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Meat Free Week in Australia in Australia (18th - 24th March, 2013)

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Meat Free Week in Australia (18th - 24th March, 2013)

From Jenny Moxham
March 2013

When you consider that every single one of these millions of animals is a living feeling being who experiences terror and pain in much the same way as we do, it clearly represents a monumental volume of suffering.

If we actually had to kill the lambs, pigs, cows and chickens we daily consume, would half of us be vegetarians? Going by the voting following a recent episode of Channel 10's thought provoking "Can of Worms", it would appear so. The question posed on the show was "Would you eat it, if you had to kill it?' and when viewer’s votes were counted, around half voted no.

So what does this mean? Does it mean that if we honestly confront the reality of what "meat" really is and the suffering we are inflicting on living feeling beings for nothing but the taste of their flesh, our higher self tells us that it's cruel and unjustifiable?

The question posed was particularly pertinent given that this week is Australia's very first Meat Free Week - a week  aimed at raising awareness of the massive quantity of meat consumed by us and, more importantly, the cruelty involved in meat production.
Australians currently chow down a whopping 190,000 tonnes of meat each year and are amongst the biggest meat eaters in the world. With an average consumption of 120kg per person per annum, according to a report released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, we eat almost three times as much meat as the world average.

Eating this quantity of meat has had a disastrous effect on the animals because it has led to the creation of large scale, "factory farms" inside which the animals never feel the rays of the sun, breathe fresh air or have space to exercise. Breeding sows are so severely confined in their body hugging metal crates they can do no more than take one step forwards of backwards.

Although, it's predominantly chickens and pigs who are factory farmed, other animals are also confined this way.

But it's not just the animals who suffer. Eating too much meat also has a detrimental effect on the environment and our own health.

As our population and affluence has grown, so too has the amount of meat we eat and our habit of eating meat every day, and often at every meal, has become widespread and commonplace.

In one month alone our population of 22.8 million eats more than 624,000 cows, 47,000 calves, 540,000 sheep, 1.68 million lambs and 382,000 pigs.

Over a year, it is estimated that almost 9 million cattle, 13 million sheep, 20 million lambs, 6 million pigs and over half a billion meat chickens are slaughtered for meat - and this doesn't even take into account the millions of turkey’s, ducks and fish also consumed.

When you consider that every single one of these millions of animals is a living feeling being who experiences terror and pain in much the same way as we do, it clearly represents a monumental volume of suffering.

By simply reducing our intake of meat, each and every one of us has the power to help alleviate this suffering and, if we check out the Meat Free Week website we'll discover that it's far easier than we thought.