Is eating meat ethical?

This is pretty ironic that I’m writing this after devouring a huge steak.

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said steak- I only ate one I promise

 

I know there are a multitude of vegetarian bloggers out there coming up with creative and delicious meals sans meat, but I know for sure that I would never last without it. I tried for a week one time when I accidentally ate raw chicken ( I feel like I’ve mentioned this before on the blog) and it lasted all of three days. Have you ever thought about the ethics of eating meat? Do you care? Does it cross your mind that a creature had to die for your Paleo Shepard’s Pie?
As if we didn’t have enough to think about when it comes to the choices we make about food. Calories, fat, carbs, macros, micros, cholesterol, fiber, Omega-3s… do we really need to add another thing to worry about when it comes to food? Is it worth it? I certainty take issue with how industrial meat is produced in this country and decided not to endorse supermarket meat anymore.

The way I see it, if you DO care about how animals that you eat are treated and the substances that go into the animals YOU eat, you need to make a choice. Be a vegetarian or find a farmer who you can trust regarding how your meat is treated and fed. Being a vegetarian doesn’t work for me. I don’t think you can honestly get adequate nutrition without meat. So that option’s out. And buying grass fed and pastured meat from a local farmer is great, and it’s what I’ve been doing. but it’s not cheap. Which is why at the end of the month, we’re going to be the proud owner of two of these:

(not this pig…when we went to the farm yesterday I forgot to take a pic)

 

No, we’ve never done this before and we know nothing about it. Yes, I assume that not everything is going to go as planned. But if you want to do something in life sometimes you just have to start.

When we bought a 26 acre farm, it was our intention to try to grow and raise our own food. Not to make astronomical profit, but to at least supplement the aforementioned expensive meat from local farmers. To me there’s really no other option. There’s no turning back as far as I’m concerned in the eating factory farmed meat department. I don’t need to go into details about the conditions that animals endure in these facilities. You can Google it for yourself…I’ve seen a video circulating on Facebook about it lately. There’s always the movie Food Inc. In my opinion once you know the only logical step is to not support it. Maybe you don’t care. That’s fine too. I personally don’t like my pork chops with a side of antibiotics.

When I tell people that we are going to raise our own chickens and pigs their immediate reaction is:

“But how could you kill and eat them- they’re so cute!”

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I’m not gonna lie I will probably have a hard time. But to me there’s no other option. This is something I have to do. I feel like I have to do this in order to continue to eat meat. The fact that people consider this cruel and abnormal is completely ironic. If you’ve eaten meat from the supermarket you’ve supported treatment of animals that is way worse than me raising a pig in my backyard that’s given  space and fresh air to run around and have a good life. Many people then say:

“Well I’d rather just not know about how my meat is killed.”

Really? That’s convenient. Because it’s easy not to know. Because once you know, like I said, there’s no turning back. As Micheal Pollan states in Omnivore’s Dilemma “The meat industry understands that the more people know about what happens on the kill floor, the less meat they’re likely to eat.”

As Joel Salatin would put it, it’s just “not normal” for people to be so disconnected from their food these days. The pork chop you’re eating isn’t a pig- it’s a fatty pink rectangle you extracted from a Styrofoam tray sheathed in plastic and slapped with a 15% coupon.  See how this makes it so simple? You don’t have to care about where it comes from.  When it comes to animals, we’re all kind of mixed up. As Pollan writes, “Half the dogs in America will receive Christmas presents this year, yet few of us ever pause to consider the life of the pig…that becomes the Christmas ham.”

Should we care about the feelings of animals? I really don’t think that’s the main argument here for raising your own meat or going vegetarian. Like I said with all there is to worry about when it comes to food I really don’t want to add one more thing. I think we should eat meat. Human historically have. It’s just a simple fact. We shouldn’t sugar coat this fact and make it seem like people are inhumane for eating meat because animals have feelings like bambi or something. The best I think we can do is honor the animal’s life and respect the “pig-ness of the pig” (as Salatin says).

Joel Salatin

pretty  much my idol

That being said, this wasn’t a specific attack on anyone- just a general rant I wanted to put out there mostly because I feel alone in my opinions on this topic. I feel like I just wrote a research paper for college or something.  I respect that people care about different things in life.

What’s your take? Do you think we need to make a decision between vegetarianism or local food?

Have you ever raised your own animals? Advice needed?

 

 

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5 thoughts on “Is eating meat ethical?

  1. Cat

    Well written! I must say I’m massively envious of your new piggy acquisitions! If I didn’t live in a boxy flat in London I’d be doing the same. I’ve taken big leaps in the last year or two towards eating in a more ethical way – I get my meat local, in season, from the farmer’s market and try to find out as much as I can about a restaurant’s sourcing when I go out to eat. It isn’t always easy (or cheap!) but I can sleep better at night for it 😉
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  2. Jen@Twenty-Something&Starving

    Andrea, I love this! I actually wrote a similar post last year (http://twentysomethingandstarving.com/confessions-of-an-omnivore/)! My husband and I have seriously discussed one day living on enough property where we can have our own chickens and cows and pigs to raise for eggs, milk, and well…meat. I’ve never loved the idea of having to kill for my food but I think you’re totally right when you say it’s the only option! Until I get to that point in my life I will continue to shop at my farmers market as often as I can and be conscious of the choices I make regarding what I put in my body. Good luck with your pigs!!!
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  3. Jill @ Fitness, Health and Happiness

    I changed to a vegetarian diet and can’t imagine going back to eating meat of any variety. Actually a few weeks ago I tried chicken and got sick. Literally sick. Something about the texture maybe? Or maybe it was the fact that I couldn’t get all that I’ve read and the movies I’ve seen about meat/poultry production out of my head. Just rambling here. I’m curious to read other’s opinions. Ultimately it’s a personal decision. Great read.
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