sound insensitive), but we should not be consuming Australia unsustainably as we are now to feed 50 million people overseas in addition to the rapidly expanding Australian population. It’s a great short-term strategy to make more money and feel we done [sic] our bit to feed the starving millions overseas, but it makes us contributors to the exacerbating global problem of overpopulation rather than part of the solution. If we could just manage Australia sustainably, that would be the beginning of a rational approach to land-use and set a good example for the rest of the world.”
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I am not a vegetarian. But I’m trying to be one because the killing of animals bothers me.
As a city-bred child the first time I saw an animal being slaughtered was while seeing the film Apocalypse Now, and I had trouble coping with watching something die. “At what exact point did its life end?”, I remember thinking.
It was the final scene in the Cambodian jungle, the setting for insanity and hell, when the poor cow was hacked gradually to death by a slight man with a machete. The initial impact was a mere tap. The cow wobbles a little, its legs faltering. The second and third strikes open up the back of its neck revealing the spine and a translucent red, and the legs give way to the huge dying mass above them.
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@mooks83 sophisticated response. Think the kids parents saw it differently
More class from 9's footy show, lampooning a baby that allegedly looks like Sterlo with a pic swiped from Facebook http://t.co/BGoYP6Pn68
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