2018 marks the 11th year of National Butchers’ week.
It’s easy to roll your eyes upon hearing the words ‘local’ and ‘sustainable’. These and other expressions have been overused in an effort to promote businesses and behaviours deemed to be eco-friendly, regardless of whether they are or not.
However, it would be wrong to disregard the good sense behind this philosophy. Although our species may not actually need to eat meat, let’s face it; people love a good steak, a prawn laksa or a chicken Kiev. Constant demand has incentivised corner-cutting and practices like intensive farming to produce the cheapest meat possible. And the habit of putting meat on the family table at least once a day means that people will buy it.
It’s easy to see the flaws in this system. The huge amount of resources required to produce meat, plus the energy required to digest it, suggest that it should be more of a luxury. Indeed that’s exactly what it was in most cultures, for most of human history. The consequences of this cheap meat binge, for our health and our environment, are pretty dire. That’s why sustainability should not be ignored.
Buying from your local butcher is a good place to start. It may even be better for your wallet in the long run. Butchers can recommend suitable, cheaper cuts and how to prepare them. It’s also a great way to enhance your understanding of meat; how it is produced, its nutritional content and the best way to cook each cut.
Look up your local butcher and give them a go. It could be the start of something delicious.