Vegetarianism and Veganism is particularly on-trend at the minute, I have actually been a vegetarian for the last four years.
I turned vegetarian when I first started university; I couldn’t really afford much meat and definitely nothing organic or well sourced. After some googling I was swiftly put off. Vegetarianism came quite easily to me, I had always found the link between loving animals and eating them a little too close for comfort.
In the past year or so, cutting meat out of your diet has become the in thing; celebrities have started a huge trend in juice cleansing and ‘clean eating’. But why?
There is a lot of talk around meat being unhealthy, un ethical . But the long and short of it is shop responsibly and support locally. I don’t think I have ever appreciated the unbelievable amount of work and money that goes into producing and raising livestock.
I have recently met a number of local farmers here in rural Northumberland and the love they have for each and every animal is palpable.I have see them struggle over every loss and worry over struggling ewes. I remember one farmer clearly saying to me, ‘where there is livestock, there is dead-stock.’
It is a sight and a thought I used to truly struggle with, but as I have grown older I have become tougher.
More than ever I contemplate returning to eating meat; I am making good money as a freelance photographer but more than anything I am determined to draw attention to the incredible work these people do, and support them. All hours, all weather and regardless of anything. Profits are incredibly low, the work is harder than ever and there is an unbelievable influx of foreign lamb. To quote one farmer; It’s ironic, that lamb is in season in Easter despite the fact that that British lamb is too young to be taken to slaughter.
This, is where New Zealand comes in. For them, lamb is bang on season, which is inevitably why the British public will buy what ever is easy, and whatever is cheap. But, when we are talking about meat being bad for the environment, the Co2 emissions and the effect on the planet we so rarely consider the carbon footprint of imported produce. I can guarantee that a British farmer produces less harmful emissions in home grown livestock than that ‘cheaper’ leg of New Zealand lamb that has flown across the planet. Me, I would rather pay more, support real people and continue to see our fields full of happy animals than save a few pounds.
It’s a sad reality, and the future of British farming is in our hands. We need to value those people, the work they do and we should feel the need to pay them for that hard work.