Meat – to eat or not to eat

Rossa responds to my statement: “I buy free range eggs but as for the chicken I eat – how can I know if it was cooped up chickens? And if it is – and it’s likely to be – then what can we eat?”

And how would you know if it was slaughtered under the Halal code with its throat slit open so it can bleed to death?

Short of “growing your own” whether veg or chickens there is no way to know the true provenance of the food we eat. I try to buy meat that is responsibly grown but the labelling system is very confusing and from what I know of it, labels can be applied to food that hasn’t complied with the rules in full. i.e. meat from abroad labelled as British if it has just been packaged over here.

Growing my own veg is more expensive than buying it. That isn’t why I do it. It is only so we know how it has been grown and the fact that no chemicals were used (as far as I know). I’d love to have the space for chickens, a couple of sheep and a pig or two but I’m not in a position to do so. I’ve looked into the schemes where you can pay a local farmer to “grow” a sheep or pig for you but the cost is prohibitive at the moment. Also i don’t have a freezer large enough to take all the butchered meat. I suppose one way would be to get a group of people together to share the cost, but then you’d have to decide who got which bits later.

There was an interesting segment on Jeremy Vine’s show yesterday with a debate on whether or not people should buy meat offered to them “under the counter” so to speak. Apparently you have to get a proper licensed professional to slaughter your animal and can only give it to others. You can’t sell it, as that is illegal. If you shoot game you can only sell to a butcher with a game licence.

The usual stuff was trotted out about disease and not killing something that might still have antibiotics in it’s flesh etc.Clearly there is a difference between wild meat/game and stolen farmed meat. I guess most people wouldn’t know the difference and could be easily conned. I haven’t bought any myself though I have been given a wild rabbit or two over the years.

This is all connected with the increase in sheep rustling. On Countryfile Sunday evening they did a piece on the increase in Turkeys and other birds being stolen. One farmer has lost £18,000 worth of birds in the last few years and is now having to give up. He can’t get insurance to cover it and the cost of security is prohibitive. He only had 67 Turkeys but somehow a gang got into the shed and stole the lot. At £100 a piece for a Norfolk Bronze it is a lucrative crime.

19 comments for “Meat – to eat or not to eat

  1. December 8, 2010 at 20:20

    OT : But Felicity Kendal in a mans shirt and Jennifer Aniston in maids outfit on the same page, it’s a bit much for this old ticker to stand. esp for a Wednesday

  2. Lord Nazh
    December 8, 2010 at 20:31

    Personally I try to buy food that is good to eat … I’ll let someone else decide if I’m ‘moral’ about it or not heh

  3. Rossa
    December 8, 2010 at 20:50

    Well at least it is not as bad as in the US where Congress has just passed the legislation prohibiting small growers from selling their produce outside of a 250 mile radius. That may sound a lot but with the distances their food has to travel that is essentially in their backyard. It seems only the large agri-businesses will be allowed to produce (and ration) the nation’s food at some point.

    And with reports that Monsanto has re-started trials with their GM wheat that has already failed disastrously in India then starvation will stalk (pardon the pun) the land. With 50m now on food stamps it doesn’t bear thinking about.

    There is even a move to ban dust. Yes, dust from a farmer’s tractor. It is to be classed as a pollutant just as CO2 in the US is to be classed in the same way. So stop breathing out all that pollutant you dust creating farmers you!

    Almost as bad were the new neighbours to my uncle’s farm complaining about the dandelion clocks and the wind that blew the seeds into their garden. They wanted him to put up fans to blow the seeds back into the fields…I’m not joking. Maybe one reason he is no longer a farmer if that’s the sort of ignorance they’re faced with. Oh and he was even asked to stop the cows from mooing…too noisy when they wanted a lie in on a Sunday morning.

  4. December 8, 2010 at 21:29

    PC – yes, I does get the blood flowing. FC is quite a lady.

    M’lud – T bone steak, eh?

    Rossa – ban dust! Love it.

