I’m increasingly dismayed by the often ill-informed and self-righteous debate on climate change. For many "Stop eating meat" is considered to be the solution to all our planetary and climate change ills. Farmers of all persuasions are being ‘tarred with the same brush’ and vilified. . .
Some farming methods certainly need to be reviewed and there is a growing consensus that business as usual is no longer an option particularly for very intensive pig and poultry units which despite economies of scale rarely even yield a decent income for the farmers themselves, many of whom feel trapped in the system, fuelled by our assumption that cheap food at any cost is our right!
If you ask most young people what we should eat to be sustainable and healthy, their immediate and well intentioned response will be, Go vegan or vegetarian. They are convinced by the argument that meat, particularly red meat is bad for us and damaging to the environment. However, there is a world of difference, both in health terms and in environmental terms in meat from pasture reared livestock and intensively reared animals from feedlot systems. Cattle are crucially important to a sustainable agricultural system; it is worth noting that worldwide, approx. 80% of the land that cattle graze on cannot be used for tillage or other forms of agriculture.
It is also important to understand that cattle, other animals and poultry build soil fertility. A crucially important factor at a time when the UN warns us that there are less than 60 harvests left in many intensively farmed soils.
In Ireland we are favoured by nature, with optimum conditions to produce superb food. Many farmers desperately want to be a part of the solution to global warming. They urgently need wise advice, training and support to embark on regenerative agriculture that encourages continual innovation and improvement of environmental, social and economic measures. The primary priority in regenerative organic agriculture is soil health. Vitally important when one realises that our health comes directly from the soil.
For optimum health enjoy a little of all the bounty of nature. . . Eat vegetables, herbs and foraged foods in season and seek out humanely reared meat with a nice covering of juicy fat so important for our health, include some beautiful wild fish when you can get it fresh, an increasingly difficult challenge.
This week, let’s show support for our farmers who work 24/7 to produce nourishing meat for us to enjoy. Buy from your local butcher preferably one with their own abattoir who knows the source of the meat and buys directly from local farmers or the local mart. Let’s eat a little less but seek out pasture raised meat, from native breeds.
If you are confused about what to eat for optimum health start by cutting all processed and fake food out of your diet, just eat real food in season. . . One could do worse than listen to the sage advice of the Weston A. Price foundation www.westonaprice.
org and wise tradition podcasts https://www. westonaprice.org/podcast/ - Some are literally life changing.
The reality is, nutrient dense sustainable food can be more expensive to produce. As tax payers we all contribute to a farm support system.
Our taxes help to fund the health service, clean up the environment. . . I strongly believe that politicians urgently need to be courageous and move the support to more sustainable forms of food production which I believe will help to reduce climate change and benefit our health, a win, win situation all the way.