Image credit: FotoosVanRobin, used under Creative Commons license.
From farming bison to a glimpse inside a humane slaughter house, much has been made of the trend toward eating meat from more sustainably reared animals. But some new research suggests that buyers of "happy" meat can be pretty fickle depending on what meal they're buying. Does this mean they're hypocrites? Research Shows Ethical Shoppers Are Fickle
Louise Gray, environment correspondent at Britain's Telegraph newspaper, reports on new research from animal welfare charity the Royal Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), which showed more than half of 2000 shoppers questioned considered animal welfare when it comes to premium cuts like steak or pork chops, yet this figure fell to 10% when asked about buying a lunchtime sandwich.
Less Ethical Meat Choices Available
It is, in many ways, not a surprise. After all, with less intensively raised meats becoming a standard choice at many supermarkets, shoppers are given plenty of time to consider the consequences of their actions. When it comes to grabbing a sandwich at a deli or convenience store, however, we are often given less options.
This meat eating TreeHugger has always avoided meat at sandwich shops and in other convenience foods unless I know something about its providence, but even that doesn't get me off the hook. While I may raise my own chickens and buy free range eggs where possible, I can't say I always know where the dairy or egg products in my processed or pre-prepared foods come from.
For me, the key takeaway here is that shoppers are ready and willing to consider ethical questions like animal welfare and environmental impact if they are given clear choices, and provided the cost difference is not excessive. But when they are under a time crunch, or presented with limited options, they are more likely to gloss over their ethics. This may cause some to level accusations of hypocrisy, or to wish it were different, but I suspect we will achieve more by making sure shoppers are given some clear choices—including plenty of vegetarian and vegan options, as well as humanely-reared meat and dairy.
Campaign Demands Fairer Fillings
The findings have been used by the RSPCA to launch the Fairer Fillings Campaign—calling on consumers to demand a fairer, more ethical sandwich from their retailers. Of course weekday vegetarianism or taking the vegan challenge are also ways you can help make sure that lunch is cruelty free.
More on Meat Eating, Vegetarianism and Environmental Sustainability
What a Vegan World Looks Like: PETA's Infographic
A Look Inside a Humane Slaughter House (Video)
What Does a Vegan World Actually Look Like?
Why Vegans Are Welcome to Call Me a Murderer
I Don't Feel Bad for Eating Meat So Why Do I apologize For It?
Even Anthony Bourdain Says Eat Less Meat
Why Eating Guts, Brains, Feet and Genitalia is Green (Video)
The Offal Truth: Would You Eat Guts, Brains and Genitalia?
Why Graham Hill is a Weekday Vegetarian, and You Should Be Too
Vegetarian Diet Could Cut Climate Change Mitigation Costs by 70 Percent