We eat. Every single human on the planet eats, or wants to eat. With that, eating is often one of the few forms of true cultural exchange many of us will ever experience. It is far easier (and cheaper) to pick up an order of Thai food than it is to move to Thailand. Granted, many foods that have been successfully appropriated to the American palate are a watery version of their original form but at the very least, many of us are compelled to verbally stumble through a menu and proudly declare, “I would like the ummmm chow patti rag ada? You know the potato pancake things with the yummy chickpea stuff…?”
Everyone loves food, especially all 318.9 million of Americans. Thanks to World War II, agriculture has taken a hint from industry and made the production of food as mechanical and impersonal as possible. I will spare you the details. Factory farming poses some serious risks to human health (see below), the economy, as well as the environment.
Multistate Outbreaks of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O26 Infections Linked to Chipotle Mexican Grill Restaurants
Multistate Outbreak of Salmonella Paratyphi B variant L(+) tartrate(+) and Salmonella Weltevreden Infections Linked to Frozen Raw Tuna (Final Update)
Equally, there is a serious question of ethics when it comes to factory farming, specifically when dealing with meat. We love food but we don’t necessarily impart that love to the treatment of our food. Just check out this video/article for more details. [Warning – Graphic]
The horrors of particular types of meat ‘making’ are cruel and very few people would actually be capable of doing these acts themselves without some serious emotional and psychological consequences.
That is why in books like, Slaughterhouse: The Shocking Story of Greed, Neglect, and Inhumane Treatment Inside the U.S. Meat Industry and interviews conducted by organizations like Nebraska Appleseed we find statistics which indicate that counties with slaughterhouses have four times the national average of violent arrest, with significantly higher rates of alcoholism, domestic abuse, child abuse and suicide.
Statistics aside, it is pathetic to think that you are entitled to eat that which you have not or could not kill.
Most will never have an opportunity to slaughter their own meat but that does not mean that participating in factory farming is obligatory. There are more opportunities than ever to eat with a conscience. Participating in Community Support Agriculture (CSA) is an excellent means of removing yourself from most factory farming. Additionally, looking for products that are Humane Certified can also give you a clue about their processing. More importantly, educating yourself, like reading The Ethical Meat Handbook will also serve you when you make your trip to the grocery.
I would be foolish not to mention that eating ethically has a cost. In fact, you can expect to spend less, depending on if your grocery list is meat or veggie based. Most cuts of meat will be more expensive but that hefty price tag can be off set by simply eating less meat or choosing less expensive cuts. If you get a fruit and vegetable CSA, you can expect to about 650$-500$ for 20-25 weeks. This comes down to 130$ a month or less- which is a great deal. If you decide to splurge, you can add another 150$ or so and get fresh flowers every week.
Of course, you will get your monies worth if the season is good and if you can manage to find new recipes for yellow squash.
(There will be a lot of yellow squash.)
Eating with a conscience is not a yuppy past time, it is a serious life style choice and a reasonable priority for any individual.
If you find that ordering meat from a local farm, like Hickory Nut Gap Farms is not ethical enough, most state wildlife agencies have yearly hunting classes. Don’t worry you can always learn to shoot a bow if you are anti-gun. [Note: Being anti-gun is different than pro-gun control]
I also hear that fishing is a lovely past time.