- This picture was taken at an actual Black Angus farm in my hometown.

In Which an American Carnivore Considers Food Cruelty

True growth and belief change must come from within

1y ago

This article will be shorter than my usual screeds about Big Fat American Food.

Up until recently, in most ways, I have a representative tolerance for animal cruelty to most Americans. I eat beef and pork products nearly every single day. Most days I also eat chicken & eggs. I don't drink cows' milk although I eat cheese, butter & when I'm good, some ice cream. (I am usually good). Most Americans could care less about who this animal is as long as the meat was tender and juicy. And cheap, and plentiful. Perhaps this is the case in Europe, and everywhere.

I have somewhat of a set threshold: I don't like the taste of turkey or fresh water fish. Once in a while I will eat salt-water seafood. I rarely eat any other animals. For instance, I love goats; the thought of eating a goat gives me the chills. I get severely pissed off when I read about slaughterhouses for horses and, Lord help us, for dogs. I have two Golden Retrievers who I love more than nearly anything.

Whenever I see an article on FoodTribe or otherwise about Vegan eating, I roll my eyes. I see the extent this industry goes to provide variety to Vegans and I shake my head. When I see the term 'cruelty-free eating', my first response is to smile wanly at the idealism.

But I have a brain, and a heart. Unlike most Americans, I read and write on this blog; thus, it would be willfully ignorant if I did NOT consider the level of cruelty that went into the meal I just ate, or the one I will eat next. Maybe, I should consider the rolling of my eyes and shaking of my head to be complicit to an catastrophically greedy, immoral and destructive practice.

It would definitely be better (for all) if I adjusted my cruelty threshold

I have found that absolute fundamentalism is harmful; it makes no more sense to react to the most bitter PETA exposes as it would to buy into the most ham-handed corporate farming propaganda. But we are compelled to evolve, to just use our own common sense, and listen to our own hearts. I must take steps in this new decade to adjust my food cruelty standards. It may not be that complicated.

My first step is to address what seems to be the Big 3 in Cruelty Farming: Poultry production; Pork production; and Dairy production. My mind's eye says that if this is where your food is being produced:

A typical factory farm. Note the lack of visible animals actually living on the grass.

A typical factory farm. Note the lack of visible animals actually living on the grass.

...then you ought to be questioning your eating habits. There is a reason why your chicken and pork is under $2 a pound at your hypermarket. When you pick up your shrink-wrapped package of cheap meat, know that the animal those parts once belonged to never saw the light of day.

I have purchased locally sourced beef for 15 years. Yes, the cow was killed, butchered and delivered to me. I'm not ready yet to shuck 55 years of carnivore belief. But at least when the steer was alive, I know it was raised at a much higher level of humanity than in a factory farm. If I am going to continue to eat dairy, eggs, pork & chicken, I must get to know how these animals lived. If I cannot be certain about it, then I cannot eat them. It is possible, for me at least. I will have to make an effort, travel to other sources, and pay more money. Or I will have to learn to live without.

I know this isn't ultimate level cruelty-free, far from it. It may not be enough, to save my physical heart, or my soul, or the environment, or the living beings in question. But maybe I will then take another step. Maybe someone will read this and think the same thoughts I'm thinking today.

What are you willing to do to lessen the food cruelty on our planet?

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Comments (7)

  • Oh, a pure vegan read it...

    It is a great that you can see so much. It isn't a bad thing to know more about the world around and think about it. And it is so sad to kill animals, especially when you communicate with them for a long time... We used to them

    It’s especially terrible when women do this ... They must have maternal instincts and a good heart. And seeing another is just awful. Vegan cuisine offers so many recipes and food options, very tasty and high quality ... I want to say that I do not regret that I am a vegan. it’s not just a daily moral pleasure that you didn’t hurt anyone and you have a good mood, good feelings for every day, and peace of mind and comfort, but also as much health as you never had before. Plants can be very useful and varied. It is in them that the primary source of health and happiness. We must not forget that in order to become such cows they ate grass, grain, etc. That is, we eat something secondary by eating meat. And the animals on the farm did not eat expensive very useful plants ... So they will not give anything very useful. And from a moral point of view, being a vegan is like having constant calm and patronage to all things on Earth ... It's being a hero for the weak :)

      1 year ago
    • I honestly do agree with you. But also honestly I do have an (professionally diagnosed) addiction to food. So I have to beat two things - my core beliefs of eating meat as well as an addiction that has proven to be every bit as harmful and...

      Read more
        1 year ago
  • No doubt the industrialization of the American food process has not been kind to the animals. I think your onto a solution too. Educate people on their choices. The largest driving force for change is your economic vote. If you keep demand high for meat sources that don't mistreat the animals American purchasing power can quickly change the practices and rid us of bad actors. Every person can drive change everyday simply by their purchase decisions. What I've never nor ever will be for is more regulations. As then we will just end up with high priced industrialized meat high prices and bad practices. Just like healthcare just to mention one.

      1 year ago
  • Rob I think this is a really good way of looking at things. I've been trying to reduce my meat intake from an environmental perspective, basically following the practice of 'eat less, eat better, eat local'. However, I don't think I would ever give up meat completely. I'm doing Veganuary for the third year in a row, and I really enjoy vegetarian and vegan food, but still, I do love a steak from time to time. However, I don't think in 2020 there's any excuse for anyone in the UK to be eating beef/meat from South America or the US, or vice versa!

      1 year ago
  • Vulcan Plomeek vegan soup. Enlightened ?

      1 year ago
  • Sir Roger Moores favourite snack was baked beans on toast.

    There's something very Aussie about that.

    Or possibly New Englandish.

    or maybe it's a bit 1931 Will Rogers.youtu.be/kyfvamwM4Yo

      1 year ago