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).
10 thoughts on “You’re Not Going to Get Me to Stop Eating Meat!”
Love your article. I actually bought two Beyond Burgers a few weeks ago. Ron is right. You can’t tell the difference. Now Tyson is getting in the business and adding pea protein to their chicken nuggets. I wonder if Beyond Meat will get squeezed out by the big companies.
Based on tysons record of treatment of animals, i’m sticking with beyond meat for my plant based burger!
This was a terrific article! Mark only eats free range meat or chicken. He is a big carnivor! I actually only eat fish. Not quite a vegetarian, but what I can handle!
thanks louise. and you’re a pescatarian (vegetarian plus fish)!
Great piece, Jackie! We grew up with the vegetables being the chorus to the meat dish. It’s hard to change. I’ve been buying from a new butcher in Gaithersburg but I should make sure of his sources.
Nice commentary Jackie. Great Expectations Farms was on the list today at the OPA farmers markets. Love their products. R- Dads has good seafood. If you are going to have a meat protein, it’s nice to have it be as “clean” as possible. Fresh Veggies and fruits are in full swing around here. Where do you get those burgers you mentioned? Would like to try. Thanks for the blog. Ellen
we’ve found the beyond meat burger on the menu’s at some local restuarants and also found them in the freezer section of the local food stores – i’ve seen them in both the vegetarian frozen section and the meat frozen section. let me know if you try it.
so true. now i’m trying to make my meat dishes the chorus to my veggies : )
I have had similar thoughts as you, Jackie. Thank you for introducing me to Beyond Meat. And, I am going to make more of an effort to get to Great Expectations Farms. Is there any other local meat farmer whom you recommend?
i know there are others but i have only bought directly from great expectations. google it and i’m sure you’ll be able to find the other farms that offer free range meats. good luck.