Meat matters - making the case for a valuable food in a hostile environment

Leroy, F., Heinrich, F., Lee, M.R.F. and Willems, K. (2023) Meat matters - making the case for a valuable food in a hostile environment. Italian Journal of Animal Science, 22 (1). pp. 885-897. ISSN 1828-051X

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Contemporary views on meat reflect an ambiguous status of appreciation and rejection, especially in the urbanised West, and tend to come with strong moral overtones. The portrayal of (red) meat as an intrinsically harmful food choice by certain academics, non-governmental organisations, mass media, and public-private partnerships contributes to this tension. Although most of these voices are merely calling for a moderation of the consumption of meat in areas with high intake, others are radical and demand a drastic reduction or even elimination, as will be documented in this article. Some scientists are beginning to articulate their concern about an ongoing trend towards unbalanced communications and anti-meat militancy in both academic and policy circles. The perceived threat is not only that the vilification of meat may add to the ongoing moralisation of dietary choices and societal polarisation, but also that it may further undermine an already precarious situation of public health and a fragile food system, especially (but not only) in the Global South. Minimising livestock may also come with unintended harmful effects on ecosystems and livelihoods. The ‘Dublin Declaration of Scientists on the Societal Role of Livestock’, issued in October 2022, exemplifies such concern. Together with the body of evidence to which it refers, the Dublin Declaration is to be read as a petition for pragmatism, demanding sufficiently high standards of evidence, and more respect for the principle of caution when it comes to policies that have the intention to severely challenge the role of meat and other animal source foods in future diets.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: meat, vegetarian, vegan, food system, food policy
Divisions: Animal Health, Behaviour and Welfare (from 1.09.21)
Depositing User: Miss Terésa-Marie Jones
Date Deposited: 30 Aug 2023 15:53
Last Modified: 30 Aug 2023 15:53

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