My animal guilt has come back after listening to a NPR interview a couple Sundays ago. The interviewee was discussing factory farming and how he was moving away from a meat eating diet. He put something into perspective that was so profound it convinced my carnivore boyfriend to stop eating piglets!
Here is my recollection of the interview. “Those of us that have pets, we rush to ensure our little dogs, for example, are not scared and that nothing will scare them. How is it we don’t see the same fright and terror in piglets or cows as they go to slaughter? Piglets have intimate relationships with one another. They like to snuggle. When one of them is being put to death, the entire barn knows, just as our little dogs would know and feel that terror.”
Those that follow my blog know I have four little dogs so the analogy really hit home.
Tears are welling in my eyes as a write this, contemplating the terror we put animals through to put them on our plate. I have always said there is karma associated to eating animals who die in fear. I recently read about a survey from California that concluded middle-aged people who eat a lot of meat, dairy products and eggs are four times more likely to die early from cancer or diabetes. Is this our karma?
I have not eaten four legged animals in almost 10 years, but over a year ago I re-introduced poultry into my diet. Partly because I wanted to cook something that that man of mine would enjoy but I also got a bit bored I suppose.
I used to believe that buying organic, free range chicken is what made the difference but I’m learning there is little regulation to the labeling.
I was also convinced that birds were different than other farm animals, assuming they didn’t have real feelings. This article is one of many that should ensured me this is definitely not the case. Here is an excerpt.
“Do you think from your perception that the birds have a sense of what is going to happen to them?”
“Yes. They try everything in their power to get away from the killing machine and to get away from you. They have been stunned, so their muscles don’t work, but their eyes do, and you can tell by them looking at you, they’re scared to death.” – Virgil Butler, former Tyson slaughterhouse worker (1)
At the Slaughterhouse
“Every chicken is bled out while still sentient. The chickens hang there and look at you while they are bleeding. They try to hide their head from you by sticking it under the wing of the chicken next to them on the slaughter line. You can tell by them looking at you, they’re scared to death.” – Virgil Butler, “Clarification on Stunner Usage”
The idea that one chicken wants to hide in the wing of another is almost to much for me to bear. My little pound pup Murman hides under the other dogs, or anything for that matter, when he is scared.
Reading about how chickens are raised today is just as disturbing. Here is an excerpt from this article.
Nearly 9 billion of which are slaughtered annually in America!
Here are eight truths you should know if you care about what’s on America’s plate:
- Modern chickens are selectively bred to grow so large, so fast, that they struggle to simply move or stand. Even at just a few weeks old, they have such massive and disproportionate bodies that they often collapse. See some of these chickens.
- In this practice of speed-breeding, chickens go from hatchling to slaughter in as little as 42 days — a growth rate three times faster than 60 years ago. The University of Arkansas notes that if humans grew at a similar rate, a 6.6 lb newborn baby would weigh 660 lbs after two months.
- Many of these chickens spend most of their lives lying helplessly in their own waste, often with open sores and infections.
- The unnatural growth rate strains chickens’ hearts, lungs and bones. Read some farmers’ criticism of the process and its effect on their chickens.
- Many chickens raised this way can still be labeled “organic” or “free range.”
- Chickens bred and raised this way could pose a danger to our health. In its"Risky Meat" report, the Center for Science in the Public Interest found that, between 1998 and 2010, chicken caused more outbreaks and illnesses than any other meat in the American food supply. A 2010 Consumer Reports analysis of fresh, whole chicken bought at stores nationwide found that two-thirds harbored salmonella and/or campylobacter, the leading bacterial causes of foodborne disease.
- Much of the bacteria found on chicken was antibiotic-resistant — a result of the industry’s practice of routinely feeding chickens antibiotics to make up for their compromised immunity due to unnatural growth rates and unsanitary conditions.
- Of the three federal laws that govern how farm animals are treated, all exclude birds. And while USDA inspectors oversee federal slaughterhouses, neither the USDA nor the FDA is required to send inspectors to farms.
Now on to something lighter … »sigh« … here are some fabulous meat free recipes that I have been posting to Instagram this week and promise will not disappoint meat eaters.
Black Bean and Sweet Potato Burger
I added one sweet potato to this recipe by cutting it up in small pieces and baking for about 20 minutes. I then mashed everything together, formed four burgers and let them in the fridge to set for a bit.
My little brother 100% approved this burger.
There is so much taste and crispiness happening here that I’m going to do it again this weekend.
- 1 cup olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 2 bunches Tuscan kale, washed and spun dry
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- Salt and pepper, to taste
In a large mixing bowl, combine the olive oil, garlic, vinegar, zest and juice of lemon and kale. Season with salt and pepper and gently toss until the kale is evenly coated.
Grill each side for about 2 minutes or until crispy.
Sicilian Collard Greens with Pine Nuts and Raisins - The Kind Life
- 1 bunch of collard greens
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 tablespoons raisins
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Cut out the central rib and stem from each collar leaf. Rinse the leaves in a sink of cool water, lifting them into a colander to drain a bit - but you still want some water to remain on the leaves.
Toast the pine nuts over medium heat in a dry skillet for about 5 minutes or until golden brown. Shake the pan often to keep the nuts from burning. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
Place the garlic and oil in a large skillet, and saute over medium heat for 1 minute or until the garlic is fragrant. Add the damp collards and stir, the cover the pan and cook for 2 minutes longer. Add the raisins and pine nuts, and stir. Cover and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the balsamic vinegar, cover, and continue to cook for 1 to 2 minutes longer.
“We all know in our bones that other animals feel and suffer as we do. If we use them as things, we will inevitably use other humans as things.”
— Will Tuttle, The World Peace Diet