Around the country lucky Australians will soon be sitting down to enjoy their festival fare, toast away another year and/or pack their bags for a summer escape with family and friends.
When my family and I do this every year, I face the same dilemma – how to eat ethically while away from home when access to organic and free range animal products is limited.
So, I thought I'd share my tips on eating ethically while on holidays.
1. If in doubt, leave it out
There are some things that I will never, ever buy and these are cage eggs, conventional chicken and conventional pig products of any kind. This is because I know from all the reading I've done and footage that I have viewed that the animal welfare standards in the conventional egg, pig and chicken industries are appalling and suffering is routine. If I'm at all unsure about how the food was produced I just won't buy it – plain and simple! When you do find things like free range eggs, make sure you stock up.
2. Stick to beef and lamb
If you can't find free range or organic meat, I would choose beef and lamb and avoid chicken and pig products. In Australia, cattle and sheep spend the majority of their lives outdoors grazing on pasture so the animal welfare issues are not as great when compared to the animal welfare issues associated with conventional chicken and pig farming (which are both intensive industries).
3. Replace meat with seafood
If you're holidaying in one of the coastal areas of Australia, you'll probably have good access to fish and seafood, and if you're lucky, it will be locally caught. Australian aquaculture regulation and fisheries management is very good, making locally caught seafood a great choice. The GoodFishBadFish website recommends you choose things like oysters and mussels, which are farmed using low-impact methods that can improve water-quality within their environments. If eating prawns, buy whole prawns to guarantee that they're Australian (prawns imported into Australia will always have the head and shell removed).
4. Seek out local producers
Many areas around the coast (if you're on a beachside escape) are often bordered by farms, many of which will sell some of their produce locally. While driving to and from your destination or around the area in which you're staying, keep your eyes peeled for signs for farm gate sales. Fresh eggs, fruit and vegetables can often be bought from the side of the road. Also, check out the local markets for locally grown produce!
5. Christmas At Home
If you're at home this year and Christmas is at your place, consider spending just a little more to ensure that you can purchase ethically raised animal products. The extra money spent will contribute to the welfare of animals, improved environmental practices and importantly send a message to the producers that you support free range products. Don't be shy to ask questions at the butcher's! As a customer it is your right to know about how the animal you are purchasing was raised. If the butcher can't answer questions about the origins of the meat, the provider it came from or the rearing processes, then it would probably be best not to buy from that butcher.
6. Relax and enjoy!
Do the best you can when it comes to eating ethically while on holiday but try not to stress yourself or the people you're holidaying with out in the process. It is a holiday after all – a time to relax and enjoy surrounded by friends and family in order to get ready for the new year ahead.
Consume with Care – Natalie Penn & Debbie Kertesz