Obtaining the Meat Licence

Submitted by John_O on Sun, 01/20/2013 - 19:23

Image: stills from video test / Sascha Landschoff

Whilst travelling back from the Netherlands at the end of last year, I managed have a quick meeting at Schiphol Airport with Sascha Landshoff, a photographer and chef who came to me with an interesting query:  "I would like to be the first chef to obtain this licence. Is there a possibility we could make this work?" Sascha explained a familiar scenario: despite being a chef and handling meat on a daily basis, he feels conflicted because he never comes into contact with animals.

How to obtain the Meat Licence?

Sascha was curious how a procedure could work for obtaining the licence: "You state that: It is through a specific and supervised engagement in the act of killing an animal, that citizens will obtain their meat license… but what is fully meant by 'engagement in act of killing' ?" Since 2008, this question has been the real challenge behind the ethical concerns of the Meat Licence Proposal - how might such a system work in practice? (both legally and logistically?)  

We swapped different systems for ensuring that the engagement with the act of killing the animal might be considered acceptible - using regular slaughter procedures? Or with a knife - more like halal/kosher? Or in a "wild" hunting scenario? We were also concerned to ensure that the action was legal within the local authority. 

Another important question is ensuring that the actual kill can be authenticated: how can we say that a photograph (for instance) is a true representation and that the date and time can be confirmed?  Perhaps a contract involving witnesses would be appropriate?

Having agreed that there are multiple ways to proceed - and that the important thing is we document our journey and arrive at a solution which can be replicated by many - we now have an opportunity to test the Meat Licence Proposal out for real:  Over the next six months, in dialogue and with support from myself, Sascha will investigate, document and ultimately obtain his Meat Licence.  This will be the first officially sanctioned (and legally authentic) Meat Licence in the world. Updates regarding progress will be posted here.

John O'Shea, 20th January 2013