I am a foodie.
I love to cook with and eat a great diversity of ingredients, including some animal products.
Nutrition and taste are very important to me, but above all else, I strive to consume food that was produced in a way that treats our planet, fellow animals (including those we use for food) and fellow humans with respect.
When we purchase a butchered and packaged piece of meat for a price that makes meat consumption affordable on a daily basis, it is easy to ignore (or even be unaware) of the cruelty with which animals, humans and our land have been treated to bring us dinner.
Here are some things to consider when purchasing factory farmed meat.
Factory Farmed Cows.
Cows are fed grain, not grass which is their natural diet.
Many cows suffer severe digestive disorders because they cannot process the grains they are fed.
Cows stand in piles of their own feces leading to various bacterial infections.
Cows are given copious amounts of antibiotics to combat the disease caused by their unhealthy living conditions; the antibiotics are then passed onto the human through the consumption of meat.
Many cows are so ill at slaughter that they cannot stand. They are then dragged and prodded with heavy machinery until forced to stand briefly enough to be legally slaughtered.
Chickens (and other birds) have been genetically engineered to produce more breast meat. These animals are now so heavy in the chest that they cannot stand up.
Chickens are crammed into dark, windowless sheds.
The chickens are so crowded that some inevitably die from being trampled upon by other chickens.
Because the chickens become aggressive in such crowded conditions, some chickens will have their sensitive beaks removed, which is very painful.
When being transported for slaughter, chickens are grabbed by the legs and tossed into crowded crates, resulting in more death before slaughter.
The above highlights only a small portion of what is wrong with factory farmed meat and does not even begin to address the adverse effects these methods have on our land, water, health and those who work in the industry.
What can you do?
1. Stimulate your local economy and purchase local, sustainably produced meat.
When first making this switch, many are appalled at how expensive the meat can be.
There is a reason meat is and should be expensive. Think of all the time, work, and resources that go into raising an animal for slaughter—the land, the feed and the care of responsible humans.
2. Try making meat a treat at home.
If you’re accustomed to eating meat daily, try going down to a few days a week. Or maybe, make a larger cut over the weekend to use leftovers throughout the week.
3. Experiment with less expensive cuts of meat.
4. Find a farm that will butcher and sell you whole, half, or quarter cows, pigs, lambs, etc.
In order to make it affordable, consider going in with some friends.
Food is a vehicle for creativity, nourishment and communion with our friends and family.
In this spirit, may we all be mindful of what we eat and foster well being to all who aid in producing our food, including the animals we consume.
Anomaly, Jonathan. What’s Wrong With Factory Farming? Public Health Ethics 2014 : phu001v1-phu001.
Philpott, Tom. “What the USDA Doesn’t Want You to Know About Antibiotics and Factory Farms.” Mother Jones, 29 July 2011.
“Food Inc.” Dir. Robert Kenner. 2009. Film.
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