BENEFITING: Humane Farming Association
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Farm animals: They're not as sexy as lions, but since we eat them, we should give their well-being some thought.
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While of course it's the most compassionate eating approach to avoid foods made from animal bodies (vegetarian) or all animal products (vegan), most people aren't interested in embracing entirely new eating practies.
But you can still have better EATING ETHICS - just by paying a little bit of attention. You'll do right by your heart and you'll do better by farm animals by doing these three EASY things:
1. Eat less meat than you currently do (if you're up for it, cut back a bit on dairy, eggs, and other animal products too).
2. Cook meat for your family that's been more humanely raised with the animal's well-being and calm in mind throughout raising and slaughter (try shopping for your meat at Whole Foods to start; you can read about their animal welfare standards here: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/about-our-products/quality-standards/animal-welfare-standards). It might cost a bit more, but if you're eating less meat, this will even out.
...While you're at it, just say no to meat from restaurants where you don't know which farm the animals came from. Hint: if their meat is from a supplier (not a farm), don't eat it. If it's incredibly cheap (e.g. fast food), then you know those animals can't be treated well at that price. If the restaurant doesn't know where their meat is from, animal welfare isn't one of their priorities. Don't order it. Remember, organic is not an indication of ethics. It's a helpful piece of data, but it's not enough.
3. DONATE a modest amount (say the cost of a few chicken breasts) to this fundraiser - the donations go to the Humane Farming Association (HFA.org), an org that advocates for more humane farming conditions so that one day all the meat that's on the market will be humanely farmed.
If you're interested in learning more, I recommend the book EATING ANIMALS. Perfect for the non-advocate, non-hippie, non-vegetarian who just wants to know what goes on in the animal farming industry that we depend on for our food supply. (Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Eating-Animals-Jonathan-Safran-Foer/dp/0316069884/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1294264798&sr=8-1)
There ya have it - now eat in peace, knowing you've done more for the well-being of living, breathing, feeling animals than you would have had you simply turned a blind eye while continuing to eat them.
Thanks for helping out the less sexy cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys, ducks, etc. For some sexy animals, I'm sure you can search Crowdrise to donate a few bucks to an African habitat preservation org or something. Go lions! They're important too. And, by the way, they eat organic and free range. ;-)
All photos by Stephan Zech | Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Australia 2010