Meat Eaters, Listen Up!

Categories: Rants
Paul Misciagno

Let me just say before I get started that I do eat meat. I try to avoid meat that is not organic, grass fed, or free range or not of a trustworthy, conscious source. I also feel we should not consume meat at every meal or even every day, and here is why.

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The main reason we should eat less meat is the amount of water animals require -- not just the water they drink or the water used for cleaning but the indirect water that was used to grow the feed. We use more than 10 billion animals for food in the United States per year. The animals are kept in small areas, squeezing as many animals in as possible, and as a result the animals get sick. We will talk more on that later. Bottom line, we use a crazy amount of water in order to eat as much meat as we do in this country. Scientists are saying that by 2050, we will require 70 percent more food production to feed the growing population. What does this mean for water? I don't think anyone really knows or wants to face the reality, but this is a big problem. Within our lifetimes, we could see 2/3 of the human population on Earth without water for basics needs.

How the animal lives and dies is important.

The necessity to consume meat in our diets is optional and debatable, but how we keep and treat the animals should not be. The way animals are fed, treated, and kept in a conventional close confinement factory animal farm, disease is abundant. As a result, farmers pump the animals with antibiotics to keep them alive long enough to slaughter. In a typical high-output livestock farm, most animals would have died within three to six months of the slaughter anyhow due to disease. This is sad considering that the animals are very young at slaughter, cattle being the oldest at ten to 18 months and chickens the youngest at six to eight weeks.

Farmer Jay
Cattle are kept for ten to 18 months before slaughter.

There is a disconnect from the fact that the meat we eat was once a cow, a pig, or a chicken. I wonder how many people would continue to eat meat if they had to take an animal's life or even watch it being done? In my opinion, it is a very sad and powerful moment when the animal's life is taken that should be regarded with great respect no matter how many animals per year the farm produces. Unfortunately most of the meat we buy in the stores was not treated with respect while it was alive, much less when it comes time to slaughter.

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Not sure what point you're making - but I hope its that we should educate people not only about the ethical part of superfarms, but also the product that they produce and its effects on your intake.  I'm kinda thinking that even if its only $2/lb, chicken breasts the size of footballs are probably not raised with our best health interests in mind.

As for the other part, we have to kill things to eat.  There is nothing to be ashamed of about that - its life.  There are probably better ways to do it than the means employed by the superfarms.  It should be emphasized that we try to restore the smaller, local farmer, and support his/her efforts.


@starvinmarvinpb thank you for the comment. I guess I kinda just wanted people to know what it's like on the farm and that meat should not be taken for granted. also the fact that eating meat is very strenuous on the environment and consumes a lot of water. killing things is a part of life, but I think most people and especially children discount the fact that it was a living breathing animal at one time.

starvinmarvinpb 1 Like

@Farmerjay I agree re the children - that's why whenever I hunted, fished, or even when I neutralized the raccoon I trapped, I had my children present from an early age.  Showing them how to dress meat or fish gives them an understanding of where food comes from.  By doing this, you also can teach them respect for the things we eat and to take life in a humane manner.  They also learn that the only reasons ever to take an animal's life is for food or when it presents a danger to family or property (its illegal to transport wild animals here or we would have taken the raccoon elsewhere and released it). 

I deeply believe that if the bananas that whine about animal treatment understood this, they would focus on proactive redirection (e.g., away from superfarms and towards small ones) rather than just blindly screaming about better treatment.  They have a good point, they're just focusing on the wrong things.  The good news is that when you include the issue of food and its effects on our children, we can all agree to get something changed.

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