Meat | All Consumed Episode 2

Meat | All Consumed Episode 2

Welcome to All Consumed, a podcast about food, drink and travel hosted by Neil Davey and Chris Osburn.

It’s our second episode, in which we get a theme tune and discuss meat – mostly about eating less, but better quality meat  – with the following:

    • Michael Reid, executive chef with M Restaurants, and one of the leading purveyors of Wagyu beef in the UK;
    • Clifford Jones, of Vaca y Marela, who’s doing some remarkable things with Galician beef in the UK (and UK beef in Galicia); and
    • Nadia Stokes, one half of Borough Market’s acclaimed and multiple prize-winning Gourmet Goat.

Listen now:

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9 Responses to Meat | All Consumed Episode 2

  1. Amanda says:

    People still eat meat? Gross

  2. Neil Davey says:

    I’m really not sure where to begin on this one. As delighted as I am that we have our first troll, this sort of comment / attitude is one that really demands a reply.

    But how? Where to start? How do you dismantle such a cleverly thought out, and well argued point. Cough. I mean, I could go to the same level of well-crafted, oh so witty, logic – “Vegans are still making these pathetic comments? Wow” – or I could simply question the ridiculous “outrage” expressed as, er, yes, clearly people are still eating meat. Doh.

    The thing is, as per the subject and nature of this podcast, it goes much deeper. Had you simply read the introduction to the podcast or, better, listened to it before judging, you’d have found that, like many chefs, butchers and farmers, we’re attempting to make a case regarding eating less, but better quality, meat. We’re celebrating the ethical farming, the sustainable herds, promoting the care and thought that so many put into raising animals and frankly, to dismiss it so glibly, with such a smug comment, genuinely makes my hackles rise because, well, it’s not the first time a vegan has tried to make this argument without being equipped with any of the facts. This is, however, the first time I’ve had a forum to reply in some sort of depth.

    Having looked at your blog, I know that you’re a vegan, so let me ask you a question. Do you know where EVERYTHING you eat comes from? Because if you don’t – and I’m going to say, with some confidence, that you don’t – you really don’t have a leg to stand on.

    Sure, you can – and will – point to mass agriculture, and these amoral factories where cattle, pigs, sheep and chickens are raised in their thousands, in terrible conditions, and where the people concerned couldn’t even spell animal welfare, where it’s all about the bottom line and making a buck. Well, an awful lot of bucks. And if you did, I would agree with you 100 per cent. The unsustainable demand it reflects, the abhorrent practices that get vegans frothing at the mouth… they have the same effect on me and many other meat eaters. This is not farming. This is not nutrition. This is barely edible, disgusting and cruel. And yes, the evidence also suggests that the resulting meat – and the expectation that such meat should be cheap and thus consumed at every meal – is causing myriad health problems around the world. The evidence also suggests that these practices are causing tremendous harm to the environment.

    The thing is, there’s also considerable evidence to suggest that mass agriculture of cereals, vegetables, fruit, etc., are another huge contributor to environmental problems! Do you genuinely know the provenance of every vegetable, fruit, pulse or grain that passes your lips? Are they ethically sourced, and/or organically grown, and/or from small artisanal producers with a strong consideration for the environment? Or are they (even occasionally) mass farmed, pumped up with chemicals, grown from non-regenerating seeds from the likes of Monsanto etc? I’m going to guess you don’t know where all your food comes from, and, while research / reading / actually listening to a podcast that doesn’t say what you think it says is obviously not your strongpoint, I’d suggest you read up on any number of topics. How pesticides and other chemicals get washed from field to rivers and thus to the sea, and the likely negative impact it’s had on marine life, for example. Or how such things can leech into water supplies and cause harmful side effects to local people. The vast amount of energy needed to power industrial greenhouses. The unscrupulous business practices of Monsanto et al. The effect of air miles and packaging on the environment – I’m guessing your diet, like most people’s to be fair, does not reflect seasonality or solely the locally grown. Maybe you should research how the west’s “discovery” of quinoa had such a terrible effect on South American farmers (see also the recent avocado stories). The self-satisfied assumption that “all meat bad, all veg good” is, at best, misguided and, at worst, wilfully ignorant. Veganism does not, inherently, save the world. It’s a question of balance – which is, basically, the entire point of this podcast.

    Now, it’s my turn to be smug. My wife and I have an allotment and grow our own fruit and vegetables. Well, to be strictly accurate, she grows things and I, for the most part, get to prepare and cook the produce. So, for a large chunk of every year, not only can I tell you where our fruit and vegetables come from – hell I could give you the postcode – I can also introduce you to the person who planted them there, confirm the complete lack of chemical fertilisers and pesticides AND even tell you where they got the seeds in the first place.

    As for the meat we sometimes consume alongside these vegetables… Well, first of all, we certainly don’t have meat (or fish) at every meal. We eat a lot of vegetarian dishes. It’s partly because we have a lot of veg to get through, but mostly because we subscribe to the omnivore argument and, also, the aforementioned philosophy that we should eat less, but better quality, meat. We buy our meat from local butchers who can name the farms that raised the animal we’re buying, or from similarly ethical, well known butchers in Borough or other similar markets. We’re pretty confident that the meat we buy comes from animals that had a good and comparatively long life, developing naturally over time, grazing naturally and free from chemicals and hormones. This does admittedly cost more but then that makes us doubly determined to use every bit of whatever we buy. We bought a chicken recently that fed four people as a roast and some 16 other meals – curry, pie, soup, sandwiches – before we made stock and six portions of soup with that and the “inedible” tough bottoms of a bunch of asparagus. If the chicken is going to give its life, time and energy to feed us, the least we can do is show it some respect. We also do the same with restaurant leftovers.

    Ah well. That’s barely scratching the surface of the argument – we haven’t even got onto the basic economics for large numbers of people around the world, the fact that keeping chickens or goats, for example, is their major source of protein, and all sorts of other debates. I’ll leave that to someone else to cover because I suspect this is all so much “spitting in the wind” anyway.

    Look, I’m not trying to convince you to give up veganism – I wouldn’t even presume to as clearly that’s not possible – and I know that I’m in the minority on this less-but-better philosophy as a meat eater, but that’s why we did this episode, to try and spread the word a little. Ironic then that one of the first people to notice its existence wasn’t going to listen anyway and just default to self-righteous indignation. Sigh.

    • There’s truly no arguing with someone who uses such a facile comment as “gross” in place of a well-thought and convincingly-made argument. But for those with open minds, your response is a fantastic one.

      • foodurchin2017 says:

        An agricultural system that is based on a monoculture or single crop can be just as detrimental to the environment as the meat industry, destroying multitudes of species – both plant and animal. The key, as you say Neil, is bringing everything back into order and balance. Old farming systems recognised that and we should be thinking about encompassing ALL requirements for producing decent food. I would also argue that mass production and frequent consumption of meat is the biggest cause of cruelty to animals. Our demand for cheap food is a huge issue in this respect. Thing is, the same could be applied to soya, palm oil, quinoa etc…

  3. Chris Hayward says:

    Very interesting …Thank you for bringing some balance to a topic we’re struggling to comprehend whilst supporting our Vegan daughter. Will keep the podcast for later.

  4. Well written Neil. Excited to listen to your podcast!

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