Meat Free Week, which kicked off yesterday and encourages Australians to abstain from eating meat for seven days, is an ill-thought campaign which should be ignored, says NSW Farmers.
The campaign is the brainchild of ex-publishing colleagues and friends Melissa Dixon and Lainie Bracher and is aimed at raising awareness of factory farming practices, with funds going to a not-for-profit animal protection institute, Voiceless.
Fiona Simson, president of NSW Farmers, which represents thousands of farmers across the state, said farmers are already meeting stringent national welfare standards.
"Animals in Australia are raised in extremely good conditions. Some 97 percent of NSW beef cattle are grass fed and live outdoors and Australia’s pork farmers were the first in the world to voluntarily agree to phase out sow stalls by 2017," she said.
Simson added that there are 44,000 farming families in Australia which depend on consumers buying and eating their produce, and argues that Meat Free Week lacks compassion for farmers who've already struggled with natural disasters and other challenges, including the issues surrounding live exports.
"I find the timing of such a campaign ill thought out and I encourage consumers to ignore the pleas of such groups and get behind our farmers who work extremely hard every day at growing the best for us to eat," she said.