Electricity from waste meat criticized by campaigning group

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

The Vegetarian and animal rights charity Viva! - but then what do you expect from an organizations that is called “Viva! - Vegetarians International Voice for Animals” - has attacked the UK's leading supermarket TESCO after it said it burnt waste meat for energy.

TESCO, which recently claimed to have diverted 100% of its waste from landfills, is throwing 5000 tonnes of unsold meat into incinerators each year.

The supermarket said this generated about 2500 mega watt hours of renewable electricity – enough to power more than 600 homes for a year.

Viva! campaigns manager, Justin Kerswell, said: “It's a sad indictment of modern life that not only hundreds of millions of animals are killed each year in the UK, but so much meat is left over from greed and indifference.”

“To turn this wasted meat into power might seem like a good idea at first, but you have to ask yourself why is so much left over and why are so many animals dying to provide this excess?”

“Whatever savings are made by turning this meat into energy is more than voided by the huge amount of greenhouses gases generated by the farming and production of the meat in the first place. TESCO should take a long hard look at their wasteful practices.”

TESCO executive director Lucy Neville-Rolfe explained the supermarket chain had a 'responsibility to provide leadership' in environmental technology.

The company has even managed to achieve the target of diverting 100% of waste from landfill a year ahead of its planned schedule.

Whatever Viva! may say, in my opinion, while it is understandable to be concerned about the fact that so much meat remains unsold (and we can but wonder how much other foods, etc. also remain unsold and are thrown away), it is certainly better to use that waste meat for the generation of electricity rather than to have it rot away in landfill and create methane that, eventually, will leach into the atmosphere.

As far as I am concerned I would say a “well done!” to TESCO and hope that others will follow suit, including abattoirs.

A postscript here as well: Viva! would do well to remember that under the British Charity laws political campaigning is not permitted – at least the various Romani-Gypsy organizations have been told that – and maybe the Charity Commissioners should take a closer look at things.

© 2009