2010 & 2011: 'CLINIC'

On the 29th of January 2010, The Meat Licence Proposal introduced - 'CLINIC' - a new consultation framework for engaging the public with aspects of the proposed Meat Licencing Law.

Outlined below are some of the contributions put forward during January's Meat Licence Proposal 'CLINIC' session, along with the suggested remedies:

ETHICS:

Event organiser Nils, was the first 'CLINIC' guinea pig (thanks Nils!)  His immediate issue was simply that some individuals who currently eat meat would not feel able to kill animals (on ethical grounds) and that this could lead to people eating meat in secret - without the Licence.

ENFORCEMENT

Any Meat Licencing Legislation will have to face up to the problem of secret Meat Eaters or "Meat Heads" (to use a phrase coined by Liverpool author Arthur Ellison.)

How could such a law be enforced?

We looked to current examples where individuals already 'secretly' break laws and could identify 3 clear strategies which might be implemented:

  1. Social Monitoring - for the law to be successful, there would need to be a degree of 'social stigma' attached to unlicenced meat eating so that neighbours could report one another to relevant authorities (and this is already the case with other unlicenced activities - trade, performance, events etc.)
  2. CCTV - existing CCTV operatives could be instructed to monitor eating habits and this would provide evidence in the case of any dispute regarding licenced status.
  3. Implement Technologies which 'sense' meat eating.  (An analogy might be drawn here to vehicle speed cameras which use sensors to detect the speed at which individuals are travelling and administer penalties for lawbreaking.)

PRACTICALITY

An anonymous contributor was concerned at the practical difficulty involved in obtaining the licence - especially with people's lives being so busy.

How might inconvenience and bureaucracy be minimised in the act Licencing?

A novel and convenient solution was proposed where individuals could kill smaller animals in their own homes using commercially available domestic appliances such as a "Home Chicken Killer" or "Home Rabbit Killer."  This is a highly practical solution for pro-active citizens.

SOCIAL

Philippe and Marina brought up a highly important problem:  Many urban dwellers are totally unfamiliar with the process whereby meat arrives.  If individuals have never been around animals, killing them could seem socially unacceptable and breed divisions amongst friends.

Three very positive policies were suggested for socialising the process of killing:

  1. More animals need to be integrated into the city environment (through city farm projects, animal adoption schemes etc.)
  2. All chefs and meat handlers could be required to deal with meat "on the hoof" so that the conceptual link between animal and meat is retained until the point of consumption.
  3. Children in reception class could be schooled in 'killing' through abatoir visits and lessons akin to science class dissections.

ECONOMIC

Gallerist, Aoife Van Linden Tol felt that the Proposal itself is being marketed in a negative and moralising way - especially with the use of the words "ought" and "should."

Popular appeal for the licence could be generated through incentivisation schemes from central government and industry.  In-keeping with the current 'organic farming movement' the status of licenced meat could be made even more precious and a workable market model could be developed, truly integrating The Meat Licence Proposal into British Society.

Branding strategies could include:

  • setting a high standard through hierarchies of Licence (for individuals, distribution and meat production)
  • use of Meat Licence Proposal symbol on meat products so that individuals can show support for the Proposal through their purchases
  • "participatory production line" events at slaughterhouses where families and friends can obtain their licence together.

"Ultimately, The Meat Licence Proposal must engage and identify with the values of 'the market' where PRODUCTION (killing animals) is about making money and CONSUMPTION (eating meat) is about getting what we want."


The Meat Licence Proposal wishes to thank Anita McKeown of "Tasty! Talks" for the opportunity to launch this new scheme and Nils, (organisor of Dirty Cop Friday) for hosting 'CLINIC' at the Old Deptford Police Station, Deptford.