Saturday, March 22, 2008

Backslider?

I have already decided that if TSHTF, I would definitely eat meat. Currently, I eat fish, eggs and some dairy, although I limit my fish intake while periodically berating myself about the overfishing of the seas and the nastiness of fish farming.

I don't eat meat mainly because:
1. The cruelty of the factory farming system
2. The unhealthiness of meat raised mainly on grains, hormones and antibiotics (not as nature intended at all)
3. The pollution created by factory farming

There are other reasons, of course, some of them involving my tour of a slaughterhouse as the consultant that I once was. Ah, 2001. A small town in Colorado. You could smell the slaughterhouse (I think their term for it was a "packing plant") all over the city, especially on the days when they burned the blood. Before the tour, they asked us to wear washable clothes, and then we strapped on our knee high galoshes to wade through the blood.

It began so innocently. They don't start you out on the kill floor, watching them shoot bolts into the steers' brains. No, they start you out with the finished package, where the meat already looks like something you would see at the grocery store. Each step back, the product looks a little closer like the animal involved, until finally you are walking in blood and watching the hide-ripper and the disembowelers at work.

It got under my skin. Especially when the big trucks would pull up with all the steers packed in. It just reminded me too much of the films I have seen of Auschwitz (Shoah, anyone?). Still, my main objection is not so much how the animals are killed, but how the animals live. And in the factory farming system, they live miserably and unhealthily.

This train of thought started because my friend H. and I were just discussing raising small livestock, namely chickens, rabbits, or ducks, and I thought that I would like to raise rabbits, but not kill or eat them. She told me that a rabbit will produce 130 lbs of meat per year! Wow. That's efficient. Plus, they are not picky eaters, take up a small amount of space, and have very useful fur and manure.

I guess at this point, I have the luxury of choosing what I eat. And, although I have access to local organic, meat at the Oklahoma Food Co-op, I choose not to eat it. I've gotten used to eating my one pot meals of chili, bean salads, hearty pastas, chickpea masalas, sweet potato burritos, veggie pizzas, etc etc and have found that being a pescetarian has really widened my culinary horizons.

Still, I have no qualms about it. If it comes down to it, I will eat meat. At least at that point I can raise my own and be in charge of how the animals are treated and killed.

1 comment:

Heidi said...

Last night I dreamed I was pushing a homemade wagon through sand and getting chased by snakes. We'd learned to dig trenches because the snakes couldn't crawl through them quickly enough. It was a small innovation that saved a small town from disaster (Snakes in a Town!).

Can you tell I'm a wee bit worried about the future? But also, maybe, a wee bit hopeful?