Australia’s inaugural Meat Free Week, 18-24 March 2013, was unveiled at the 2012 Voiceless Awards in Sydney last night (Wednesday 28 November) and launches with a new website on Saturday 1 December - www.meatfreeweek.com.
The national week is dedicated to raising awareness of the amount of meat Australians eat and, more importantly, the factory farming practices behind producing it. People can get involved by signing up for the challenge of giving up meat for a week and in doing so, raise funds to help end factory farming.
With an average of 120kg of annual meat consumption per capita, Australia is ranked as the second biggest meat eater in the world after the USA. That consumption isn’t possible without factory farming, which causes suffering to more than 500 million animals in Australia each year. It is the number one cause of animal cruelty today. Two thirds of the world’s meat now comes from factory farming, a large-scale industrial operation where animals are treated like commodities in a production line, their pain and distress disregarded in the pursuit of profit.
"Factory farming has long been a veiled industry. It has come at a significant cost, not only to animal welfare, but also our health and the environment" says Meat Free Week co-founder Lainie Bracher. "We know it’s a big ask to cut back something you love to eat, but when people know the facts, we’re confident they’ll commit to eating less meat and when they do, make the choice to buy ethically produced meat" adds co-founder Melissa Dixon.
The campaign has attracted a wide range of supporters who are embracing the cause including media identities Laura Csortan and Deborah Hutton and actor Krew Boylan. Leading chefs Simon Bryant, Belinda Jeffery and Bill Granger are among many who have provided a range of delicious meat-free recipes for the campaign.
Chef and ambassador Simon Bryant explains: "There is a way to eat meat without contributing to the unnecessary cruelty of factory farming. By purchasing ethically sourced meat, eating less of it or perhaps giving it a miss all together we have the power to make a lot of lives so much better. As custodians of this planet it is our job to make these changes happen by asking the right questions and rewarding farmers who follow best practice with fair prices for their work and produce."
Money raised from taking part in Meat Free Week will go to Voiceless, the animal protection institute. Voiceless is a not-for-profit think tank that drives reform and helps build the animal protection movement by offering grants and prizes, creating influential networks, promoting informed debate and conducting research to expose legalised cruelty. A grant awarded from Voiceless last night will assist with this project.
"Voiceless is pleased to support Meat Free Week and its aims to get people to carefully consider their consumption habits and their impacts on animals, themselves and our planet" said Voiceless CEO Dana Campbell.
The Meat Free Week website launches on 1 December and is packed with information on the campaign as well as delicious meat free recipes and information on how to register to take part.
For further information, visit www.meatfreeweek.com
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