Why I visited an abattoir

I think some of you noticed on my social media outpourings recently that I visited an abattoir in Tamworth. I want to explain why. And how. And what I came away with. For it was a deeply emotional and BIG LIFE thing to do on a sodden Friday afternoon. I hope I can fairly reflect it all here.

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I’m a spokesperson for the beef and lamb industry’s Target100 program, charged with sharing information about sustainable beef and lamb consumption. And before we kick off:

This is a paid role. But my opinions in this blog are my own. And I should highlight that I approached the organisation myself – for information – in the first instance.

For those wondering, this is how I work when it comes to being paid for things.

This topic – meat eating and sustainability – matters massively to me. And I’ve been on a mission to get my head around the issues and the challenges that we all face – whether we eat meat or not.

So why go see an abattoir?

Because I want to make sure I really get what’s going on. If I’m going to rant on the topic, I have to see the full picture. This is where the world is at: we want transparency (because a troll or two will trip us up if we deliver anything but).

The Target100 crew asked if I’d like to see how the whole meat production picture works here in Australia. I said, “Right up I do”. And so we headed to Tamworth. To visit breeders (the Sprys farm), feedlots (where a lot of our supermarket meat comes from), the paddock-to-plate restaurant Graze (this place is worth a stop-off if you’re in the area…they grow, butcher and age their own meat and really know how to grill a rib eye steak), and the Teys Australia abattoir – or processing plant as they prefer to be called.
I can tell you, I’ve never seen anything like it.

Eat meat? Then you must explore.

If you eat meat, it’s unconscionable not to explore where it comes from.
Equally if you don’t eat meat. For a vegan diet also relies on meat. Where do you think the fertilizer comes from to feed your soy and grains?

As a relevant aside, my food philosophy is squarely about sustainability.

We can care about organic v local v grain-fed v pasture-fed v farmer’s market-selected v supermarket-bought. But really, the discussion we need to have is about sustainability – both of the planet and its food systems, and ourselves. Because the reality is there simply ain’t enough food – meat or otherwise – to feed us all. I’ve spoken to

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