  5. Lord Nazh
    December 8, 2010 at 21:40

    Sirloin or Ribeye please 🙂

  6. Patrick Harris
    December 8, 2010 at 22:46

    Whether true, or not, I was told the story of a city couple who, living “wild” in the week-end country cottage, complained to the farmer next door that the sheep were bleating and spoiling their sleep.
    The farmer arranged to meet them later at the gate to the sheep field, they duly met and the farmer had a shotgun with him, “would you mind pointing to the sheep that was doing all the bleating?, not wanting to seem silly the woman pointed to the culprit, the farmer marched over, grabbed the sheep, brought it back to the gate and in front of the couple let it have both barrels to the head. When the man had stopped vomitting and his wife had stopped screaming the farmer threw the sheep over his shoulder and told the couple not to hesitate in telling him if a sheep once again spoiled their sleep, apparently he never heard from them again.

  7. December 9, 2010 at 10:55

    How do you know the eggs you buy are free range eggs?

    Personally, I’m all for better treatment of animals but the fact is that people are not prepared to pay the difference between chickens from battery chicken farms and free range chicken farms.

    Same with food. It is nice knowing that it has not been grown with chemicals but you have to consider that farming with all these chemicals is what is feeding the world. Our species is growing and these advances are what is keeping them fed. If goverments got out of the way there would be significantly less starving people in the world.

    This free range and sustainable fad is for rich countries only and is in itself unsustainable. There just isn’t enough space to go around especially since we are now growing fuel as well as food.

    We need radical new ways to get food grown in countries that currently can’t sustain themselves. We need to reverse rules that let people starve because we, while fully fed in the western countries, don’t want them using chemicals and tie aid to their obedience to our rules.

    In the meantime enjoy your sustainable free range chickens and chemical free veg. It will soon become even more expensive than it is now.

  8. fake
    December 9, 2010 at 12:03

    **but the fact is that people are not prepared to pay the difference between chickens from battery chicken farms and free range chicken farms.**

    Sigh, people and their “facts”.

    There are these things called supermarkets, you should try going to one. Look in the egg section and you will see quite a large selection of free range eggs as well as battery eggs.

    **We need radical new ways to get food grown in countries that currently can’t sustain themselves.**

    That they can’t sustain themselves is due to political and not agriculural problems.

  9. December 9, 2010 at 14:59

    Sigh, people and their ‘facts’

    The fact is I said chickens. That was for a reason. Eggs are dropped daily by chickens and many have chickens at home.I’m looking at doing it myself.

    Chickens on the other hands need much more space. Much more time and effort and thus cost so much more. Look in the chicken section and you will find significantly less free range. In fact in many supermarkets it is in the fad section if it exists.

    Sorry I didn’t make myself clear on the foreign food. I agree that it is politicians that are screwing it all up. I’m now convinced it is delibrate and the sooner they all get strung up the better for the world as a whole.

  10. Rossa
    December 9, 2010 at 15:19

    Lord T. One of the main things making food more expensive is the amount of food wasted. With a lot of people blindly following the best before or use by date and chucking out any food regardless of whether or not it is fit to eat.

    At least with growing my own I can pick just what I need for one meal and I’m also not fighting my way through layers of useless packaging. So cost is relative as I don’t incur the additional costs created in the “manufacture” of my food.

    Anyone watching the news reports on the sprout harvest being under threat from the weather freezing and damaging the sprouts may have seen a small point made by one farmer. He has to grade all his sprouts by size. If a sprout is the wrong size, shape or has a slight mark it is binned. At least he did say they got plowed back into the fields but how much food is wasted in this way that is perfectly eatable?

    This constant demand from the supermarkets for conformity to unrealistic standards fuels a lot of this. Anyone remember the EU regulating the amount of curve that was to be allowed on a banana or cucumber?

    There is more than enough food in the world to feed everyone and no-one should be starving. It is not just governments it is the corporate agribusinesses (chemical and GM), manufacturers and supermarkets that have increased food prices, all with a view to their bottom line.

