Mindful Monday – Slaughterhouses – who is watching?

MindfulMondayEach time You eat something, You are endorsing the journey it has travelled to your mouth so here are some delicious and mindful eating recipes for you to enjoy.

I have two recipes today because I think they go great together, along with a chunk of baguette or banting-friendly seed crackers (recipe to come).


9Olive Tapenade


200 g (300 ml) pitted Calamata or black olives, drained
2 anchovy fillets, rinsed
1 small clove garlic, crushed
2 tbsp (30 ml) capers
2 to 3 large fresh basil leaves
1 tbsp (15 ml) freshly-squeezed lemon juice
2 tbsp (30 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
a pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)


Thoroughly rinse the olives in cool water to remove excess brine. Place all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor. Process for a minute, then stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Continue to process for another minute or until the mixture becomes a coarse paste. Transfer to a bowl and serve.



1½ cups (375 ml) cooked chickpeas
1 tbsp (15 ml) tahini (p 48) or plain yoghurt
1 to 2 tbsp (15 to 30 ml) freshly-squeezed lemon juice, or to taste
2 tbsp (30 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tsp (5 ml) cumin seeds, ground
a pinch of cayenne pepper, or to taste
1 tsp (5 ml) unrefined or herbal salt
1 to 2 tbsp (15 ml to 30 ml) purified water for a thinner consistency (or use a little water from the cooked chickpeas)
1 tbsp (15 ml) chopped fresh coriander (optional)

Mash or lightly pulse all the ingredients together in a food processor. Add more water if too thick.



The transport and slaughter process is always stressful for animals. Herded together in trucks to be transported for often many hours without room to lie down is a traumatic experience. At abattoirs there is also no regular independent oversight of these slaughter processes. The recent discovery of ill-treatment of lambs by NSPCA, during a routine inspection of GWK Abattoir further highlights concerns in our meat industry.

According to the 2012 Profile of the South African Beef Market Value Chain, South Africa has approximately 495 abattoirs and 70 feedlots. “Approximately 40% of all slaughtering are performed by abattoirs that may slaughter an unlimited number of animals (Class A) and approximately 60% of cattle are slaughtered by highly regulated abattoirs (Class A & B). Most of these abattoirs have linkages with feedlots. Over the past ten years the number of cattle slaughtered has significantly increased by 15% leading to 43% increase in beef production. This may be due to increasing demand. ”

EATegrity is concerned that there are not enough adequate welfare provisions in the Meat Safety Act 40 of 2000 and the South African Abattoir Corporation Act, 1992. These acts would seem to be mainly concerned about hygiene and disease risks. Another concern is that there are no government authorities monitoring or enforcing the Animal Protection Act 71 of 1962, particularly at abattoirs.

Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of lack of animal protection requirments in the South African Constitution. South Africa produces various agricultural products of world class high quality for export and we comply with international safety and hygiene requirements; we ask that our animal welfare code of conduct should match the highest of international standards too. Shouldn’t animal welfare be of the same importance to our global trade partners?



Further reading

Sonia Mountford

Sonia Mountford lived as an expat in the Middle East for a number of years and enjoyed travelling and exposure to third and first world cultures. Her interest in food security began while visiting in Sri Lanka after floods and discovering the politics around Food Aid. As a co-founder of Grass Consumer Action and the only full time member, she spent four years researching the dysfunctional food system in South Africa, investigating, questioning and exposing misleading claims. Although her interests range from food politics to toxins in our food, including harmful ingredients in processed foods and Big Food influence; she soon came to realize that the most important part of the food journey begins on farms. For that reason she spends much of her time visiting farms, learning and talking about constraints and concerns in production methods with farmers. Passionate about nutritional food security she believes higher animal welfare farming practices are not only necessary for ethical reasons but also for human health. She is an ambassador for SOIL, BEES and healthy WATER. Mountford started EATegrity (eategrity.co.za) “Helping You Find Integrity in the Food Chain” in 2015. Her aim is create greater consumer awareness about the food chain and to encourage transparency in the South African food industry.

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