As Earth Day Approaches
As Earth Day approaches we MUST look at how what we do effects the planet we live on. One way I think is crucial both in a planetary sense and in an ethical one is the choices of what food we eat. We can choose organic, less packaging and fair trade for sure, but one way I think we need to shine more light on is choosing to eat less meat. And if we do choose to eat meat, that meat needs to be sourced from smaller farms that focus on humane animal care and ethically sound slaughter methods. So if you do one thing this year to celebrate Earth Day, let it be changing how you approach the meat you eat.
Factory Farming has long been a Urban Branches issue. I've explained my obvious disdain for the industry and expressed that I do all I can to avoid purchasing meat from any farm I can't look up online and learn all about myself. It's been years since I've bought meat in the regular grocery store and I limit my meat while eating out to spots I know source locally raised and humanly treated animals. Yes, this is hard, but I wouldn't have it any other way. Some ask if I spend more? Well yes, but no as well. I have cut my red meat to once a week (only that often because I am keeping my iron intake extra high during pregnancy) and have chicken maybe twice. Those are the only 2 meat/poultry I eat anyway. I've long since cut bacon out and never had a taste for the gamier animals anyway. No cold cuts for me either, I like my sandwiches all veggie, packed with buttery avocado and delicious sprouts. So to those who eat meat much more than this per week I beg of you, rethink this, choose meatless meals more often, it's been proven it will be better for your health and your wallet.
We are entering Spring, vegetables are becoming more and more abundant. Pick up a vegetarian cookbook and add some new dishes to your repertoire. Oh, and splurge at the eateries where your favorite dishes are veggie based!
I just watched a documentary on HBO called Death on a Factory Farm, and it was well worth watching. I've done a lot of reading, but there is nothing like seeing something played out visually that puts reality right in your face. It's an undercover look at what working at a factory farm consists of. It's eye opening, especially to those of us who may not know much about this. For more information click the link and check it out.
For more reading pick up a copy of Slaughterhouse by Gail A. Eisnitz, The Ethics of What We Eat by Peter Singer and Jim Mason, Mad Cowboy by Howard F. Lyman or Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser
Also, check out Farm Sanctuary for more information. They've got material on everything from egg farming to the economy.
Another great source is the Animal Welfare Institute!