Monday Meating

As Shelby said, “It’s time! It’s time!”

I’ve had a meating of my two minds and decided to stop eating meat if I don’t know its source—not the animal source but the farm source.

No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t unlearn all I know about the inhumane treatment of animals in factory farms. And since something like 99% of the food we get from grocery stores and restaurants come from factory farms, well….

I’ve been a hypocrite, really. I admire wolves and I can’t stand that there are open hunting seasons on them in places like Idaho and Minnesota. Yet, I’ll eat BBQ from a restaurant that buys its pork from a farm in Colorado that forces their sows into metal crates that prevent them from even turning around. For most of their lives. Seriously.

Unfortunately for these mother pigs:

“A pregnant sow’s biological need to build a nest before having her litter is so great that some sows confined in modern hog buildings will rub their snouts raw on the concrete floor while trying to satisfy the drive.”

That’s not even from PETA. That’s from The Des Moines Register.

I’ve been sitting around waiting for something, a large stick maybe, to prod me into making a decision. And then, two weeks ago, I had this thought:

I would never let my children kick a dog or shoot a BB gun at a squirrel or throw rocks at a horse. Why in the world do I not only allow people to abuse cows, pigs, lambs, and other animals, but I give them my money to do it?

I’ve come to see that I’m enriching people whose business it is to be cruel to animals.

I am okay with eating meat. I am not okay with eating meat from animals that were abused so I could eat them.

It’s not any better that I don’t see the abuse—if my son kicked a dog with my back turned, it’d still be wrong. I’ve

Willis Free Range Pig Farm. This is how pigs should be raised.

realized I have to start imagining myself as part of the process. Just because I don’t pick up the meat until it’s in a Styrofoam package on the shelf at Jewel does not mean I’m not responsible for anything that comes before. I am. I condone what I support with my money. And I can’t plead ignorance anymore, just willful ignorance.

I made my decision two weeks ago (honestly, couldn’t I have looked at the calendar and seen Thanksgiving was coming?) and so far, it’s like this: any temptation, of which there have been few, is far outweighed by the empowerment I feel when I turn down meat. Just like with elections, my vote does matter—above all, it matters to me.

Here’s a link that makes it easy to find responsible places to spend your money. All you have to do is enter your zip: http://www.eatwellguide.org/i.php?pd=Home

Happy eating.

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32 thoughts on “Monday Meating

  1. I am following in your footsteps (again). Hopefully I can find a local mart that sells humanely raised cows and chickens. I am sure that will be easier to do in Ireland vs. the US, but that link you provided is no excuse for you people residing in America!

  2. Great post! I feel the same way and just found a local farm near where we live. It may be more expensive but so worth it!

  3. I am 99% there with you, Jess! I have almost stopped eating most meat. In fact I have pretty much lost my taste for it. It wasn’t really hard for me to do,— is it an age thing? Or is it the fact that I am now going out to ride horses on a real Texas cattle ranch where there are tons of animals (cattle, horses, a pig, goats, dogs, cats etc. I now get to see their funny, great personalities and group needs. How can you possibly look into those honorable faces and say ” ok, you’re it tonight ! We have so many other great food sources these days that protein from meat does not need to be the “star of the show” on your plate every night. It can be a bit player –it can have a wonderful cameo part, and you get the same results as gorging on a huge side of beef. And don’t forget the green thing, as more beef means more corn to feed them (Monsanto loves that and thanks you very much), And then there’s also that methane gas thing..

  4. I’ve always felt guilty for being a meat lover and even though we study the abuse of animals in school it still doesn’t stop me enough to be a vegetarian. Really like your distinction between being completely against meat and the consumption of abused meat. Hope those animals rightfully treated will be more available. Great post (:

  5. I have been struggling with this very thing. I am a veterinarian, who services many larger farms. I have a mindset of conventional thought processes. I am now rethinking and challenging those ideas. That is why we started our own small farming operation. We will have some small amounts of grass fed beef available next fall in Ohio. Drop by and check out our website if you are interested to see our ideas and thoughts. http://heritagebreedsfarm.com. Keep up the good work!

