Eblex calls on international meat industry to work together

By Ed Bedington

- Last updated on GMT

Cross said it was vital that the international meat community worked together
Cross said it was vital that the international meat community worked together

Related tags Red meat Beef Lamb

A competition which pitches three nations butchery skills against each other serves to illustrate that, when it comes to the global meat trade, we are "all on the same side", guests at the gala dinner for the Tri-Nations Butchers’ Challenge were told.

Welcoming competitors and guests from Australia and New Zealand to Butchers’ Hall in London, John Cross, chairman of UK levy body Eblex, said: "Occasions like this serve to illustrate – in case we lose sight of the fact – that we are all on the same side. We are about producing and selling quality red meat, presented to a high standard that gives the consumer a good eating experience. We all want to sell more meat. There are plenty of people out there who want to eat it. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? But we all know it is not quite that cut and dried.

"While, at times, we may be competing in a congested marketplace, we all want people to maintain the meat-eating habit. We do that by producing consistent, high-quality product. That is at the core of what we do, whichever side of the planet you live on."

As a result, he said it was vital that the international meat community worked together: "It is natural that we should be sharing good practice globally, and that is an important part of what the Tri-Nations Butchers’ Challenge is all about."

He said that the meat industry found itself under attack from multiple fronts, a challenge that all countries shared. "Whether it be suggested links between red meat and health issues, or the natural by-product of the ruminant, methane, being blamed almost exclusively for global warming, leading to calls for people to stop eating red meat to save the planet, we have our fair share of obstacles to overcome on a daily basis. And deal with them we do – and the more closely aligned we are on this, the stronger we are.

"We should never forget that we work with a product that people want to eat. I don’t know what the figures are for Australia and New Zealand, but in the UK, vegetarians make up just 3% of the population, despite the best efforts of Paul McCartney. That figure has been fairly static for some years.

"Red meat is nutritionally dense, it makes best use of natural resources – and it tastes good. It is our challenge to ensure the animals are raised with the highest welfare values, producing high-quality, consistent products, and that the cuts are butchered and presented in a way that does justice to the time, care and love that has gone into producing the meat. I take great pride in that, and you should too."

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