Changing Your Meat Habits - Quality Over Quantity

Let's start and make this simple. Meat. I like meat. Unless you're vegetarian or vegan, you unassumingly enjoy meat as well. You probably go to the grocery store and buy whatever products you may enjoy from the meat, fish and poultry coolers or when your wallet is thick – those nice visual high-end cuts from the butcher department. More than likely, those cuts of meat came into the grocer from a factory farm. A factory farm is a size able slaughterhouse that meets the large scale demand for mostly regional and large national food distributors, retailers and Supermarkets. Much of the meat we find at most grocers use these farms and often the product contains numerous food additives. Most of these additives are used for shelf-life and to change the way the food looks, tastes and feels. The farms also produce large amounts of greenhouse gases from animal waste and fossil fuels used to get the product to the consumer. Most of us have never been in one of these factories, nor would ever want to visit one. There is a reason these factories are in remote regions – "Hear no evil, see no evil". The most prevalent issues among these farms are the animal cruelty aspect. I will not get into too much detail on this and tell you to read (insert book titles). Whether or not you're an animal humanist, hunter, vegan or Ted Nugent fan – we all should wake- up to this cause and make sure our society takes the welfare of animals seriously. As farms have become more industrialized, animals have become more of a commodity and are basically treated as a widget. They are considered units of production, rather than living, breathing beings, and as a result these animals are treated inhumanely with intolerable acts of cruelty bestowed upon them. Thankfully, more and more consumers are becoming aware of this and are demanding rights for these creatures. In truth, I don't actually fault the factory farms. You say whaaaaat? Well, it's our eating habits that have created this mess. We have to realize that we have become so greedy, lazy and selfish that we placed this burden on ourselves. To put it bluntly, we eat way too much meat and processed foods. As Mark Bittman, author of Food Matters plainly stated, " The industrialization of food production was one development that – though positive at first – is now exacting intolerable costs. Just no one could foresee that cars would eventually suck the earth dry of oil and pollute the atmosphere to unsafe levels, no one could have anticipated that we would raise and eat more animals than we need to physically sustain us, that in the name of economy and efficiency we would raise them under especially cruel conditions (requiring some humans to work under cruel conditions as well), or that these practices would make them less nutritious than their wild or more naturally raised counterparts and cause enormous damage to earth, including the significant acceleration of global warming." It's about reducing our meat consumption. According to the latest agricultural statistics, about "70% of the world's farmland is dedicated to livestock production." As a society we continue to increase our consumption and demand for meat, more than any other country in the world. We want meat with breakfast, lunch and dinner. We want meat snacks. We have bacon flavored soft drinks (Thank you Jones Soda). I often partake in festive football tailgating adventures in the fall with glorious cuts of animal proteins, too numerous to list. Could you imagine if I brought some veggie burgers to that social gathering – I'm surely would have been thumped in the eye for being a "vegetarian wussie". We're Americans right – give me my meat! Well, think again – and think a little bigger. If the thought of factory farms disturbs you – which it should, you need to rethink about your dietary habits in relation to animal protein. We all know that factory farms degrade the environment, create appalling animal welfare and ravage local communities. We know that Factory Farms have been shown to cause substantial damage to human health. In addition to releasing a host of hazardous air and water pollutants known to compromise the health of workers and anyone living nearby, many factory farms misuse antibiotics, which promotes the proliferation of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, decreasing the effectiveness of drugs used to treat humans. Good times. I believe we all can agree that the foundation of these farms is to pump out "Quantity" not "Quality". It's about time we finally stand up for that latter, don't you agree?