Cheap meat putting animals, humans at risk

Nov. 28, 2005 at 8:54 PM
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LONDON, Nov. 28 (UPI) -- A letter in the British Medical Journal says cheap meat is hurting both animals and humans.

The writers argue cheap food, particularly meat, is linked to reduced human health and reduced farm animal welfare.

The 20th century's drive to lower food prices has resulted in many hidden costs for consumers, animals and society, said Caroline Hewson, research chair in animal welfare at Atlantic Veterinary College in Charlotte Town, PE, Canada and Tim Lang, professor of food policy at City University in London.

They said doctors and veterinarians have an important opportunity to guide the public about these costs and to encourage the relevant policymakers to make changes.

"Historically, a good public health case existed for reducing the price of foods, particularly meats," they said. "Vets helped deliver that policy. Today, veterinarians help farmers control the diseases and other welfare concerns that intensive farming inadvertently promotes."

Doctors, they said, deal both with farmers' health, as they struggle to remain in business and with the public's health, damaged by the modern diet.

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