Judging meat quality
I have had some great feedback on my post on Thea from the Youth Food Movement’s blog post of her reflections of her visit to an abattoir
I have never visited an abattoir and it’s not on my wish list and pretty confident it won’t ever be.
I don’t visit third world countries either. In this case it’s because I don’t want to see other people living in poverty. Whenever we needed an animal euthanized on our farm we got an external person into do it. Not an ideal mindset for a farmer perhaps but I can live with it. Kudos to people like Thea who make the effort to see it for themselves and make their own minds up based on personal experiences. Quoting Thea
Meat eating after all is a conversation which tends to polarise in the extreme.
If anything, the experience reminded me of why I believe transparency is so damn important and reinforced my belief that if we’re going to let people make their own decisions about what they eat, then we also need to let them in on the story of how their food is produced – whether it creeps them out or not – and respect their right to make informed food choices based on that accurate information.
………While I still sometimes question the ethics of eating animals when I have replacements to hand, I don’t question the humanity of those who work in it. Nor will I stop pushing for transparency around those things that give us the creeps. Source
With regards to the abattoir process I am absolutely fascinated by the ability of the Intercollegiate Meat Judging Competition to attract people to careers in agriculture
I have just had an external evaluation of The Archibull Prize done to determine whether it had achieved its objectives of using creative arts and multimedia to engage urban and rural school students to:
- Consider agriculture related careers;
- Expand their understanding of farming; and
- Understand the challenges of farming
The report highlighted the power of sending young people from the farming sector into schools to inspire an appreciation of farming and careers in the sector. A lot of our Young Farming Champions too have been part of the Intercollegiate Meat Judging Competition and are wax lyrical about it. In fact, we had one of our YFC participate as part of the Australian team at the international finals last December.
Congratulations to the very successful Aussie Intercollegiate Meat judging team. Read more here
According to their website this competition has the following project objectives
The objective of the Intercollegiate Meat Judging Competition is to provide an opportunity for students to learn and to build the pool of intelligent young meat industry representatives, fired with enthusiasm who will give the Australian meat industry the expertise and drive to compete in the meat quality world of the future.
This is done through:
- Exposing students to the fundamentals of meat quality education.
- Demonstrating to students how and why markets perceive meat quality differently and highlighting the various carcase specifications required by these markets.
- Exposing students to different systems of meat identification and classification
- Providing training and a non-threatening competitive environment to assist students develop confidence and communication skills.
- Providing an opportunity for students to acquire and apply knowledge of practical aspects of meat science.
- Raising students’ awareness of career opportunities that exist in the meat industry.
- Exposing students to the requirements of the end-user (consumer)
- Exposing student to new technologies within the meat industry.
If my experience is anything to go by the ICMJ competition achieves this in spades. And if I have got it right the program includes visits to abattoirs. What a great job it is doing of sharing the farm to fork story in a pragmatic way and inspiring a passion for careers in the beef industry and in the case of YFC Dr Steph Fowler (picture below) it can even inspire a PhD in Meat Science
Dr Steph Fowler – meat scientist
Now here is an interesting site for those who want to learn more about Australian Abattoirs