Long-time readers of TreeHugger know that meat is not just an animal welfare issue – over-consumption of animal products is leading to a significant increase in greenhouse gases, although other studies suggest that a more limited meat diet can actually be greener than vegetarianism. However, one thing that it’s hard to argue with is the idea that factory farmed meat involves some pretty inexcusable cruelty. Luckily, it looks like talk over ethical meat is heating up again, in the UK at least, with programs airing on Channel 4’s Big Food Fight season from TV chefs Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (author of the River Cottage Meat Book) and Jamie Oliver (best known for cleaning up the UK’s school dinners, and putting a wind turbine on his restaurant), both exposing the horrendous conditions endured by factory farmed chickens.
It certainly seems like their efforts are having an impact. Alison Benjamin over at the Guardian blogged on the rights and wrongs of eating meat, and confessed to giving up vegetarianism for the occasional (organic) chicken. She did, however, question why Jamie’s program focused on the budget-end of supermarket chains:
Doesn't he understand that Somerfield or even the Co-op may be nervous of losing their low-income customers if they went free-range? Shouldn't his opprobrium have been directed at those supermarkets who have no such excuse - whose shoppers wouldn't even notice a few extra pounds on their food bill?
Whatever the strategic thinking was behind Jamie and Hugh’s programs, we are delighted to see that this is now a topic of discussion on mainstream television. The more people realize the true costs of cheap meat, the more we will all see the value in good food. ::Channel 4 Big Food Fight::via The Guardian ::