There is no denying it - as a country, and as a planet, we eat too much meat and poultry.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to do maths: we eat billions of tonnes of animal flesh a year and the amount of food needed to feed these animals is epic, which has an affect on the environment as well as our bodies. Mass production of meat and poultry goes against the welfare of the animals and the humans eating them.
Things won't be able to continue much longer in the current way.
We're not suggesting that the whole world should go vegan either. Hell no. Sure, PETA would be happy but it's not a realistic choice for most people. A wiser suggestion however is for us to eat better quality meat, less often. A £1.50 chicken from Asda, no matter how low your income, is not doing anyone any favours.
It's interesting then to see food businesses shift to meat free offerings altogether, with the most recent doing this being Pavillion Bakery. With outposts on Broadway Market, Victoria Park and Columbia Road, as well as Newquay in Cornwall, as of Monday 24th July 2017, they will no longer serve meat at any of their sites.
In a long post on Instagram explaining their decision, owner Rob stated:
" I have made a decision to stop selling meat at the Pavilion . Having debated and reduced meat products over several years I have finally decided to pull it completely and concentrate developing menus based around well sourced plant based food. I have really loved serving you all, but I feel small decisions made by many will help improve our environment and our society . I have been running the Pavilion for ten years and feel the challenge of the next ten should be focusing on reducing waste, purchasing from organic growers, understanding and using food for health through education and working with community groups we can support our beautiful diverse neighbourhood.
My decision was not made lightly and I hope you continue to visit and enjoy all the old favourites! "
Why not eh? If you're a business owner and feel that strongly and passionately about what you're serving then why not give your customers no choice in ordering meat? If what you're serving is still delicious then they'll continue coming back.
We spoke to Rob who told us:
" I've been running the Pavilion for ten years and I've attempted to stop selling meat products before but it's a huge part of the turnover. It came to a point where I didn't want to contribute any more to the suffering and bad karma of the meat industry. I believe the business is about contributing and solving problems, I want my next ten years to be filled with health and love. No meat equals a better world - that's my motivation. "
In the coming years, it will be interesting to see if more food operators will turn full-on-veggie and whether for some, it's through necessity and not choice. In the meantime, keep eating meat sure, just give your local butcher a go.
Written by Dominic Rowntree, published 20 July, 2017