Eating red meat is a personal choice

WAFarmers was recently asked for comment regarding eating red meat, and the effect the production of red meat has on the planet.

WAFarmers President Tony York said eating beef was a personal choice.

“Farmers in Australia and all over the world produced beef to meet specific quality and food safety standards demanded by consumers,” he said.

“While we accept that livestock grazing production utilises natural resources, many of which are not used by other sectors such as horticulture, many consumers have a preference to eat high protein including beef so farmers have to supply what they want.

“Production costs to produce beef and lamb are higher in Australia due to strict animal health and welfare standards and this is taken into account when prices are set for red meat, and is why consumers choose to pay a premium price for red meat.”

The query, which was in response to West Coast Eagle’s player Sam Butler’s announcement that he no longer eats beef, also touched on whether recent documentaries such as Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret held any truth regarding beef production processes.

Mr York said many of these documentaries focused on production systems in the northern hemisphere, and that Australian livestock were raised very differently to their counterparts north of the equator.

“Our livestock systems are based on extensive open-range grazing systems, and animals do not spend the majority of their lives in massive feed lots fed on grain,” he said.

“Given the increasing level of iron deficiency in young men, they should be encouraged to eat more red meat as part of a healthy mixed diet, not less, as it is the only bioavailable source of haem iron available to the human body.

“Beef is also an excellent source of B12, Vitamin D and Calcium, all of which are needed for energy and bone maintenance.”

Mr York said he respected Mr Butler’s decision not to eat beef, and acknowledged that he was passionate about his cause.

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