Meat, health and the environment
JEAN du Toit assures us ( The Witness, May 6) that she cares about animal welfare; but she cares more that people are able to put meat on the table nearly every day. The world trend has seen chicken consumption double in the past 20 years in South Africa, shooting up to 30 kilograms per person annually between 1990 and 2010.
Health authorities say that we are eating too much meat. Thandi Puoane of the University of the Western Cape, publicly supporting Cape Town’s official launch of its one-meat-free-day-a-week initiative, pointed out that the poor end up buying cheap, fatty meat and chicken skin and fat and this puts them at risk of vascular heart disease.
It’s not just human health that is being put at risk. The impact on our planet of massive meat consumption is just as dire. South Africa is water-stressed, yet turning one chicken into meat takes an estimated 14 litres of water. Multiply this figure by the 761 million chickens that are slaughtered annually and the lake of bloody water that drains away is 29 million litres daily. This does not include the water that is required to rear the chickens or grow the crops to feed them.
Compassion in world farming promotes a humane and sustainable diet with less, better quality meat from sustainable, humane methods of animal production.
LOUISE VAN DER MERWE, Somerset West