“Were these happy chickens?” daughter who is our baby asks in that cute, smiling way that doesn’t offend, but she really does want it confirmed by the organic farmer that this meat once had a real life.
For the agriculture part of her studies, she has read many books. Initially, just one (non-sensationalist) book on raising animals for food in America put her off eating meat for years. The average American has NO idea of how inhumanely our food animals are *conceived* *raised* and slaughtered (that is indeed the word to use), and how contaminated they are in the gutting processing. (In one article I read today, a 2011 report from the FDA says that via processing: 90% of chicken, 91% of ground turkey, 88% of ground beef, and 80% of pork chops are contaminated. With FECAL matter.)
We also have no idea how bad the methane-producing animals are for our environment. Water and land wise. It is estimated that if we even went to one meatless day, the result of this seemingly small footprint would be the equivalent of the whole nation switching to unleaded gasoline.
Also, there’s that little matter of our colon cancer — utterly absent in parts of the world where beef cows aren’t consumed. We’ve been sold a bill of goods about how we need protein, calcium, iron, Omega-3 and all other nutrients that can only be found in meat, dairy and eggs. However, that’s false. All those nutrients are found in AS healthy levels in plants.
The WHO says that 80% of all heart attacks, strokes, and Type 2 diabetes can be PREVENTED. And a lesser but real shocker: Chicken actually has more cholesterol than pork chops — who knew??
I was nearly a vegan for 4 years (pre-gall bladder issue days). I did it because I wanted to be able to look animals in the eye, after having visited some cow farms where I learned that the infant cow is removed from Mom after a WEEK (suckling just enough to flow the milk for US) and is bottle fed (and desperately suckles fingers), all while Mom calls out for the calf.. She will be re-bred/inseminated shortly. Over and over and over, until she gives out.
Anyway, if only I liked beans and legumes. Yuck. I can choke down some lentils… So, it was hard. One of the first things I noticed upon giving up animal flesh (not sea creature flesh, as a waitress snootily pointed out in a restaurant..), was a tremendous need to salt everything WAY more to make it edible. Well, not only are our animals injected with and soaked in salt to add package weight, but of course, blood contains a great deal of salt.
Daughter, like my sister-in-law, will only eat a bit of chicken or beef or whatever from either truly free-range or self-hunted animals (they don’t raise any). Mostly, it is a special occasion only that finds them eating flesh. But it better damned well be formerly happy flesh. And I’m not totally vegan — nutrition is tricky for someone like me — but I’d like to be, so everyone, keep looking to create/alter products that can very naturally (and low-fat-ly!) keep life going until it far more naturally than usual stops, mutually. It is my responsibility to keep looking for this.
Finally, and I know I have not changed any bacon-loving minds — nothing but time ever really does that, and one’s own research, of course — Sir Paulie and his family and millions of others advocate for Meatless Mondays. It really and truly makes a big difference.
I don’t support fish farming, either. Imagine living in a tank. All your life.. it’s neither right, nor fair, and it is definitely not what was meant by man “having dominion” over other creatures. Again, “surf and turf” shall rule the land, I know — but we need to think about it all, and need to develop a plan of lessening consumption, at least, for everyone’s sake. That is truly our responsibility to all who do and who will share this finite planet. It is our responsibility as parents, too.
Our moms said, “Everything in moderation.” They were right — and that was even before the 132-ounce sodas came to be-gorilla our own youths. God, too, would’ve said, “Everything in moderation,” but He already knew we’d have to keep telling each other in every generation — and keep on working toward defining “moderation” in food-rich nations like America.