Australia makes plans for second Meat Free Week

Meat Free Week logo

Australia’s new annual Meat Free Week (24-30 March 2014) is getting into gear with some of the country’s best-known chefs creating new meat-free recipes for the campaign.

Meat consumption in Australia is still relatively high, with each person consuming 113 kg of meat per year, on average. This is three times higher than the world average, and Australian campaigners are concerned about the impact that this diet is having upon the nation’s health.

Supporters of the campaign pledge to be meat free for the week, and raise funds through sponsorship. The money raised is divided between three charities: Bowel Cancer Australia, the Australian Conservation Foundation and Voiceless, the animal protection institute. The charities were chosen because they represent three important areas that benefit when you eat less meat: health, the environment and animal welfare.

Co-founder Lainie Bracher explains: “Ultimately, our goal is to get Australians thinking and talking about the amount of meat they eat and how it’s produced.”

The campaign’s website features striking messages, including statistics about bowel cancer (Australia’s second biggest cancer killer) and fishing: “One third of all fish caught is fed to livestock to produce meat – does that make sense to you?”. Bracher says that the campaign is not aiming to convert people to meat-free eating overnight, but “when it comes to our eating habits, a small change can make a huge difference.”

Last year’s launch caught the interest of the media and politicians, with Dr John Kaye, a New South Wales MP representing the Green Party, introducing a motion to the NSW Legislative Council to congratulate the campaigners. Dr Kaye went on record to say that “Excessive meat consumption in Australia is contributing to poor health outcomes, environmental degradation and unacceptable rates of animal mistreatment.”

The campaign website and recipes are online here.