The over-production and over-consumption of meat is a serious problem for both the environment and human health. At month’s Terra Madre Salone del Gusto event in Turin, the Slow Meat campaign – part of the international Slow Food movement – was offering a solution: eat less meat, of better quality.
Over the past seventy years, global meat consumption has increased six-fold, from 45 million tons per year in 1950 to 300 million tons today. This figure is expected to rise to 500 million tons by 2050, an increase of 10-fold since 1950 and double what it is today.
Serena Milano, General Secretary of the Slow Food Foundation of Biodiversity says, “It is unsustainable for the West to continue eating meat to the levels that it’s used to. Animals are being raised in inhumane, stressful conditions in increasingly crowded environments. Low quality animal feed, monocultures, deforestation and the use of large quantities of water are all consequences of the industrialization of animal farming. This will have terrible effects on the environment, our health, animal welfare and social justice. But by making better choices, we can change this.”
Slow Meat’s tagline – eat less meat, of better quality – summarizes what the organization sees as a crucial message about human and planetary health.
Terra Madre Salone del Gusto also dedicated a space to the Slow Beans network, demonstrating the many nutritional benefits of beans as an alternative to meat. There are also 40 bean exhibitors at the event and 188 bean varieties at risk of extinction that are being safeguarded by the Slow Food Ark of Taste.
Richard McCarthy, executive director of Slow Food USA presented the Slow Meat Manifesto: “The industrial model of meat production has isolated us from this grand multi-species community, and instead we are isolated in a culture of confinement. Animals are confined in torturous conditions, dollars are confined to the hands of few, and eaters are confined to unsavory options – our future confined to a desolate path. It is time to break free.”