MyNews24 is a user-generated section of The stories here come from users.

Comments: 38
Article views: 704
Latest Badges:

View all erasmo's badges.

Moral meat eaters

30 January 2013, 17:14

Let’s be honest, the average South African like myself will not become vegan or even semi-vegetarian overnight. Eating meat is so ingrained in our upbringing and culture that any word starting with veg already sounds like something alien and green from the East.

The fact is meat eaters can make a radical difference to the way food is produced on the planet. We are the people who can take farm animals out of factories and put them back in the fields where they belong.  We’re the ones who eat it, so we decide how meat is produced. And we do that quite simply (and indirectly of course) through the choices we make at the meat counter in the supermarket.

As a curious eater I’ve learned a few things while hunting for the next piece of moral meat. Here are my tips on how we will change food production forever. Yes, we can have farm animals living outdoors; they don’t have to be crammed into cages and warehouses as is the norm today.

·         Buy free range. No, free range is not a clever scheme to steal our money. It is the only way to force commercial farmers to move away from factory farming. Keeping animals in factories is just plain wrong. Having some space to walk outside is probably the most basic need of any living thing. We have to show the industry we don’t want factory animals in the country by not buying factory farm products.

·         Chickens and eggs. Chickens are the face of factory farming. These birds must be the animals on the planet that suffer the most from human abuse. In SA we eat 18 million chickens per week. Yes, per week! We keep on eating more per person, because factory meat is low-priced. In the last 20 years our per capita consumption of chicken has doubled. Almost all of these chickens are kept in factory conditions. We also have 25 million hens in battery cages to lay eggs for South Africa. Keeping laying hens in battery cages is illegal in the EU.

·         Free range chicken. It’s still a fraction of the huge market, but chicken meat and eggs are both quite freely available as free range in our shops. Free range for chickens means they will have had some time outside to walk, run, scratch, dust bathe etc. Supermarket chicken and eggs not specifically labelled as ‘free range’ will definitely be from a factory farm. Look for the free range label and buy that one.

·         Pigs. Pork is the one meat product that I’ve completely cut from my diet. Yes, I do miss bacon, but the SA pork industry refuses to take pigs out of cages. The industry agrees to phase out cramped sow stalls by 2020. Not soon enough! Most sows are still kept in these tiny stalls with not enough room to even turn around. Free range pork seems hard to find.

·         Sheep. If you absolutely have to have meat today, lamb or mutton is generally the safer option; 80% of sheep in the country is kept free range. So even unlabelled it is probably free range.

·         Cattle. With beef it’s more complex as only 20% of SA beef is completely free range. In other words, most of our beef comes from animals that spent some time in a feedlot to fatten up. Eat beef with care, and that goes for dairy products as well.

·         Eat less meat. Most importantly, let’s not treat animals as a quick and easy fix when we’re looking for the next protein hit. We don’t have to cut meat completely from our diet, but we can have less of it. Good quality meat is expensive and so it should be; something was killed for us to eat. If it’s inexpensive, you can be sure the animal lived a life of abuse.

Come on fellow meat eaters, if we all show the industry we want farm animals in fields and not in factories, they will supply what we want. Buy free range.

Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Thandolwethu Mene
South African ICC exit a step in ...

What is the International Criminal Court and what is its purpose? Read more...

0 comments 898 views
Submitted by
Michael Mondli Hlophe
Defeating Privilege

Many sceptics will probably read the topic and move on to the next without giving the article the time of day. Privilege is however something that needs to be addressed. Read more...

0 comments 1458 views
Submitted by
Mark Nancarrow
Why I love Cambodia’s capital

There are so many reasons to hate Cambodia’s bite sized capital of Phnom Penh. Open sewers, naked children, piles of burning garbage on every street. Its a dirty, smelly, noisy amalgam. But Phnom Penh grows on you and by the time you leave it will occupy a special place in your heart. Read more...

0 comments 309 views
Submitted by
Nkanyiso Land Tumi
Fees must fall movement is unforg...

I am very shocked to see students protesting in the presence of police as if they're criminals. Read more...

0 comments 4520 views
Submitted by
De Wet Ferreira
Put the 'heal' Back into Mental H...

We all know what do when we cut or scratch ourselves, right? Our first response, without even thinking about it, is to go for the medicine cabinet – grabbing the antiseptic ointment and a plaster or two.  Read more...

0 comments 276 views
Submitted by
Colin Harding
Western cape dams are 30% lower t...

Not to understate the seriousness of the drought that South Africa is caught up in, I am a little concerned when local government state one statistic and the DWA have a different statistic. Read more...

0 comments 1100 views


E-mail Alerts The latest headlines in your inbox

RSS feeds News delivered really simply.

Mobile News24 on your mobile or PDA

E-mail Newsletters You choose what you want

News24 on Android Get the latest from News24 on your Android device.

SMS Alerts Get breaking news stories via SMS.

TV Get us in your home, on your television.

Interactive Advertising Bureau
© 2016 All rights reserved.
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.