Ethical Eating for the meat eaters who want to do better.

I’ve been circling around the idea of veganism for a while now. All that I’ve read and heard tell me that it’s the right choice for so many reasons: health, planet and heart. But. But. But. I’m not quite there yet. I want to do the right thing, but I’m struggling with it.

I like eating meat but to be honest, that is only a small part of it. For me at this point in time, it is all about just that: time. I know that if I want to do it, I have to do it properly. And I’m not sure that I can. I have a very, very stressful and ongoing family situation that takes up a lot of my time and emotional energy. I have a husband who is definitely not ready for this step yet, and I know that to do it properly will take a lot of re-educating myself on how to prepare a healthy and balanced diet. So, what to do…

The answer, for me, is to make sure that what meat I do eat is as far removed from the appalling factory farming as it can possibly be. And of course this is expensive. Very expensive. Free range and out door bred is not enough: a free range chicken from a popular cut price supermarket costs under £5, but that price tells me that the rearing of that chicken would probably not stand up to close scrutiny.

So it’s got to be organic, properly free range, slow reared, and no nasty hormones, antibiotics or any other such disgusting, and frankly mind boggling practices that are taken as the norm in factory farming. Hence the expense. Right at a time when I’m on a serious budget. So far, that has put me off a little. I know, I know, what price ethics. But now, I’m seeing the cost as part of the appeal. If I’ve got to pay nearly three times the amount for my meat, I’m not going to be eating very much meat. And what I do eat is going to be the very best quality.

Last week, on Tuesday a beautiful box of organic meat was delivered by Riverford Organic Farmers. It has to be Tuesday because that’s the day for my area (more green ethical brownie points). The contents of the box were small – budget – but so very delicious.

The limitation of the delivery day also meant that when we had friends over for dinner, instead of getting in meat, I used quorn, and it was lovely. And btw, I also served up quorn nuggets to my granddaughter who is a big fan of chicken nuggets – which most definitely are not anywhere near organic or free range – she loved them.

Now I know that a lot of people are going to knock me down for eating meat and animal products and using the word ‘ethical’ in my blog, but do you know what? If we all ate truly ethically sourced meat, I’m guessing that the impact on the planet would be significant in terms of the benefits. Many of us would not be able to afford to continue to eat meat in the quantities that we, as a country, are currently consuming it, and that would be a good thing.

The animals would be a lot happier too.

So that’s it for me. Riverford will be delivering fortnightly, and I can eat their delicious organic, slow-reared, free range meat with a clearer conscience. And safe in the knowledge that I’m not filling my body with disgusting chemicals. I may not have made the move to veganism, but I’m feeling a lot better about the choices I’m making.