Summer BBQs & Food Sources

August 16th, 2011 by The Responsibility Project

Should we know the source of our meals before enjoying them?

Brought to you by Liberty Mutual's
The Responsibility Project

Burgers, hot dogs, steak tips…lessons in food sources? In backyard barbecues and get-togethers across the country during the summer months, meat is often front-and-center at mealtime.

And if all those burgers have you or your children wondering about the sources of some of your favorite summer dishes, there was one lesson on the subject that was hard to miss last year.

According to London newspapers, British primary school head Andrea Charman set up a small farm, where her young students bottle-fed three lambs – including one named Marcus – “as part of a project to learn about their rural environment, farming, and where food really came from.” One lamb was to be slaughtered and its meat sold in order to raise money to buy more animals.

But when parents learned that Marcus would be going to market, some said their children had been “traumatized” and “needed counseling.” An animal rights group denounced the project as “inhumane and irresponsible,” Facebook pages were set up to “Save Marcus” and ban Charman from teaching, and personal threats against her were posted online, including one about burning down the school.

Charman then resigned, but not before saying, “Many children don’t realize animals they probably pass every week end up on their plate in one form or another.” Marcus was a neutered male, she said. “His purpose is meat.”
Tell us what you think: Is it responsible to use live animals to teach children where food comes from? And if you currently eat meat, would the firsthand lesson detract you from enjoying your next barbecue?

(A portion of this story was previously published as “This Little Marcus Went to Market” on The Responsibility Project on 4/2/10)