Australian meat sector fights back against veggie campaigns

By Ed Bedington

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Meat Beef Lamb Livestock Pork Poultry

Meat Free Monday fightback against McCartney
Australian meat bosses are fighting back against the Paul McCartney-backed Meat Free Monday campaign by investing in research and consumer education.

Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) is using projects like its Target 100 scheme, which will look to tackle some of the myths about meat and explain the facts to consumers through a variety of mediums including videos, social media and community forums.

It said it was looking to counteract the "simple and catchy messages" of meat-fee movements, which often base their arguments on incorrect figures.

A study by MLA found that while 14% of Australian shoppers knew about Meat Free Monday, only 5% of them had been convinced to alter their eating habits. However, MLA said they would be stepping up to meat the challenge posed by such campaigns.

MLA community engagement manager Pip McConachie said: "Our consumer surveys show that while the percentage of people choosing to reduce their beef and lamb has not changed their reasons have."

According to the organisation’s survey, health and price remain top when it comes to why people reduce the amount of beef and lamb they buy, but those who previously cut consumption for environmental reasons were now listing animal welfare as a bigger concern.

McConachie said: "MLA invests AUS$13 million annually in research to improve animal welfare and environmental impacts of beef and lamb production. It’s a complex area, with complex messages, so we need to explain it in the right way so people can make more informed decisions and that’s where Target 100 comes in."

The Target 100 programme, which is now entering its third year, uses the web and social media, alongside schools and events programmes, to explain the facts to consumers. It aims to distill recognised science into digestible information to counteract untrue claims.

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