Wednesday, February 27, 2008

#181 - Where's the Beef? (Part II)

Giving Up Factory Farmed Meats

Well, I did it. I didn't want to. I knew it would make my stomach all icky feeling and might possibly make me cry. But that damn video of the mistreated cows is all over the interwebbies and I couldn't not watch it one more day. Please be warned, this is graphic, nasty stuff and it will make you want to puke and then drive over the owner of that meat processing plant with a forklift and then kick him in the nards for good measure.

Now I'm no dummy. I know where steaks, pork chops and fried chicken all come from. Hell, I grew up as a kid with backyard pigs and chickens that were transformed into bacon and cutlets. But we knew what those animals were fed, how they were treated, and the manner in which they were slaughtered.

Fast forward twenty five years and I have become so disconnected from our food that I couldn't even tell you in what state last night's pulled pork sandwiches were produced.

So I've decided to give up factory farmed meats (beef and pork) entirely. We haven't been eating much beef here anyhow and we really don't miss it. I have enough pork in the freezer to last me a month or two and after that, I'll be purchasing whatever meat we do eat from a local farm. (Once again, thank you Local Harvest for having a kick-ass online database where I can find these sources!)


We eat either a pork or beef item once per week (approximately). So that would be 52 factory-farmed meat products per year.

Difficulty Level: 2 out of 5

It was a little tricky to find a local farm with meat products. More difficult will be stocking up on the meats during typical slaughter times, since I don't have an extra freezer.


MamaBird said...

If you live in the DC metro area esp VA, you can definitely get Polyface meat drops once/month (there are local delivery spots, not door to door) and they are starting up again this week for the spring.

just ducky said...

Can't watch the video...I talked about it awhile back on my blog...I'll end up a blubbering mess in the fetal position under my desk rocking back and forth...but I agree that we who eat meat should only purchase it from responsible farmers.

Hope your Dapper girl is feelin' better!

Heather said...

You live in fishy-fishy country, so this will be more affordable for you than me: We made the switch to focusing 80% of our meals on fish and seafood (mostly fish, with occasional treats of shrimp, scallops, crab and lobstah)

The only other meat we have is an occasional chicken breast, or if we're really craving tacos, we'll have ground turkey. But the majority of our meals are either vegetarian or fishy-fishy.

I'm willing to bet this has helped the cholesterol issue, too.

Joyce said...

I was soooo disgusted by that clip when they showed it on the news here! Hope it leads to significant reform. I think it will-my understanding was that the slaughter house was under investigation.

Mary Elizabeth said...

Ugh, it's a week today that my husband is experimenting with giving up meat all together - he argues that if he's not willing to kill it himself that he shouldn't be eating it - which I can understand, I'm just not positive I'm ready to jump on the bandwagon yet. Also he can argue from a sustainability argument - which I already knew and had more info than he;) So far I'm eating the lunches we'd already made out of the freezer that had meat in them and I"ll reassess when those are gone;)

organicneedle said...

I totally understand the move. I was a veggie for about 15 years. After having my first son I went back to eating fish. (The nursing wiped me out.) Then I progressed into poultry when my son was having some health issues. I try to always stick to free range- usually Bell & Evans. I think my thing has always been, could I kill it? I guess I have decided I could kill a fish and even a bird if I had to, but even the thought of killing a cow is too much for me. Knowing how most beef is produced is too depressing. I passed on the video.

PS- I gave you my own little honor last night if you get a chance to check it out.

Wendy said...

I would have rated this one higher on the difficulty scale. We got lucky this year with finding a local quarter of a cow and a portion of a pig, both locally raised, and the beef was even grass-fed. But last year, when we first started trying to keep our food all local, finding local meat was tough ... and very, very expensive. I guess the difficulty in my case was convincing my husband that paying the extra dollars was worth it :). Of course, it doesn't hurt that my very good friend pays over $5 per pound for the same meat we have in our freezer, and she talks about it ... in front of hubby :), and things like the recent meat recall work to my advantage in this case, too :).

I'd seriously consider investing in that extra freezer - you might even get lucky and find something on freecycle or Craiglist.

Melinda said...

What about replacing that meat intake once a week with whole grains in a good balanced meal? Just a thought... It's cheaper and better for you. And I think it would cut down on the difficulty level, as you don't have to go out and search for grass-fed, free-range meat (of whatever variety).

Just a thought ; ).

Green Bean said...

I still haven't watched it. I just can't!! But then again, I am a lifelong vegetarian so I feel like I can take a pass at this one. But I won't delude myself that the dairy cows or chickens are treated to a life of luxury!

I've actually been spending the last two days setting up a CSA drop off for local pastured eggs and chickens and pork, grassfed beef and a small dairy where the cows are mostly grassfed. Not perfect but most of the farms were found on Local Harvest (it ROCKS!) and a local entrepeuner has put together a business going to the various farms and then delivering the items to drop points. I sent out an email to my local moms group and had over 20 people respond with interest. Change is a'coming, folks! (At least, I hope so).

Nice post Erin and kudos to you for actually watching that video and doing something about it!

Audrey said...

We eat mostly kosher beef. Different farms, different slaughter houses, fed differently. It's very hard to watch the video :(

Anonymous said...

Ugh...I know I would end up a shaking mess if I watched that video. Local meat is not easy to come by in my neck of the woods, so I'm in a place now where I'm just trying to cut way back on all meat intake.

John said...

Thanks for the post, and especially thanks for the link to Local Harvest. I've been looking for just such a database. Now I can start buying my meat from a local farm. We've been buying a lot from the local farmer's market, but I'd like to have more options. Thanks so much.