Agriculture Industry Urged to Start Open Conversation about Where Meat Comes From
October 14, 2016

Parents talk to their kids about the birds and the bees, but how do they answer the question about where meat comes from?

Heather Bray, Ph.D., a science communicator and researcher from Adelaide University, told the Australian Lot Feeders Conference that the red-meat industry needed to "own the space" on explaining to consumers, and particularly their children, where meat comes from.

Bray is currently researching how, in an era of rural-urban divide with animal welfare-conscious consumers, children are educated about the connection between the animal in the paddock and the food on the plate. She said the most surprising finding in the study was that most people believed conversations should be happening with children younger than 5 years of age.

"Parents are interested in this subject and there is some anxiety there when it comes to explaining it to children," Bray said. "Many kids have already talked about it before they have started school. So I think this idea that talking about where meat comes from in an open and honest way [when] kids are much older is a misperception. And I think this is an opportunity for engagement, because it means these conversations are happening with young children and they are happening in the home when meals are being produced and consumed."

Bray said the findings allowed industry to ask new questions around how to enable those conversations, how to provide parents with the information they needed and how to be open and transparent.

Reprinted in part from ABCRural.AU