I’m still a meat-eater, obviously, and my love of meat (or belief that meat-eating, if done responsibly, is healthy, natural, and basically A-OK) isn’t going anywhere. But I want to be clear on this point: I no longer purchase meat from industrial farms, and have learned enough about the subject that I now feel that seeking out cruelty-free producers is 100% worth the extra time and expense.

Things Change

OK: time to revist the issue of meat-eating. Why? Because last night, when I was wandering through the meat aisle in the Food Emporium in search of the perfect chicken to roast up for dinner, I realized that anything bearing the Perdue label no longer even registers as a possible purchase for me…and I think that’s pretty cool, because it certainly hasn’t always been so.

I spoke out about my feelings on this topic once before, and I want to say that I was wrong (or at least uninformed). I didn’t know much about the issues at play here, mostly because my primary concern at the time was putting delicious dinners on our table for the lowest possible amount of money (and unfortunately, we all know who sells the cheapest, biggest chicken breasts). I still prioritize high-flavor and low-expense when it comes to food, but what I’ve learned over the past few months (mostly from online research following a tear-filled experience watching Food, Inc alone late at night after a couple of glasses of wine) has led me to make some changes in my approach to eating meat.

I’m still a meat-eater, obviously, and my love of meat (or belief that meat-eating, if done responsibly, is healthy, natural, and basically A-OK) isn’t going anywhere. While I respect the rights of others not to eat meat, I don’t see vegetarianism (much less veganism) anywhere in my future (although I suppose you never know). But I want to be clear on this point: I no longer purchase meat from industrial farms, and have learned enough about the subject that I now feel that seeking out cruelty-free producers is 100% worth the extra time and expense. I don’t think that makes me a saint…I think that makes me a responsible meat-eater. I continue, however, to refuse to judge those who choose to eat industrially farmed meat: I judge the people who run these miserable operations, knowing full-well what they’re doing.

So that’s where I stand, but there are sites that can speak to these issues with much more authority than I, so it’s link time. Go HERE to learn more about the dangers of factory farming, and HERE to read a great article about “ethical omnivores” (meat-eaters who will only eat meat and dairy products raised in a cruelty-free environment).

Finally, a few resources (via VegSource) for meat-eaters who would like to support cruelty-free brands:

EAT WELL GUIDE

ANIMAL WELFARE APPROVED

CERTIFIED HUMANE

AMERICAN GRASS FED

Happy

(and healthy)

(and responsible)

eating!

  • http://thirtydollarproject.tumblr.com/ $30 Project

    you should read this review of Simon Fairlie's new book “Meat: A Benign Extravagance.” I plan to read it because it sounds like Fairlie is supporting the “its not meat eating BUT THE INDUSTRY that is wrong” theory, which I have thought for quite a while.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/sep/06/meat-production-veganism-deforestation

  • http://twitter.com/MESSAGINGROBOT JENNIFER YOUNG

    If people didn't eat meat from factory farms, those factory farms would be forced to change their practices or go out of business. They won't effectuate humane, environmentally friendly changes voluntarily, because that would cut into their profits. That means that either consumers need to demand changes or the government must require them. They won't happen on their own. I think it all starts with education, because that will cause people to change their food purchase choices and then demand change from the government. Unfortunately, I'm not sure that many people want to know the truth, or are interested in changing their diets/food purchase choices once they learn. Maybe I'm just being pessimistic.

  • MiaEliza

    Like you, I've drastically changed my eating habits in the past year and would never consider buying a Purdue chicken or a Tyson pork product, etc. I'd rather just not eat meat than eat factory farmed animals. Some of this change in my thinking was due to the movie Food, Inc and books by Michael Pollen, but I would definitely credit Jonathan Safran Foer's, Eating Animals as having the biggest impact on the way I think about and consume food. If you haven't already done so, I would highly suggest reading it, as it's a very realistic, extremely well researched and yet non-preachy look at factory farming and vegetarianism.

  • loni

    Jordan, I thought you might be interested in hearing about the law suit against Perdue since you have posted about the issue of choosing “humanely raised” meat. “The Humane Society of the United States announced the filing of a class action lawsuit against the nation’s third-largest poultry producer, Perdue Farms, over the company’s alleged false advertising of factory farmed chicken products as “humane.” It just shows that we really a need another level of investigation into what these labels mean. Can anyone who pays get their food stamped with “humane”? How do the standards for raising an animal humanely actually differ from industry standards. I think there is a lot left to learn here.

    • Anonymous

      i agree, and i definitely struggle with that every time i purchase meat from the supermarket. all the labels – “organically raised”, “cruelty-free”, “farm-raised”, “organic” – i have no idea what they mean, or how they differ from one another.

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