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Mums school children on meat: study

Children are learning what ‘farm to table’ means at a young age. A University of Adelaide study has revealed parents are generally teaching their kids about the source of meat before they start school.

“There’s a perception that it’s easier to speak with children about these issues while they’re still young”, said Dr Heather Bray, senior research associate with the U of A’s food values research group and study co-author.

The study, to be published in the journal Appetite, revealed gender disparities in the 225 people surveyed. Women were more likely to be conscious of their own meat-eating choices, and to encourage their children to do the same.

“The majority of men believed children should eat what is served to them without question”, Bray said. Men also mostly took the view that meat formed part of a healthy diet, consistent with the Australian Dietary Guidelines.

Differences also arose based on location. City-dwellers tended to avoid having ‘the talk’ with their kids due to a perceived lack of knowledge of the topic. Those from the country tended not to have this issue.

Study co-author professor Rachel Ankeny, leader of the food values research group, said the study’s findings subverted the misconception that “conversations about food production belong in schools”.

She suggested that the findings would help people recognise how families could shape wider conversations about meat production and the ethical treatment of animals.

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