My husband and I finally watched Food, Inc. over the weekend. I was moved by this one, which provided a good overview of the effects of our "cheap" food system and had a special focus on the e.coli outbreaks that are part of the low-regulated, feedlot, poor animal health conditions, high-speed processing aspect of our food system, and which kill children around the country every year. I have actually taken a tour of a meat-processing plant (industry terminology for slaughterhouse) and the movie brought back some unpleasant memories of striding through ankle-deep blood.
I have been a pescetarian since 2001/2002 - eating no beef, pork or poultry, but still eating dairy, eggs and fish. The transition was easier than I thought, since I like pasta, potato dishes, stews, soups, salads, bean dishes, and curries, which can all be made without meat. Every time I watch one of these documentaries I am glad I made that choice! Trust me, my eating choices are nowhere near perfect (whatever that means!!), but I do avoid industrial meat.
After watching Food, Inc., we have decided to try to order a side of grass-fed beef, raised without grains, steroids, hormones, antibiotics or animal protein additives. Sources such as Jonny Bowden (nutritionist of 150 Healthiest Foods fame) and Mother Earth News have touted the health, safety and environmental benefits of grass-fed, pastured beef.
I have visited one of our local ranchers, Rose Ranch, and can avow that their cattle were, indeed, hanging around outside chewing their cud, looking bovinely happy. Rose Ranch offers packaged, freezer-ready portions at $6.95/lb, with a $100 deposit per side required. A side weighs in at about 140-160 pounds.
Although I don't intend to eat the meat, I feel that this is a way to support a local rancher by buying their local, humanely raised beef for my family members and friends who are going to be eating beef anyway. I'm not sure when we can get the beef because I am not sure when they are processing next, but if you are interested in ordering your own, you can contact Don or Vicki Rose at drose AT roseranchjones DOT com. There are also a few other grass-fed beef options available on the oklahomafood.coop website.