From paddock to plate
Matthew Evans tells DANIELLE McGRANE about his series For the Love of Meat.
Were you nervous that you’d find some elements of meat production shocking?
I wanted to know if someone who had chosen to eat meat – such as myself and most people in Australia – whether they could eat meat with a clear conscience. I guess I was prepared to be shocked because of some information that’s out there, but all that information can be considered to be pushing one agenda so I wasn’t sure if it was accurate.
Will viewers be surprised at how meat is being produced?
Yeah, I think they will. But I think what’s important is, if we want people to rear animals on our behalf, it’s incumbent on meat eaters – not vegans and vegetarians – to care more about the animals and the environment and the health impact of eating meat, because ultimately we’re the ones who are responsible.
Did you have any shocking moments in the making of this show?
Yes. I guess when you’re standing in a chicken-processing plant and they’re kill- ing 100,000 birds in a day, it drives home the scale of what they’re doing.
I didn’t walk out of there thinking, ‘I’m gagging for a roast chook dinner’ – although the owner of the factory was shocked I wasn’t interested in eating chicken for dinner.
Did it change how you consume meat generally?
Yes, it made me really conscious. I was very worried through the making of the show that I’d become the world’s biggest barbecue bore because you’re looking at meat and thinking, ‘Oh, I wonder which farm that came from?’, and, ‘I wonder in what system that was reared?’, and, ‘I wonder what the environmental consequences were?’, and, ‘I wonder if the animal got to express its natural instincts?’.
What changes have you made as a result of taking part in this series?
Making this show has made me far more conscious of moderating my meat intake. I know it’s fine to have that big, juicy T-bone, but there’s no necessity for me to eat meat three days either side of that.