If you’re like me, you love all animals, but you also love to eat all the different kinds of deep-fried, sautéed, grilled and barbecued meats.
For awhile my love for animals led me to a vegetarian lifestyle, but I wasn’t prepared to give meat up indefinitely. I admire those who live a vegetarian lifestyle, but I found that my body functioned better on clean animal protein.
An animal deserves just as much respect as a human being. That’s why I support animal rights, not through vegetarianism, but through responsible grocery shopping.
My alternative to vegetarianism is to buy meat responsibly. Everyone needs to understand that just because the animal is already dead, that doesn’t excuse the kind of life it lived.
According to The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, “A factory farm is a large, industrial operation that raises large numbers of animals for food. Over 99 percent of farm animals in the U.S. are raised in factory farms, which focus on profit and efficiency at the expense of animal welfare.”
Nutritionist Lee Bell recommends eating meat to most of her clients, though she said she believes in the health benefits of both a herbivorous and omnivorous diet.
“I know people who avoid [meat] completely and others who completely embrace it, but I think the bottom line is that not all meat is created equal. I think that when we are looking at feed lot cattle, which is most of what is produced in America, versus grass-fed and pasture-raised animals in general that are raised in the way that they are supposed to be, cows are supposed to eat grass. I am very much about the ethical treatment of animals and the impact on the environment,” Bell said.
If we’re not taking care of the animals that ultimately feed us, we’re only making ourselves sick. Bell suggests her clients think of meat as a condiment. It shouldn’t be the main component of a person’s diet, only consumed modestly. This helps to stop factory farming by allowing animals to grow at a natural rate through natural food without the rush to get them to slaughter to meet supply and demand needs.
According to Authority Nutrition, “Vitamin B12 is particularly important because it cannot be gotten from commonly consumed plants. Many people who avoid animal foods are deficient in it. Unprocessed meat is also loaded with healthy fats, and meat from grass-fed animals contains up to five times as much omega-3 as meat from grain-fed animals.”
I’ve realized you don’t have to be a vegetarian or vegan to stop factory farming, you just have to understand that it’s all about where you get your meat from, who you’re supporting and what kind of cruelty you’re funding.
The mass-slaughtering of animals has become a major business, but animals aren’t products, they’re living beings.
Compassion in World Farming has been fighting factory farming since the 1960s, educating the public on what they can do to make a difference.
“If you eat meat, the simplest thing you can do to help is to buy meat that is labeled with one of the following certifications: Certified Humane, Global Animal Partnership 5-Step standards or Animal Welfare Approved standards. If you are looking for the system with the highest welfare potential, you should buy pastureraised or grass-fed,” Compassion in World Farming said.
Labels can be deceiving, but the website of Amy Myers M.D. helps to break down the meaning behind product labels. Just because a product says cage-free doesn’t mean the animals were raised outside. The only products we should be buying are those labeled organic (antibiotic, hormone and pesticide free), pasture-raised (freedom to roam outside), grass-fed, grass-finished or 100 percent grass-fed (diet composed of grass, legumes and green vegetation only).
So be an educated human being, not an ignorant one. Know your meat product labels.
Published March 9th, 2016