<a href="http://www.greenlifestylemag.com.au/blogs/julie#">Green challenges</a>

Green challenges

Thinking global and acting local, Julie Grundy takes on any challenge we throw at her.

Another reason to eat less meat

Sow crates

Credit: AnimalsAustralia.org, with permission

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As well as the environmental concerns with meat, there are several ethical issues to factor in as well.

Have you thought about how we treat the animals we eat?

I've been doing some research on the way we farm our animals. In Australia, we still allow battery-farming for chickens, and sow-crates for pigs. But other countries like Switzerland, Sweden and Finland have banned them for years.

In Australia we have traditionally kept our cows in pastures. But even now there is a trend towards keeping them in industrial feedlots - I'm sure this is cheaper for the business, but it's pretty horrible for the cows.

I don't think that this kind of cruelty is necessary, and I can see why people go vegetarian full-time because of it. If you want to act to stop these sorts of horrible farming practices, there are lots of great groups you can join.

  • Voiceless is an Australian fund for animal welfare
  • the RSPCA has several campaigns against cruelty towards farm animals
  • Animals Australia has the Save Babe and Save Betty campaigns that you can support as well.

You can also refuse to eat meat unless it has come from a sustainably-managed farm: look for free-range eggs, chicken and pork. I only buy chicken from Mt Barker now, since that's the only free-range brand available where I shop. Have a look around at your supermarket and butcher to find out what you can replace your usual brand with.

I can also get lamb from a farmer who has a stall at the Mt Claremont farmers' markets - he invites people to visit his farm so we can see how he runs things. This kind of transparency is good for everyone.

I'm starting week 2 of the vegetarian challenge today. I'm going to have meat-free lunches this week, which should be quite easy: I've got some pumpkin soup and minestrone ready to bring in to work on some days, to eat with bread rolls, because the weather is still pretty cool here in Perth. I'll be getting salad sandwiches on the other days.

How are you doing with the challenge? Do you think it will lead to a long-term change for you?