37 tennis courts every year: According to a 2014 study by the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition, that’s the environmental impact of a consumer who eats a meat-based meal every day.
This impact is estimated based on the food and water resources used for industrial livestock farms, which are responsible for most of the meat we eat, using the most land, and creating the most water and air pollution.
The current system has overwhelmed small-scale animal farmers, many of whom live and work in marginal areas, where they play an essential role in maintaining the equilibrium of the environment and preserving quality agriculture.
But what does quality mean? It’s really easy to explain!
Good livestock farming is essential to good agriculture. Farmers—and consumers—must start from this consideration in order to reflect on and rethink how livestock is reared, returning to a natural relationship with animals and the land, in order to offer quality meat to be consumed in smaller quantities, but with greater pleasure and health.
When you choose to buy quality meat, look out for farmers who follow these rules in their work:
- Farm extensively outdoors on pasture, whenever the weather allows
- Respect the animals’ natural rhythms of growth
- Prioritize hardy local breeds and preserve biodiversity
- Don’t force reproductive periods by ‘deseasonalizing’ heats
- Avoid corn silage and supplement grazing only with hay and natural and local feed, if possible grown by the farmer themselves
- Limit treatment with antibiotics, not using them preventative /systematically but only when essential to curing an animal
- Don’t mutilate their animals
- Don’t transport animals for long distances to reach the slaughterhouse and ensure that at all times the animals are spared suffering and panic
- Practice farming on a human scale, in other words with smaller dimensions, making it possible to preserve a relationship with the animals and the natural context
- Make processed products without using synthetic ingredients like artificial preservatives and other additives
Slow Food Presidia livestock farms follow strict production rules. You can find their details here. Buying their products means helping them to carry on the work they do to preserve biodiversity.
But there are many other virtuous farmers who practice quality livestock farming and respect their animals. Read some of their stories here.
Stay connected and live Slow: Meat the Change can help.
Start now by finding out how Slow you already are! LINK https://meatthechange.slowfood.com/en/
Join the movement!