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Coming sooner than later: Predator friendly meat

June 10, 2014

I can’t even pretend to be vegan. I love meat and probably wouldn’t be able to give it up easily even though I absolutely love veggies and fruit. It’s just not going to happen. However, I do try and consume my meat responsibly. I will not eat grain fed beef and will only eat free range. I go as far as to only buy meat from my parents’ butcher in Bethlehem in the Free State because I know how the cows are treated in the area. You drive past them in their hundreds on your way through there and they are all in the sunshine happily munching grass. That’s how it should be.

These are factors I’ve been aware of for years but I did fail to notice another important issue. That in a lot of cases stock farmers are killing predators because they believe these predators are after their animals. And, quite frankly, they are not wrong. Domesticated animals are easy gain for Cheetahs, Leopard and Eagles and any other form of wild predators that might be living in the farms foothills and grasslands. Farmers have often hunted and killed these animals by horrific means which makes my enjoyment of meat come at an even greater environmental cost.

I’ve always known this happens but I only took heed when I watched a very interesting feature on the South African Environmental programme 50/50 on 26 May.  The programme highlighted and initiative environmental groups, farmers and even retailers (in this case Woolworths) are working together to implement which should help stem this disgraceful predator killings. The solution is ridiculously simple: raise huge dogs alongside your livestock who will then scare off just about any animal who thinks your farm is a take out.

These dogs consider the heard their family and therefore protect them with their lives. It is their responsibility and some Cheetah or even Lion be damned. Visit http://www.cheetah.co.za/an_project.html for more information.

The project is slowly gaining momentum and has proven success. It is for this reason that Woolworths are investing a lot of money over the next few years to help implement this programme amongst farmers they use. They want to ensure that the meat the sell was not at the expense of our beautiful predators.

So, look out for more information on these projects and try support retailers who support these initiatives. A lot of people can not afford the luxury at the moment but at least the conversation has started and hopefully will really take off when farmers learn that dogs are a fairly inexpensive and cruel free way to keep livestock safe.

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