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marmar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 06:44 AM
Original message
The Trials of Being a Conscious Meat Eater
via AlterNet:



The Trials of Being a Conscious Meat Eater

By Sandor Ellix Katz, Chelsea Green Publishing. Posted September 16, 2009.

"Everything I see, hear, or read about standard commercial factory farming and slaughtering fills me with disgust," writes Katz, who explores why people choose vegetarianism.



The following is an excerpt from The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved: Inside Americas Underground Food Movements by Sandor Ellix Katz. It has been adapted for the web.


I love meat. The smell of it cooking can fill me with desire, and I find its juicy, rich flavor uniquely satisfying. At the same time, everything I see, hear, or read about standard commercial factory farming and slaughtering fills me with disgust. I hold great respect for the ideals that people seek to put into practice through vegetarianism.

Vegetarianism is the original manifestation of food activism. Since ancient times vegetarians have sought to embody ideals that they see as making the world a kinder, gentler place. A small minority of people throughout history -- mostly inspired by religious ideals -- have eschewed animal flesh, among them Buddhists, Hindus, Jains, Roman Catholic Trappist monks, and Essenes, an ancient Jewish sect. Historically vegetarianism has been a practice of asceticism: a rejection of material pleasure and an embrace of universal compassion. In more recent times vegetarianism has largely been motivated by political and ethical ideas, as well as the pursuit of good health, as we shall explore below.

I was a half-hearted vegetarian for a couple of years, even vegan (avoiding not only meat but all animal products) for a little while, based on the abstract idea that animal fats are unhealthy, which I no longer believe to be true. When I tried being vegan, I found myself dreaming about eggs. I could find no virtue in denying my desires. I now understand that many nutrients are soluble only in fats, and animal fats can be vehicles of rich nourishment. Of course, much depends upon how the animals are raised, and also upon how you integrate them into your diet.

Animals raised factory-style, pumped up with antibiotics and growth hormones and fed the by-products of chemical agriculture, contain high levels of toxicity that have become concentrated up the food chain. They are also often treated cruelly and live in deplorable conditions. A friend who attends a state agriculture school was in a livestock class that required students to perform acts of unnecessary violence such as dehorning mature bulls, rather than the alternative procedure of cauterization in infancy, which involves far less pain and suffering. Students concerns about animal welfare were dismissed by the professor with "Dont go PETA on me" (PETA being the animal-rights direct-action group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). "The industrial farm is said to have been patterned on the factory production line," writes Wendell Berry "In practice, it looks more like a concentration camp." .........(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.alternet.org/environment/142638/the_trials_o...




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mwb970 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 06:46 AM
Response to Original message
1. I had a steak for dinner last night.
It was great!
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Tim01 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 06:52 AM
Response to Reply #1
3. I had squirrel stew.
From my morning hunt.
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mwb970 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 09:02 AM
Response to Reply #3
10. Seriously? /nt
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Tim01 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 06:45 PM
Response to Reply #10
13. Yep.
Doesn't really taste like chicken.
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mwb970 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 08:07 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. Actually, I had squirrel once myself.
It wasn't half bad, as I recall. Not part of my regular diet though.
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Tim01 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 08:27 PM
Response to Reply #14
15. Like most of the rodents, it is mostly about how you cook it.
Not a good idea to throw a groundhog on the grill then serve it up rare with a baked potato.
Some rodents have a very strong taste. And the less you are used to it, the more carefully it needs to be prepared.
This squirrel was seasoned with celery and pepper, I think I have a winner here.
My daughter is gluten intolerant. So there isn't much food she can eat that tastes good. I think she smells my wild stews from about 1/2 mile.
"Hey, that smells good, can I have some?"
"Sure, I'll get more."
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YOY Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 06:52 AM
Response to Original message
2. This is gonna be interesting.
:popcorn:
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tama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 07:12 AM
Response to Original message
4. How about:
Avoid buying industrial meet and supporting the industry. If and when you need and want meet, acquire only organic meet and/or what you and your friends hunt and fish.

If hospitable people offer you industrial meet, don't spit on the gift but accept the hospitability with gratitude. Be considerate in various situations.

Make it a practical habit, not a strict dogma.

And same for veggies and starch etc. Grow and gather what you can, buy preferably organic/local farmers market etc. Avoid getting high on principles, take it easy.

It's simple, keep it simple.

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BonnieJW Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 08:53 AM
Response to Reply #4
7. I think you mean "meat."
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tama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 11:02 AM
Response to Reply #7
12. me eat my spelling, not meet meat. nt
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fasttense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 07:19 AM
Response to Original message
5. It has really bothered me recently how we torture our animals
before we kill them and eat them. It seems to me since we have to kill them anyway, we should at least treat the animals well until they die for us.

Sooo, I have started raising my own meat. I have chickens, pigs and sheep. I can't afford cattle and don't have enough pasture to make them comfortable anyway. But my chickens happily eat up all the bugs in our fields, my hogs love the table scraps and my sheep keep my grass down. I use no hormones, no cages (just fencing to keep some of the animals out of my gardens), no antibiotics, no recycled dead animals are fed to each other. I feel like I live among a happy little society. It's amazing how easy it is to care for the animals without all the chemicals.

I've found humane slaughter houses for the animals I need to kill, except the chickens which I kill myself. I will never give up eating meat but I will treat my animals as well as possible before they die.
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Altoid_Cyclist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 07:39 AM
Response to Original message
6. If you ever read "An Anthropologist on mars" by Oliver Sacks, this will be old news.
This is an interesting website about the woman who developed a humane way as possible to kill the food that a lot of us eat. It's used by most of the large slaughterhouses ( I know that they don't like that term ), but "processing plants" seems a little too sanitary.
I dread to think what's in all of the food that we eat. Buy local as much as possible, especially if it's a farm that allows you to tour the facilities and see where their products come from.

http://www.grandin.com/
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BonnieJW Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 08:57 AM
Response to Reply #6
8. Temple Grandin is a fascinating woman.
She is autistic and because of her experience with that condition, she developed a humane way to lead cattle to slaughter. She calls it "The Stairway to Heaven."
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Altoid_Cyclist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 09:28 AM
Response to Reply #8
11. She was the most interesting case in Dr. Sacks' book.
My Dad worked for the USDA after he stopped being a Veterinarian and he used to take me with him when he went to the poultry plants. I don't think that I could go into one now, but when you're little it's interesting just to see what your Dad does every day. Some of the stories that he told me about the slaughterhouses were nothing short of scary. He was one of the few Inspectors that would shut down a plant if it wasn't doing things by the book. Temple Grandin was incredible to read about because of what my Dad did and my sister gave me the book after finding out that her son has Aspergers so it hit very close to home. I'd like to try her hugging machine sometime.
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xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 09:00 AM
Response to Original message
9. i try to follow the omnivore's dilemma advice
eat mostly fruits and vegetables, meat occasionally, and don't eat anything with an ingredient your grandmother -- or in the case of some duers -- great-grandmothers wouldn't recognize.
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