Wednesday, January 19, 2011


A year and a half ago, I wrote about my periodic attempts to put the meat down and back away from carnivorous eating.  You can read about it here.  Today I came across an article on AlterNet by Jenna Woginrich, who realized that refusing to eat meat because of the "twisted world of assembly-line death camps, crippled animals, radiated carcasses and festering diseases" did not, in any way, change the stockyard-to-table cruelty factor.  So, she decided to take the opposite approach, to "...learn to butcher a free-range chicken, raise a pig without antibiotics and rear lambs on green hillside pastures." 

Jenna's reason for writing the article is to remind us that every time we choose to buy our meat from a small farmer who is committed to cruelty-free ranching, we are informing the broader livestock industry that consumers want and are willing to pay for cruelty-free meat.  She says,

"Farmers markets have been on a rapid rise in the US thanks to consumer demand for cleaner meat, up 16% in the last year alone....It's a hard reality for a vegetarian to swallow, but my veggie burgers did not rattle the industry cages at all. I was simply avoiding the battlefield, stepping aside as a pacifist. There is nobility in the vegetarian choice, but it isn't changing the system fast enough. In a world where meat consumption is soaring, the plausible 25% of the world's inhabitants who have a mostly vegetarian diet aren't making a dent in the rate us humans are eating animals. In theory, a plant-based diet avoids consuming animals but it certainly isn't getting cows out of feedlots. However, steak-eating consumers choosing to eat sustainably raised meat are."

Jenna's point is good.  A few years ago, finding organic produce was seriously complicated, and usually involved a trip to a specialty market like Whole Foods.  Today, consumer demand has guaranteed at least a small organic produce section in nearly every grocery store.  Similarly, the market for kosher meats, which are ritually killed in what was - at least before other technologies existed - arguably the least painful method of slaughter.  Point is, if people start voting with their wallets, slaughter procedures might begin to change in response.

I hope you'll read Jenna's full article here.


  1. I was leaning toward "kosher" until the Agriprocessors debacle.

    They abused animals, committed fraud, and also hired illegal immigrants. The illegal immigrants I'm not upset about; it's the way they treated them. Abusive, long hours.

  2. Yes, I watched that debacle with great sadness, because I'm Jewish and do keep kosher. I assume that not all kosher butchers have those practices, but I am greatly troubled by the lack of morals of those who profess to answer to a "Higher Power."