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Getting to grips with a meaty subject

AAP logoAAP 21/10/2016 Danielle McGrane

Gourmet Farmer presenter Matthew Evans went into the making of his new documentary, For The Love Of Meat, with his eyes open.

In an effort to help connect meat eaters to where their meat comes from, he knew he could encounter some unpleasant scenes.

"I'm not totally naive. I was aware of stories on the internet that you might get animal welfare issues but most of those things are worst case scenarios, and are put in front of us by people who want us to stop eating meat," Evans said.

"I wanted to know if someone who had chosen to eat meat, like myself and most people in Australia, whether they could eat meat with a clear conscience."

There are moments in the show that will shock people, he says, but he thinks it's important that meat eaters care about the animals, the environment and the health impact of eating meat, especially considering Australians are the second largest meat consumers per capita in the world, after Americans.

"You might get surprised at the clinical nature of a chicken processing plant or the sheer numbers, but that's reality. The aim of the show is not to try and turn people off eating meat, it's just all about information," he said.

But Evans was, at times, taken aback at what he saw.

"I guess when you're standing in a chicken processing plant and they're killing 100,000 birds in a day it drives home the scale of what they're doing," he said.

"And I didn't walk out of there thinking 'I'm gagging for a roast chook dinner'."

Evans has made some lifestyle changes as a result of making the documentary.

"Making this show has made me far more conscious of moderating my meat intake," he said.

" I know it's fine to have that big juicy T-bone but there's no necessity for me to eat meat three days either side of that."

He's hopeful the series will help spread a broader message, which isn't about turning Australians off meat, but rather encouraging them to reduce their intake.

"There are lots of countries in the world who have a better reputation for food than we do, so it's not about eating badly," he said.

"It's not about sacrifice and martyring yourself. It's about saying `maybe we need to learn from human history and cultural activity' in that we don't have to have meat as much, we don't have to have it every day."

*For The Love Of Meat airs on Thursday on SBS at 7.30pm

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