01 Introduction

This section is not aimed at converting you to vegetarianism and it does not represent extremist views of the meat industry. What it aims to do is paint the real picture of where your meat comes from; highlighting the impact it has on the environment and the impact it has on the animals within the factory farming system. We hope that after reading this section you consider reducing your meat intake and start to make informed choices when it comes to ordering and purchasing meat.

Our increasing appetite for meat

People living in developed countries such as Australia eat roughly their own weight in meat every year, consuming more than 80kg each, or about 224g a day, compared with an average of 47g a day in developing countries.1

The meat industry has done a great job at spreading marketing messages that suggest that eating red meat will make you smarter or that it is somehow un-Australian not to eat it. They have made claims that indicate that the human brain has grown faster than other animals because of our carnivorous habits, but if that were the case, why aren't the super cats ruling the world?2

It is true that red meat contains important nutrients such as iron, zinc and amino acids, however, a plant-based diet is full of the same nutrients.

In Australia, from 1985 to 2008, beef production increased by around 65% and lamb production by 44%.3

Chicken consumption has increased from 6kg per person in 1965 to an astonishing 37kg per person in 2010, which equates to 490 million chickens slaughtered each year in Australia.4 That's 22 chickens per person per year!

The establishment of Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) in Australia, with its first store opening in 1968, had a major impact on the consumption of chicken. In the 12 months from 1970-1971 a total of 75 KFC stores opened and during the same period, total Australian chicken production increased by 38%.5

Today, we eat more meat than ever. The factory-like approach to farming animals has seen meat become more affordable and it is not unusual for people to eat meat two or three times a day.

Our increasing appetite for meat is placing enormous pressure on the environment, has been linked to health issues such as heart disease and often sees animals suffer in unimaginable conditions.