Put photos of conditions animals were kept in on meat packaging, urges Chris Packham

Chris Packham

Chris Packham. Image: Jo Garbutt

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Naturalist Chris Packham has called on the food industry to put "factual photographs" of the conditions animals are kept in on meat packaging.

Appearing on the drive show with Eamonn Holmes, Packham, who has been a vegetarian for around 30 years, called for a system similar to that of the tobacco industry, where graphic images of disease are pictured on cigarettes boxes.

"If we put factual photographs of the conditions animals are kept in on the packaging, people will look at it and think 'I'm prepared to eat meat coming from a source which is like that', or 'I'm not prepared to do it'. It would give people choice," he said.



"My thought was when we were targeting the tobacco industry. We got to the point where we were putting photographs on the packaging of infected organs. Had I been a smoker I'm sure when I saw those I would have thought twice about continuing to poison myself."

The presenter and author added that the move could lower meat consumption in the country, allowing us to reap the environmental benefits, as well as rewarding farmers who look after their animals.


'We need to eat less meat'

Supermarket meat aisle. Image: Getty

"If it were to come to fruition, it would benefit the good farmers as much as it might punish those where animals are being kept in poor conditions," Packham explained.

"We need to eat less meat and there are three good reasons for that. Our health, our planet's health - we know that with the burgeoning human population and its increasing demand for meat we can't sustain the levels of meat production we have at the moment its not ecologically, economically viable -  and the third thing is standards of animal welfare."

He added: "We should have the capacity to look at things we're going to buy and see very precisely what's in them, where they come from and what their cost is. Not just the pounds and pence but the environmental cost as well. At the moment it's very difficult to do that."