Ethical Meat Consumption
There is a growing dilemma for meat eaters in the 21st century. On the one hand you adore animals and perhaps even keep one as a pet at home, upon which you bestow endless love and affection; and on the other hand you do love a good slab of steak. Alongside the obvious irony at play here, overconsumption of meat (especially cheap, non organically fed, over produced meat which we are are so used to buying), is bad for your health, and in particular the health of your heart. (And certainly our society’s taste for meat is detrimental to that of the animals health too.)
You have probably heard many of the cases both For and Against eating meat, and recently a United Nations Report have added their weight behind the argument that a reduction in meat production here would mean that more starving people could be fed on the other side of the planet.
We simply don’t grow enough animal feed in this country to sustain such a large animal population. It is difficult to source good animal feed and hence it has become GM-feed (bar waitrose, who are still trying to avoid GM-feed but find it increasingly difficult to source non GM-feed).
Plus the New York Times reported that meat eaters are now to blame for water shortages too.
Generally speaking, the arguments made against meat eaters leaves them feeling unnecessarily selfish and cruel for simply partaking in a society led habit; something which is bred into us from birth. Yet, it is not us who are in the wrong for wanting to eat meat, it is the selfish corporations who force-rear animals in harsh helical filled environments and sell the meat so readily to line their own pockets, and this is where we can make a change!
So if you love your puppy but can’t bear the idea of giving up your chicken nuggets here is what you can do to be a responsible meat eater:
Step 1: Space your meat consumption out
Try not to eat meat every day. Going ‘cold turkey’ (excuse the pun) and unrealistically giving up meat in one go will likely mean you fail at the first hurdle. Instead, simply space your meat consumption out as much as you can. Choose your own reduction technique, for example Meat Free Mondays, Chicken-less Tuesdays and No Steak Sundays. Health wise, it is not necessary for us to be consuming as much meat as we do and reducing your animal consumption will have positive effects on the levels of your cholesterol and blood pressure, and even help those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and gout.
Step 2: Buy Organic from the supermarket
Supermarkets are convenient, money saving (on occasion), have everything under one roof and will even deliver everything you need for the week to your door…but now that you are consuming less meat, spend the money you are saving to make what you do eat it organic. Buying organic is helping you, your local farmers and the animals at the same time. Non-organic animals are full of stress and suffering (which causes hormone and chemical changes in their body and eventually our own body’s after excessive, life long consumption). Not only that, they are full of pharmaceutical drugs such as antibiotics, and additionally they are fed on genetically modified feed. As a result of their stress and chemical filled lives, their off spring are disfigured and animals fed on this type of feed often develop cancer. Yet, by simply buying organic, you can avoid ingesting all that and boycott the damaging animal production processes in one fell swoop!
Step 3: Google your nearest organic butcher
Now that you have reduced your meat consumption and changed to organic you have improved your health without affecting your wallet. Congratulations! You are now ready to research more sustainable sources, such as the nearest organic butcher. Some might get lucky and find their local organic suppliers close by; others may have to drive a bit further out. But either way, the more you can opt out of the national and international animal production and instead choose to go local and ethical the better for your health, the health of your family and the treatment of the animals. Smaller animal businesses tend to have a passion for their product and an ethic that gets lost in the big corporations.
Step 4: Go directly to the farmer and commission the butcher
Once you use the local butcher you will meet more likeminded people and you will probably get presented with the opportunity to pull together with another family and buy from the farmer or forest warden directly who commission the butcher. By doing this, (and with the use of a chest freezer), you can buy once or twice a year when the meat is naturally in season. Before choosing to buy directly from a farm, ensure that the animal was spiritually, emotionally, and physically intact prior to slaughter. In other words, check that the animal had a great outdoor life, with no pharmaceutical anti-depressants, antibiotics, GMO feed or horrendous daily abusive living conditions.
Step 5: Consider going vegetarian
The last step in the journey, if you so choose to go this far, is to consider going vegetarian, however, simply becoming a more ethical carnivore is already a wonderful achievement in itself. It means you are not deprived of eating meat, the animals are not deprived of living a healthy, happy life and the animal abusers and mass producers are driven out of business. Meat eaters have such a direct impact on the animal suffering in this world that it is worth taking this journey and really getting interested in where your meat comes from. We are led to believe that the power is in the hands of the big corporations, but the more we stand up for the rights of animals and choose to buy from smaller organic farms, less and less chemically reared animal production will be needed – and hopefully one day it will be wiped out altogether.
In the US office of disease prevention and health promotion has found that a plant based diet is best at preventing health problems.
I have chosen a purely botanical lifestyle and have opted for the vegan journey. I am horrified at the animal abuse that is going on in these mass concentration camps and having grown up in a family whereby my farmer grandparents would share a whole animal with my parents and their siblings, I know that eating organic is not only better, but also possible! It is just a little less convenient for us than we are used to. As a child I watched deer and cows being carefully butchered in the farm kitchen, whilst standing alongside my 4 year old cousin, who I recall saying “Mum that is a very big heart – it is not small as you were moaning about”. It really was a family affair but even then it felt wrong to me – yet it was ‘the way’ in our family and at that age who was I to argue? And if nothing else, I knew the animal had lived well. Today, I still feel it is wrong to kill any animal hence my choice to be a vegan, but more so, I feel far more passionately and strongly that it is wrong to forcefully create and imprison animals for our unnecessary consumption. By following a diet with a smaller meat intake and choosing organic, locally grown produce will mean that slowly, the wheels of change will turn and eventually the life of each animal we eat will have been a happy one meaning our own health will increase as well. It is a win-win scenario.