    Food prices are also manipulated as commodities with stockpiles being held to drive scarcity and prices up. Until these vested interests are removed or their practices restricted we will continue to have this iniquitous situation.

  11. Bill
    December 9, 2010 at 15:52

    Labelling is deliberately confusing. It is designed to be confusing because clarity would put some large agro-businesses out of business.

    There is indeed more than enough food in the world to feed everyone but there are people in this world whose only desire is to control as many people as possible and they manipulate food and water supplies accordingly.

    I feel that there is a pressure building in this country that once of sufficient force will blow the lid off all manner of human control including food and water and will take the liblabcon and their EU masters with them.
    The more I read the more I am heartened to see individuals and small groups waking up. I have no idea at when the balance will be tipped but it’s moving.

  12. Rossa
    December 9, 2010 at 17:01
  13. Rossa
    December 9, 2010 at 17:22

    Agreed Bill. Let’s hope it happens before the West concedes control to the UN under the guise of global warming, disruption, biodiversity or whatever the current term is. I always believed the EU was just the warm up comedian before the main act.

    Something like this perhaps:

    If this was implemented we can say goodbye to ever being in control of our own food supply or anything else for that matter.

  14. December 9, 2010 at 20:31


    I suspect that not as much as you think is wasted nowadays. Perhaps when it was cheaper and more plentiful. There is also the issue with packaging in such that it actually protects food and makes it last longer. So is a double edged sword. Certain things I remove from packaging and certain things I keep in the packaging.

    Now I suspect that the government has more to do with sell by and use by dates than the supermarkets. Governments stick their noses in all over the place and every time they do so something gets screwed up. If they were left off them we would just use common sense (cough) to see if something is OK or not. Personally, I ignore the dates and except for the few times I spent a few weeks in hospital (only joking) I’ve been fine for decades just smelling, looking and occasional tasting to decide if something is off.

    I think that more and more people are becoming disillusioned about our useless and corrupt government. Npbody can see a way out of it without violence but don’t want to be the first standing in the firing line. The next few years will be very interesting.

    Stock upon food and ammo. I think we are going to need it.

  15. ubermouth
    December 10, 2010 at 00:49

    Rossa pice tells you which are free range chickens. Also chickesn which are coped up have yellow stains on the legs[urine burns].

    We only buy free range chickens which is usually double the price but well worth it. I ,not a poultry lover, actually enjoy the odd free range chicken.

    One should buy Omega3 eggs which are far superior in quality to free range eggs.

    Organic is never completely ‘organic’ as it’s not totally devoid of pesticides,they simply have to use less pesticides to carry the label organic.

  16. ubermouth
    December 10, 2010 at 00:52

    People should not eat so much meat anyway. Fats from animals is the worst thing for us to eat and meat causes intestinal ‘sludge’ preventing absorption of all vitamins and minerals from most of the foods we eat regardless of the quality.

    Plant protein is far superior with no fat/cholesterol, and surprisingly, the best plant protein is from cold pressed hemp[of good quality].

  17. Andrew Duffin
    December 12, 2010 at 20:13

    1. Move to the country, if you haven’t already.

    2. Make friends with a farmer or, better, a smallholder or hobby farm owner (they generally care more about animal welfare).

    3. Buy direct from them (chickens, geese, ducks) or from them via a local abbatoir/butcher (lamb, pork, beef if you’re lucky.

    4. Enjoy meat FAR FAR better than anything you’ll ever buy in a supermarket, and know where/how the stock was reared, and that it was properly cared for.

    (Optional 5. Ignore veggie fascists. Too much of anything is not good for you, meat (and veg) included. Moderation in all things, except possibly wine, for thirst is a dangerous thing.)

  18. Andrew Duffin
    December 12, 2010 at 20:13

    PS. Keep posting pics of Felicity Kendall!

  19. December 12, 2010 at 20:18

    Sounds wise advice all round.

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