With just two weeks to go until Australia’s inaugural Meat Free Week, 18-24 March 2013, the campaign has already raised more than $60,000 in pledges through animal-loving Aussies who have signed up to take the seven-day challenge.
Anyone can get involved by signing up for the challenge of giving up meat for a week or sponsoring someone they know to take part, helping to raise funds for Voiceless, the animal protection institute.
Meat Free Week aims to raise awareness of factory farming and to reduce meat consumption (of all meat, including fish). Factory farming is a large-scale industrial operation that raises animals for meat (and other animal products such as eggs and milk) as if they’re machinery. Their pain and distress is disregarded in the pursuit of profit. It is the number one cause of animal cruelty today and causes the most suffering to the largest number of animals in Australia – more than 500 million every year. The animals most impacted are chickens and pigs.
Australians are among 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.
Meat Free Week co-founder, Lainie Bracher, explains: “It’s not just factory farming that we need to consider, but also the impact of excessive meat consumption on animal welfare in general, as well as the environment and our own health.” Co-founder Melissa Dixon adds: “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 make the choice to buy ethically produced meat.”
The campaign has attracted a wide range of supporters who are embracing the cause including media identities Laura Csortan, actor Krew Boylan and comedian David Smiedt. Leading chefs Simon Bryant, Belinda Jeffery, Matt Wilkinson 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.”
The majority of the 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 assisted with this project.
The Meat Free Week website 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 http://www.meatfreeweek.com