In 2010 I saw the documentary 'Food Inc.' at BAFTA - a deeply unflattering look inside America's corporate-controlled food industry and its knock-on effects to the country's farmers and the health of its citizens. The film showed that the Big Food corporations put their vast profits way above a nation's health and that this is happening on a global basis.
In 1992, Craig went into chicken farming to feed his family and be his own boss. He soon found he was anything but. And, after 22 years of farming, he has done something no one has done before. He gave us, two long-standing animal welfare advocates, unrestricted access to his farm where he raises chickens for US poultry giant Perdue...
The pigs were crammed in; moving, squealing, eating, shitting - these animals didn't have the luxury of outdoor exercise or daylight. This barn (more like a warehouse in fact) was home for now. Locals told us the farm contained 13,000 pigs, and was an intensive piglet "nursery", where young animals were brought from breeding establishments elsewhere to fatten up before being dispatched to the slaughterhouse and people's dinner plates.
We all know the reality: that humans' inhumanity and gratuitous disdain towards the animals in our control will continue. Nevertheless, when petitions are signed and a little more thought is given to what we eat, wear, use for medicine, the number of animals that are forced to suffer so dreadfully might be just a little smaller.
'Cultured beef', 'shamburgers', laboratory meat. Those who are put off the idea of eating meat that has been processed from the stem cells of an animal and developed in a laboratory say its unnaturalness is the principle reason for their distaste. But when animals are reared intensively for meat that is hardly more natural.
The recent laboratory development of an in-vitro beef burger created from stem cells is causing quite a buzz amongst consumers. Most people's first reaction is one of disgust and trepidation. And then the many questions: how can I eat meat that was grown in a lab made possible only by human engineering?
In the last several years the European Union has implemented bans on many inhumane practices of confining farm animals. Key measures included ending lifelong confinement of breeding pigs in sow crates as well as ending the use of conventional battery cages for confining egg-laying hens and the use of veal crates for restraining baby cows.
It's a simple word, but these four letters quite literally mean the world to us. Everywhere you look, food (or the absence of it) is a defining feature of society. Food fuels us, sells products, titillates and amuses, provides social cohesion, stimulates endless foodie conversations and raises the 'celebrity chef' to an almost god-like status. A lack of food fuels hunger, poverty and even war.