The Foodies

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07/09/2009 18:42:00

Ok so I probably ruined everyone's summer by writing a blog post at the beginning of the summer saying I was optimistic about the weather. As we are currently living in a tent the joke has rather been on me. But the last two dreadful summer holidays have been followed by two rather golden and warm Septembers, and at the risk of jinxing everything again, judging by today's weather, we might be in for three out of three.


We haven't had a great deal of excuses to BBQ this year but tonight I did bring out the pork and apple burgers from the farm shop and barbecue them with the works. It was lovely. But it put me in mind of a brilliant campaign that the RSPCA have been running this year called BBQ Source, highlighting the fact that we shouldn't forget the welfare of the animals we chuck on the barbecue.


I am a very conscientious buyer of meat. What Peter Singer called a 'Conscientious Omnivore' in his book Eating. I was vegetarian for nigh on 15 years and now I only buy from known farms or local butchers where I can ask questions about the welfare or better still see the animals.


But I have realised that ready prepared BBQ foods, that is, foods that are cut or skewered or marinated for you in advance, sort of sit in a different compartment in my brain. More than once I have stood looking at my trolley in the supermarket before a BBQ get together and realised that I have put in items without the same degree of scrutiny which I apply to 'normal' meat products. When I look properly, they are often of dubious origin and they have to go back to the shelf. Somehow the bright red marinade blinds me!

Apparently I am not alone. A recent survey conducted for the RSPCA reveals that, while over one in four shoppers actively seek higher welfare meat when doing a normal shop, this drops to just one in six when shopping for the BBQ.

“With around 93% of the population eating meat, we know that people's buying habits can have a very direct influence on how farm animals reared for meat are raised. That is why we feel it is so important that as many people as possible are informed about and encouraged to choose meat raised to higher welfare standards,” said Mel Andrews, campaign manager for the RSPCA.

The BBQ Source campaign hopes to educate shoppers about this issue but also to give them tips and advice on how to make better welfare meat affordable for the BBQ in this downloadable pdf.


So if we are lucky enough to get a couple of weeks good weather, I will be more vigilant about my BBQ sources. We do eat a lot of barbecued veggies - beetroot slices being a new favourite and courgettes an old staple. But I am always on the lookout for new ideas.


PS One thing I did find out when reading the RSPCA stuff is that the ‘Love Food Hate Waste' campaign (which sets out to encourage shoppers to make the most of the food they buy, and waste less of it) estimates that in the UK we throw away the equivalent of 33 million chickens and 3 million pigs per year. Whatever your views on eating meat, you can't help but find that degree of disrespect to the value of living creatures distasteful.


20/09/2009 15:54:00 by Sally Ryder

The statistics on meat wasted, expressed in terms of animals, are horrifying. I am not a vegetarian, but for me this puts into perspective the industrialisation of meat production and our detachment from and lack of acknowledgment of the source of our food.
Thankfully projects like The Foodies, with the emphasis on responsible and involved food production and seasonal eating will help us to educate ourselves, our children and our grandchildren into a healthier way of thinking and eating.

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