Green Living: Eat not this

Earlier this week Smithfield's Foods, the world's largest producer of pork has been caught up in accusations of animal cruelty on their factory farms. The Humane Society of the US led an under-cover investigation that exposed the horrific treatment of female pigs and piglets. This comes after HSUS did an expose on Cal-Maine Foods, the country's largest egg producer and Willmar Poultry, the nation's biggest turkey farm last month. HSUS found "unacceptable and systemic abuses, revealing that these companies do not always observe even minimal best practices when it comes to animal welfare." With all of this horrific news about factory farms, animal abuse etc. it is hard to ignore that CAFOs are no longer sustainable. Yet this piece of news is being ignored, largely due to the convenience and relative affordability of meat.

There are reasons why factory-farmed animals should not be consumed and the some of the reasons why. Take your pick

Nutrition: Factory farmed animals are pumped full of antibiotics, hormones and other nasty stuff that you don't want to be consuming. Eating organic, free-range is the best way to avoid these getting into your system. Organically grown meat also is known to contain less amounts of fat and more of the good stuff (vitamins, omega-3 etc.)

Local Economy: The monetary return back into the community when you buy locally is greater than when you buy from a national chain. Endorsing local farms means that you are supporting a more environment-friendly as well as a more ethical way to consumer food. This not only supports the need for more green spaces but also encourages a healthier land area and better nutrition for the local ecosystem.

Diseases: The recent egg recall is an obvious example. Overcrowded, unsanitary conditions means the outbreak of diseases. Salmonella is the least of the worries, others include rise in antibiotics resistance, swine flu, mad cow disease and also the H1N1 virus.

I'm not even going to mention the environment here for fear of sounding like a stuck record, but include that in the list as well. Any which way you look at it, CAFOs are bad news. It is not just an environmental or ethical view-point alone that should compel consumers to consider other sources of meat. Raising animals in overcrowded conditions beyond the realm of their natural adaptability is barbaric and inhumane. For the record, I will never say that being vegetarian or vegan is the only way to be kind to the earth or to be ethical. For many people, this is not possible. However regardless of dietary choices, looking at animals merely as meat producers does not speak well of us as a so-called civilized generation.

Something to think about whilst putting together a grocery list...

Photo Credit: Flickr