In defence of red meat

I’ve had a fun week. I was approached by an organisation called the Sustainable Food Trust to ask if I would speak at a couple of events that they had organised on November 23rd 2016. When I heard that the global expert on grass-fed farming, Joel Salatin, was the keynote speaker it was easy to say yes.

Two events had been arranged – a London breakfast (8-10am) and a lecture at Bristol University (6-9.30pm), so it was a busy day. The London breakfast was attended by the Chief Medical Officer, Dame Sally Davies, and VIPs from farming, agriculture, the food industry, retail, regulatory policy makers, representatives of Non-Governmental-Organisations (NGOs) and food/environment journalists. The Bristol event had a wonderfully diverse audience, old and young, farmers and students, more NGO heads and individuals interested in food and the sustainability of our food supply.

The issue of sustainable food has the ability to unite vegans and Paleo types alike, as we are both against animals being kept in sheds, fed grains and then fattened unnaturally to rush into the food chain. Where we part company is that vegans would prefer a world where no animal (or their products) are eaten and sustainable meat supporters want a world where top soil is rejuvenated, so that we can continue to grow food and feed people. Without ruminants grazing on pastures, top soil is destroyed; along with our ability to feed the world. There was a panel with questions in London and a panel with debate in Bristol – the debate was a lively one!

My job was to defend red meat from a nutritional point of view. In London, time was so tight with such busy important people that I had five minutes! I had double that in Bristol, but it was still an interesting exercise for me to nail the key points in a very short space of time – without the luxury of 30-90 minutes, as I usually have in presentations. What I found was that you can make the points, but not give the depth of evidence, which I normally like to cover.

I’ve tried to document as accurately as possible the talk from the London presentation, so here’s the five minute defence of red meat...

 

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