  6. I am so with you. Whenever I am tempted by a meat dish (it still happens) I just think about the factory farm and the decision becomes easy. I’m not philosophically opposed to eating meat, I am opposed to animal cruelty. And the rampant use of antibiotics. And growth hormones. Ick, ick, ick. As long as I have a choice, I say ‘no thank you.’

  7. I can’t thank you enough for posting the Eat Well Guide links! I, too, am a carnivore, and like you, factory farming greatly angers me. I love your lines of logic as you’ve struggled with this issue, yes, many of us would become incited if we saw our beloved pets being abused, but have turned a blind eye to the plight of mass-produced farm animals. The age-old excuses of: well, that’s just the way it is, or, that’s how farmer’s have to do it in order to turn a profit, no longer cut it, this day in age. All animals, pet or food, deserve humane treatment.

  8. So with you, Jess. We get our beef from my husband’s cousin who owns cattle. It is very nice to know where it comes from. Now chicken…that’s another story. I’ve been battling with that one for a while. Thank you for bringing this subject up and for the link. You’ve inspired me to do a little research.

    • Thanks for reading. It’s been interesting looking back at my own battle with it–I can see the baby steps toward this decision, from writing the exhibit text for an organic farm ten years ago (they were the first to make me think about where the package in the store comes from) to answering my toddler’s questions about what he was eating.

  9. I started eating only meat from local farmers about a year ago, and even though its more expensive, the benefit is that I eat less meat and more veggies, beans, grains etc. to make up for it. I feel healthier and that stubborn rubber tire around my belly is slowly disappearing. Best benefit is knowing that the animals I eat are at least happy and healthy before they are slaughtered. That makes a world of difference for me.

    • So you’re a year in and still going strong. Good, you’ve inspired me. It really hasn’t been hard yet, except for my almost-weekly trip to a local Mexican place that has the absolute best shredded pork I’ve ever eaten. I’m going to hit them with a barrage of requests to buy responsibly.

  10. You go, Jessica! As someone who eats *very little* meat, I applaud you heartily. As someone who just ate Garlic Chicken at the local Chinese restaurant, I am trying not to imagine the way that chicken might have been treated. I would have ordered a vegetarian version except restaurants tend to lather veggie entries in oil and cheese and they are decidedly unhealthy. Thank you, though, for keeping this in our radar. It’s a important issue.

  11. Well, this hits close to home. We don’t buy meat at the grocery store, but rely on caribou & moose my husband hunts, and salmon we catch in a fish wheel every summer. I respect the circle of life & it tears me up to realize the horrible treatment of animals housed in miniscule cages and slaughterhouses. There’s got to be a better way. Thought provoking post…

  12. I’ve met a lot of people who are trying to continue eating meat by sourcing their flesh from “humane” farms – I keeps mulling around my head though… According to the best information I’ve found – These animals are still killed very young – Technically while they’re still babies.

    And then there’s the horrible realization that most of them go to the same kill floor as all the rest and that certainly can’t be a “happy” animal. Isn’t it wonderful though that with just a bit of tweaking and a bit more “care” one can thrive on plants alone? ~peace~

    • I think the best next step for me (and everyone) is to find farms that not only raise humane meat, but also slaughter (hate that word) the animals on their farm instead of shipping them off to large slaughterhouses, because you’re right–it’s not much better to have their lives end in fear and cruelty. But for me, the best way to move progressively is to take steps and not jump in at once–then the change seems too overwhelming and I’ll hinder my chances at making it. I want to get there, though.
      Thanks for reading.

  13. Hi Jessica – You are so right about *that* word (slaughter)! And I understand why you’re going the incremental route – As long as you stay determined in your end goal (to get the slaughterhouse out of your kitchen) I’m certain you’ll be very pleased at having done so. Good luck on your journey. 😉

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