Every time you shop, remember that your individual choices can influence the positive change of the global food production system. When it comes to meat, you can really leave your mark.
Consume less meat but of better quality. If you avoid meat from intensive farms and choose meat produced according to high welfare standards, you will already have done a lot. Increase your consumption of pulses and vegetables too.
Choose different species and breeds. Europeans consume mainly pig and poultry; the US chooses beef and the East poultry… If consumer demand concentrates on the same species, only intensive methods of production will do. Making varied choices helps take the pressure off certain types of animals.
Choose different cuts and learn to make less conventional purchases. A cow is not only made up of steaks and chickens aren’t all breasts! The concentration of demand on the same cuts leads to high levels of food waste, and all this wasted meat means… a staggering increase in the demand for new animals to be raised. Rediscovering traditional recipes will help you understand that every cut has its own specific recipe capable of using them at their best.
Distrust significantly low prices, because they are often an indication of low-quality feed, exploitation, hidden costs that impact the environment or terrible work conditions in farms and industrial slaughterhouses.
Remember that local is better. When you buy meat, always check its origin and avoid imported products.
Read labels carefully as they provide useful information on the type of meat you are eating. The Narrative Label on Slow Food Presidia products, for instance, contains a lot of useful information on the characteristics of the breed, where and how it is raised, how it is fed and slaughtered. If you don’t have time to read, ask the butcher for information on the species of animal you are buying.
Put animal welfare first. To do this, look into cooperatives and groups of farms that follow strict diet and welfare guidelines for their animals.
Don’t fill up your trolley. When buying fresh meat, limit your purchase to what you will be consuming in the short term.
Be curious. Ask your butcher for quality meat and encourage him to supply meat from high welfare farms. Allow yourself a trip to a farm, every now and then where possible. It will be useful to see how animals are raised, what they eat and at what age they are slaughtered.
Make it tasty. Eating less meat does not have to come at a cost for your taste-buds: it will be better for your health, the environment and the welfare of animals. Remember to substitute meat with seasonal and tasty foods and you won’t miss it much.
Support the work of organizations that work to affirm the need for agricultural policies that take animal welfare sufficiently into account and remember that consumers also play a political role and can make their voices heard within institutions.