Australians are being urged to give up meat for a week in March, in an attempt to discourage consumers from buying protein sourced from factory farms.
March 18 to 24, 2013 will be the inaugural Meat Free Week, an initiative created by ex-publishing colleagues and friends Melissa Dixon and Lainie Bracher.
"Factory farming has long been a veiled industry. It has come at a significant cost, not only to animal welfare, but also our health and the environment," said Bracher.
"We know it's a big ask to cut back something you love to eat, but when people know the facts, we’re confident they’ll commit to eating less meat and when they do, make the choice to buy ethically produced meat," adds Dixon.
With an annual average of 120kg of meat consumed per capita, Australia is ranked as the second biggest meat consumer in the world, behind the US.
Much of this, according to Dixon and Bracher, comes from factory farms. The Meat Free Week website claims that two-thirds of the world's meat comes from factory farming practices, which are considered the number one cause of animal cruelty.
A number of chefs and media personalities are supporting the cause, including Simon Bryant, Bill Granger, Laura Csortan and Deborah Hutton.
Money raised from taking part in Meat Free Week will go to Voiceless, the not-for-profit animal protection institute, which drives reform and helps build the animal protection movement by offering grants and prizes, creating networks, promoting informed debate and conducting research to expose cruel farming practices.
New Zealand recently committed to phasing out battery cages for egg-laying hens. The new Animal Welfare (Layer Hens) Code of Welfare means no new battery cages can be installed by producers (as of 7 December, 2012). A staged phase-out will also commence with battery cages to be completely forbidden by 2022.