We as Homo sapiens are Omnivores; we evolved eating both meat and vegetation. That does not mean though that we can’t have compassion for the animals we eat. Most that fight for the rights of farm animals are vegan or vegetarian, very rarely do you see someone stand up and say I love steak, BUT I will only eat a cow that lived a happy, enriched life.
Well, that is what I’m here to say. I love steak, chicken, pork and lamb, but if the animal was not raised in a way that allowed them to enjoy the short time they had I’m not eating it. When I bite into a piece of meat I want to know that the animal I’m eating was raised in a way that allowed them to be an animal. I want the pork I eat to come from a pig that was allowed to roam in a pasture and root and wallow in mud to their heart’s content. I don’t want to eat something that was kept in an overcrowded building where they never saw the light of day; where they may have even cannibalized each other because of the cramped condition. (Think about that the next time you take a bite of commercially raised pork)
We may eat pigs, cows, and chickens, but that does not mean they should be treated as a commodity. They are living breathing beings that deserve to be treated with the same care we would give a family pet. They deserve to live their life even if it is a short one. Chickens should be allowed to roam outside and scratch at the ground and to roll in the dust. Pigs and cows should be allowed to live on pasture where they can graze freely.
That will never happen though. There isn’t enough space to raise all the animals we eat on pasture. So we need to reduce our consumption of meat first and start buying locally from small family farms that still raise animals how they were meant to be raised. We need to do this not only for the animals’ sake but for the health of both ourselves and our planet. In commercial farming operations the animals are so crowded that disease runs rampant, so they pump the animals full of antibiotics even if their not sick. This overuse of unneeded antibiotics is producing more and more drug resistant bacteria and super bugs. Commercial farming also produces tons of runoff that pollutes our rivers, lakes and the ground water that we drink. 30% of the worlds non ice covered land is used in some way, shape or form (i.e. growing grain to feed the livestock) to produce meat, even though it’s more efficient to eat the grain then to feed it to livestock.
“…about two to five times more grain is required to produce the same amount of calories through livestock as through direct grain consumption, according to Rosamond Naylor, an associate professor of economics at Stanford University. It is as much as 10 times more in the case of grain-fed beef in the United States.” ~ Rethinking the Meat-Guzzler by Mark Bittman, NY Times, January 27, 2008
We need to reevaluate how we eat meat. So next time you decide you want steak, think of how that animal lived. The chicken I eat, I raise and butcher myself, so I know they lived happy, healthy lives. I get steak and burger from a farm only a few miles from my house, all of their cows are raised on pasture and can be seen from their storefront. I eat without guilt, can you?
My Buddha statue my sister gave me for Christmas.
- Husband: There's a free pig on craigslist!
- Me: (in bed, half asleep) so?
- Husband: Do you think I should call?
- Me: (still half asleep) I thought you wanted goats?
- Husband: Yah, but she's free! They just want her to go to a home where she won't be eaten.
- Me: and what are we going to do with a pig we can't eat?
- Husband: Breed her and sell the piglets.
- Me: Fine, what ever, I'm going back to sleep.