Livestock farmers are responsible for healthy meat and therefore healthy livestock. That cannot be taken for granted since in order to speed up the turnaround growth hormones and antibiotics are routinely used. In addition, the animals are often given polluted drinking water and the ventilation in the stalls is bad. In those circumstances the health of the livestock is at risk, making it extra vulnerable to parasites and bacteria. Because of this salmonella, in particular, has managed to acquire an infamous status.
Livestock is transported in trucks that are loaded as full as possible. That is not directly bad for our health but it is unfriendly to the animals. Animals can also suffer from stress. After transportation the slaughter follows. Hygiene is then extremely important and that is an accepted fact. Yet, human error occurs quite often. Think for example of insufficient cleansing of slaughter knives, or ignorance on how to deal with abscesses and excrement.
Mistakes occur not only through ignorance, but also because of deliberate fraud. In particular, the ‘reclassification’ of meat is popular. Waste meat suddenly becomes meat for consumption, while cheap horse meat is sold as beef. The label gives it a new origin, composition and sell-by date. Voilà: extra turnover is within reach.
Once the meat finally reaches the supermarket, the price war begins. Meat is the bait and a sharply priced special offer pays for itself. That is why the ‘cheaper by the kilo’ offers are so successful: the consumer is extremely susceptible to cheap meat. It goes without saying that this cheap meat is anything but sustainable: the less you pay, the more you lose on quality, taste and food safety.
Discussions about the meat industry quickly turn into accusations: he farmer points the finger at the supermarket, the supermarket at the consumer, the consumer at both. Remaining in an atmosphere of accusation is pointless; it’s better to take matters into your own hands. The vegetarian life prevents all the above mentioned problems in one stroke. The meat-free life is sustainable, safe and it saves money.
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