The RSPCA’s exciting new initiative Choose Wisely puts power back in the hand of the consumer, allowing you to look up cafes and restaurants putting humane food on the menu, with just a click. Melissa Hobbs and Jessica Gray from the RSPCA explain how it works.
There’s a lot of talk these days about where our food comes from and how it’s been produced. The trend is moving quickly and becoming mainstream with most of us preferring to eat food that has come from animals farmed humanely. This is a big deal. It means that Australians want farm animals to have a better quality of life.
While major supermarkets are making the shift to meet consumer demand, making it easier to choose humane food when eating at home, eating out can be more challenging. And with 77 percent of people agreeing that when eating at a restaurant or cafe, it’s important that the meat, eggs and dairy products served come from animals farmed in a humane and ethical way (McCrindle Research April 2015), eateries who are working hard to put humane food on the menu should be celebrated.
Choose Wisely, an initiative of the RSPCA, is an online directory for anyone looking for a restaurant, café or eatery in their area that serves higher welfare food.
Why Choose Wisely?
“We know that people care about animal welfare, and want to ensure the food they eat comes from animals that have been treated humanely,” says Heather Neil, RSPCA Australia’s CEO.
“Choose Wisely solves this with a simple search tool that lists businesses, by locality and cuisine that are serving higher welfare food such as cage-free eggs,” she said.
When you consider that 40 percent of Australia’s eggs are used in food service and that 11 million hens are still confined to cages, this is an important issue to be passionate about!
Ms Neil said that by using Choose Wisely to find a cafe or restaurant that serves higher welfare food, consumers can now take an active role in improving the lives of farm animals in Australia.
Who’s on board?
Chef and author, Simon Bryant is a passionate supporter of humane food and the Choose Wisely initiative. He says, “I’ve noticed how many people now take a huge interest in where their food comes from and they’re rejecting inhumane farming systems. The biggest animal welfare issues are related to layer hens producing eggs, meat chickens and pigs. Getting on board with Choose Wisely is simple and a great way to support positive change.”
There are currently hundreds of businesses signed up with Choose Wisely and range from high-end dining through to cafes, takeaways and food vans. There are also a number of chains, including Three Beans and The Coffee Club that have signed up and offering humane food to their customers.
Matthew Howe, Director of Three Beans, is one such business owner who recognises the ethics and value in serving humane food. He says, “When we launched Three Beans, we made an ethical choice to use higher welfare food. While there’s still a disconnect for many people of where their food comes from, this is definitely changing.
“Being listed on the Choose Wisely directory helps bring in new customers and allows us to showcase our great food to an even bigger audience. We love being part of Choose Wisely – it’s better for animals and also makes good business sense.”
Participating Choose Wisely venues must use cage-free eggs. This is a great place for these restaurants, cafes and eateries to start making changes for the better.
There are also many businesses choosing to also use humane options for all chicken and pork products – look for businesses listed as we’re humane food all the way.
What can I do?
As a compassionate customer, you can choose wisely and visit the Choose Wisely website when you’re next eating out (make sure to bookmark it as a favourite page)! When you’re eating out, ask which dishes on the menu use humane food and only choose the ones that do. Let the establishment know that you support the steps they’re taking to serve only humane food. And if your local isn’t on board yet, get them to sign up here. It’s quick, easy and free.
You can also keep up to date with developments on social media: Facebook, Twitter (@RSPCA) and Instagram (#RSPCAchoosewisely). Don’t forget to spread the word among friends and family, using hashtags #RSPCAchoosewisely #ichosewisely #eathumane #humanefood and #cagefreeeggs to share that you’re choosing wisely.