Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Do You Eat Meat and Drink Milk?

I'm not a vegan and probably never will be. I eat meat, dairy and eggs pretty regularly, though admittedly less than the average American. I should probably eat more eggs since we get so many, but I digress....

It's incredibly important that people know what they are eating. What goes into the food they eat and how it's produced. Most of you that follow this blog are more than aware of the atrocities committed against animals and humans alike in our industrialized food system. This post is for those that don't know, so I please ask you to share this with who you can because I believe everyone needs to see it regardless of how difficult it is. Change cannot come until people are angry enough to do something about it. And apparently there just aren't enough of us pissed off yet to see any big changes.

But we are getting heard. Iowa and Florida are both trying to silence us by passing legislation making it illegal to film or photograph animal abuse and health violations on farms. Hopefully these bills don't pass because they would take away a huge amount of leverage we have to correct the system.

An article came out today on Grist about treatment of animals on these factory farms and how that treatment poses major health risks to us. The article includes a very disturbing video that I've included. This is a farm that raises dairy cows - calves in particular. Not meat animals, but dairy animals. This isn't the only video I've seen involving cruelty on dairy farms, but it is one of the worst I've seen. One has to wonder what makes people so violent and uncaring. It shows that for factory farms, animals are simply objects that can be disposed of with any means.

But you have options to fight this. Michael Pollan touts voting with your fork. I highly recommend doing this. But what can you do? Well, going vegan is the obvious option, though it's not the only one. Knowing you're farmers is the best option if you decide to continue to eat animals products. Don't just rely on labels. "Organic" doesn't always equal "humane." There are organic dairies out there though that are humane. There are small producers and large producers that do care. Here in the SF Bay Area we have several, including Straus Creamery, Organic Pastures, and Clover Stornetta (I've actually toured one of their organic farms and they are the only dairy in the U.S. to be certified by the American Humane Association). Visit the Animal Welfare Approved site and locate local farms that are certified with them.

To ignore this and continue buying factory farmed animal products is to support these actions. 


  1. *crying* Already gone mostly vegetarian...not vegan. Only buy meat at the local butcher who raises his own grass fed beef. Dairy is an issue that i have to resolve as yet. Did you see my post
    Not as hard hitting as your video...but on the same lines.

  2. I only watched the first few seconds of the video until I realized what "tool" they had; couldn't bring myself to finish it. Oh my God.

    I'm a vegetarian, due to taste aversions/trouble digesting meat. My husband is not, so I still cook meat, but my shopping habits have changed drastically over the last five or so years. Local, organic, comes from my yard or a CSA with very few exceptions.

  3. I can't watch the video. I grew-up on a farm and now get my meat from a relative who treats his animals VERY well. The abatoir is clean, quick and five minutes away. I've gone there and watched everything. I figure it's the least I can do for the animal that is goign to nourish my family and myself.

  4. Initial reaction - same as Jessica. Paused the video and had to stop for a few moments and steady myself. Looking outside at my happy goats and chickens helped.

    My first thoughts were to... oh, it doesn't matter. I've seen videos like this before and they are heart breaking. But I refuse to bury my head in the sand. Several deep breaths and I hit the play button again.

    This is one of those times when I think an eye for an eye justice almost wouldn't upset me. That farm should be shut down and those farm workers should get a taste of their own medicine. But the problem is it's not just this farm. It's widespread throughout the entire industrialized meat, dairy, and egg production system.

    I wish for one of those Undercover Boss episodes here. Let the CEO put on gloves and boots and see if s/he can raise a maul or pick-ax. How long do we have to continue asking "What is it going to take to stop this abuse?" All the major news outlets certainly aren't going to air this stuff. URGH! Ok.. stop ranting...

    This reinforces my own decision to raise my own meat, not only in a humane manner, but in a loving caring environment where they are allowed to express their true selves. Taking a line from Joel Salatin, "The animals on my farm have a wonderful full life, and only one bad day"

  5. Kitty, what a terrific idea. I wonder if any of the ceo's would last very long in what they have produced?

  6. I'm not eaten mamals since 2000, and have finally given up chicken. Were I to eat meat, I would want to raise it myself, and I don't have a problem with people who humanely raise & slaughter their own meat. I didn't watch the video, but even imagining it upsets me to distraction. Now I'm worrying about the milk we buy. I've joined a local co-op and can get local organic eggs (what a joy!), but don't have a source for milk other than supermarket organic. I'm sure the fact that the milk is organic, doesn't mean much in terms of animal abuse. Maybe soy milk. I know it is still big business, and would have to be organic, but at least it's not from an animal. I'm stressing over this now. Nancy R

  7. Whether you eat vegetables only, or meat as well, it's SO IMPORTANT to know your farmer. That is TRULY the solution I believe with all my heart.

    There are so many sad things about this video, and it's easy to become angry with the workers that are included here, but from what I understand, (and from watching movies like Food Inc. as well) these workers are exploited as well. They are dehumanized to the point that doing this is "part of their job"... simply opting out of eating meat doesn't address the full picture here. We need to find ways, whether we're eating meat or not, to support those in the industry that DO treat their animals humanely. Even if you're not eating meat, or drinking milk, MAKE A CALL!! Ask questions of those that produce around you. Simply taking your money AWAY from these people is a great thing. And when you show them that you will give that very same money to their competition that operates humanely toward animals AND workers? Then, I believe, you have raised the sound of your voice to a whole new level.

  8. I'll be working my will up to watch....i can't do it now. I am sickened by humanity anyway and this would throw me over the edge.
    The fact is we also treat children this way in the US with the sex trade being the number 3 money maker for the US. Where do most men in the US go to have sex with children? Why the US, of course. (No, not Thailand.) Why would we think that animals would be treated any better? Just a thought. I have changed the way we eat thanks in part to your experiment and your informative postings. Thank you for that.