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Friday, October 12, 2012

Factory Farms and Slaughterhouses

Ok today I'm going to talk about a very serious topic and one that I feel very passionately about. Factory farming and slaughterhouses for meats and dairy products. You might be thinking, "oh geez she's one of those nut jobs." YES! I AM! I am not a vegan or even a vegetarian but I believe that there is no excuse for treating animals inhumanely. I do not endorse PETA (they're crazy) but I do think that factory farms are one of the worst ideas of all time and commercial slaughterhouses are horrible, disgusting places where workers lose all concept of right and wrong.

BEFORE YOU CLICK ON THE LINK...I am giving you FULL warning that there are lots of disturbing, disgusting images. It is footage of factory farms and slaughterhouses. The animals are being beaten, butchered, and mutilated. The workers have NO remorse for their actions and even go beyond their job requirements to purposely hurt these poor creatures. I found the video from a Facebook page called Occupy Monsanto (I'll talk about Monsanto another time. All you need to know for now is Monsanto=BAD). I'll also warn you that I do not cry over many things but even this video made me cry. They posted this video today on their page today. You've been warned. You can choose to watch it or not watch it.

I understand that most people would choose not to watch something so heart-wrenching. But I believe it is important for these videos to be seen by the public so that they will all stop buying the "cheap" meats from the grocery store and start buying humanely treated meats and dairy products from local farms! We are VOTING with our dollars!! If we stop buying from factory farms, and start buying from local farms we will alter supply and demand to our favor so that buying local is more affordable and easier.

As I stated before, I am not a vegetarian or vegan. My husband and I don't buy much meat and if we do, it is usually chicken and I try to buy the best I can. We do drink a lot of milk and eat cheese a lot too. Since we've been married, we actually have never bought beef in any form except hot dogs. All that being said, I try my best to buy humanely treated, local products whenever possible. I admit I fall short quite often.

I'm going to pledge right now to ONLY buy my meats from reputable, local, humane farms. Who will make this pledge with me? I will only buy organic milk (I have heard bad things about Horizon brand, so avoid them. There are others out there!) and organic, cage free eggs. Cheese will be more difficult but I will do my best to start buying cheese from better sources as well. Here's the tricky part that most people don't like. If I cannot buy these items from the best sources possible, then I will not buy them! It is not worth it! I want our hard earned dollars to go to local farms that treat their animals right. Our dollars...our votes will count where they should be counted. We all need to start doing this! Use your hard earned money to vote for the health of our families! And the future!

I haven't even gotten into the whole deal about hormones and antibiotics and GMOs! That will have to be another post. This blog is about the humane treatment of the farm animals we eat.

Just because they are food does not mean they should be abused and neglected and beaten and tortured! If you watched the video, you saw the horrors that go on. The video doesn't necessarily represent every single factory farm and slaughterhouse across the country but knowing that this is happening AT ALL should sicken you to your core. If someone did these things to your cat or dog, it would be called animal abuse and the offender may get some jail time or a fine. These workers do this day in and day out all year long to THOUSANDS upon THOUSANDS of innocent animals.

Did you also notice the sores, wounds, diseases, filth, and deformities these animals had? Do you really want to be eating meat that looked like that when it was alive? NO! Of course not! Not to mention the emotional turmoil they endure DOES have an effect on the meat itself. So not only is the animal suffering needlessly in pain and emotional upset, but the adrenaline and pain is filling the meat that we are to consume!

I know this post is coming out mostly emotional for me but I feel very strongly about the topic. In addition to my emotional out-pouring, I want to give you some facts and help to join me in voting my dollars elsewhere.

Here are a few explanations to help guide you on your new journey towards eating healthier and taking part in ending these horrible practices:

Organic vs Natural: Stonyfield Organic brand has a great article on the difference here. I have to admit, I've been skeptical of the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) for a while. Everyone is in it for the money and especially the government. I also have a hard time trusting anything endorsed by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). But overall, USDA Organic certified products are supposed to be no less than 98% organic.

Cage Free: This means that the animal (usually chickens or turkeys) was raised in a cage free environment. This does not necessarily mean they were out in a lush green pasture. While better than being in a cage, overcrowded barns are not always properly ventilated, there is very little room to move, and they stand in their on waste. But just because it says cage free doesn't mean the only other option is an overcrowded barn.

Free range: This is what you want to aim for! Free range animals are free from being confined to cages or barns. Some may not even be held in with fencing. Ideally they are free range but have a safe chicken house or barn to stay in at night.

Gestation crate free: This is in reference to the poor female pigs (sows) that are stuck in cages no larger than their own bodies for the entirety of their pregnancy. They cannot even turn around. Some companies have been working towards the elimination of gestation crates. It's a small victory but a victory nonetheless!! Read more about gestation crates here.

If you don't believe me, do your own research! Groups like The Humane Society of the United States provide great information on the topic. They're not just about shelter animals! Also check out The Humane Farming Association. Join them in their campaign against factory farming! This Yahoo article has lots of good statistics to look into. And The Food Empowerment Project is another great website with a great purpose!

With all that being said...I'm not trying to be a downer. We need to stand up for what is right in this world and we need to be informed! Ignorance is not bliss!

Who is willing to join me in my pledge for living healthier and only buying meat and dairy products from reputable, humane, local sources? Please join me on this mission! We all need to stick together to make this work!

Till next time,
Catherine

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