THE ETHICAL MEAT UPROAR: HOW TO ENJOY BEEF AND STILL SLEEP AT NIGHT
More and more meat-eaters are turning to ethically raised and killed beef, reports Elizabeth Meryment
It was a show that aired for less than an hour on the ABC recently, but the Four Corners footage of Australian cattle being tortured to death in Indonesian slaughterhouses had a profound effect.
“People are still eating beef,” says Colin Holt of Sydney gourmet butchery Hudson Meats. “But they’re asking a lot more questions about it. They want to know if our beef is ethically killed.”
“We’ve noticed a big swing [towards organic meat] in the past few weeks,” says Brisbane butcher Stephen Povey of the organic butchery The Meat-ting Place.
“People are confused about what’s going on. They want to know how their meat was killed. But I can tell you, I wouldn’t sell meat that was hurt, harmed or brutalised. I’d rather not be open than sell meat like that.”
For those disturbed by the shocking treatment of Australian cattle in Indonesia, rest assured, Australian beef that is slaughtered and sold in this country is not subject to the same inhumane conditions.
“In Australia, we have the highest standards for abattoirs in the world,” Povey says. “Organic and conventional meat are killed in the same way in this country, with vets present.”
But for many consumers, knowing that all beef is ethically killed is sometimes not enough. Many are also seeking to discover the provenance of their beef so they can be sure that not only was their beef killed humanely, but the animal had some quality of life as well.
Tapping the source
“Every butcher should be interrogated [by consumers] as to the origin of their meat,” says Grant Hilliard from Sydney ethical butchery Feather and Bone. “Most of them will tell you they buy it from the abattoir, but increasingly meat arrives in anonymous pre-packed, plastic-