Those were the words my husband, Ron, said to me, after I took him to an event sponsored by Assateague Coastal Trust, where we watched the movie, Eating Animals. He made me laugh and I completely understood where he was coming from. I told him that wasn’t the point and I’ve figured out how we can eat all the real meat we want and not feel bad about it.
The movie was hard to watch but very informative. I won’t go into details, just know it’s pretty awful. What I found most shocking, is that there are laws, called ag-gag laws, that makes it against the law to reveal animal abuse at some industrial farms. That right there tells you they have something to hide. I’m not even going to guess how those laws got passed, but I have a pretty good idea.
I’ve lived my life with my head in the sand, not wanting to know or learn about the animals I was eating. I’m a meat eater, I love meat and I was content keeping my blinders on.
My son, Matt, asked me to read, The Omnivore’s Dilemma years ago, and I told him, I couldn’t read it because I was sure it would make it hard for me to eat meat, I wasn’t a big vegetable eater and I didn’t want to give up meat.
Then we moved to the eastern shore of Maryland. Purdue country. Truck-loads of live chickens, packed tightly in cages too small to stand up or move around in, were constantly passing me on the roads. I tried looking away every time a truck passed me, but eventually, I couldn’t ignore the inhumane treatment of those chickens. I found it harder and harder to ignore reality and not think about them when I was eating chicken.
Guess I got woke. But I still didn’t want to give up meat!
I did start reading more about the treatment of animals, factory farming, and pollution, it’s in the news every day, and I was no longer actively trying to avoid it. One thing led to another and I finally read The Omnivore’s Dilemma. I’m so glad I did, it was the answer to what I was looking for. The problem I was having was that I truly enjoy eating meat but I could no longer ignore the facts of the brutally inhumane treatment of animals at factory farms. The Omnivore’s Dilemma points out that you can eat meat, just get meat from farms that treat their animals humanely. A win-win for me, now I can have my cake and eat it too – so to speak.
Free range meat is more expensive than factory raised meat but I’ve found a few ways to mitigate that.
First, I found it was cheaper to skip the middle man, the grocery store or organic market, and buy directly from the farmer. I found ours at our local farmers market. Great Expectations Farms sells their meat directly to consumers, but you can search online for ones near you. Bonus, the meat tastes so much better than the factory raised meat.
Second, I no longer eat meat seven days a week. And turns out there are wonderful meals to be had that are meat free, Ron keeps asking where the main course is, but he’s enjoying the dinners too.
Third, there’s the option of plant-based meats. They can be served on my non-meat nights too. Ron tried a Beyond Burger and has been raving about it ever since. He’s telling everyone, “you really can’t tell the difference”. One of our friends said, “yeah, but why would you eat that when you can eat a real burger?” The answer is, your actions speak louder than words. Don’t eat real meat that is not raised humanely. That’s a great reason to eat a Beyond Burger. If it’s humanely raised, have at it, but if not, there are plant-based meats that taste just as good – and the bonus, they’re better for the environment!
I’m not going to be fanatical about it, when I’m eating out or at friend’s houses, I’ll eat whatever is being served and enjoy it. However, I already feel so much better standing up for what I believe in.
No animal should be treated inhumanely. We all know that.
I don’t have a problem killing an animal for food, I just want to know that for however long it lived, it was treated as a live being, not a thing.
As always, I’d appreciate it if you would help me get the word out about the Matt Kurtz Kindness Award of $250 (nominate someone who inspires you) and the Matt Kurtz Kindness Grant of $250 (submit an act of kindness you would do with $250).