Before you read this I need you to know that I love pork, I mean I love love love it. I have a tattoo of a ham and the word ham is tattooed in chinese on my leg. I LOVE HAM. I do not consider my self a “meat is murder” person, meat is meat. I don’t want to give up animal products at this point in my life, but the more I learn and read about the industrialized food system it makes we want to swear off the stuff forever. Then sadly I would be “The Vegan with the Ham Tattoo.”
Food Inc posted an article about the inhumane treatment of pigs at one of the largest pork producing farms in the country. It’s not about how the animals are killed, I mean I am a grown-up and understand that the animals are being produced like a widget and the main goal is to, feed feed feed, get em fat fat fat so that means more money. There is coldness about the process of getting the animal from living breathing eating being to food for us. We have seen videos of the process, the assembly line looks like any other assemble line, people doing the same thing repeatedly, with a bored expression doing something like cutting off the beaks of chickens so they don’t peck each other to death when they are 6 to a cage. I
am fine with the understand the process, you have to break a few eggs to make an omelet theory.
But these videos showed how the animals are being treated on a regular day, not their last day. I saw a farm worker beating a baby cow for trying to drink it’s mother’s milk. (PS and BTW–cow’s milk is for baby cow’s not grown up humans.) Over the top abuse of pigs and cow’s, in one case, a man has pinned down a cow and is punching it in the face, like they were in some sort of bar fight. Needless to say the cow lost. The stuff that really got to me, was what they do to chickens. I guess in my mind, 800 pound animals like cows and pigs might make a man feel intimidated and he would do what men do sometimes — attacking something that made them feel scared. But chickens? Seems like something smaller than you would get better treatment. Not so much. Seeing them being grabbed from cages and swung around by their necks really, really bothered me.
So we talk about it, like we talk about everything in this family, and since I’m the one who does all the grocery shopping, I point out that chicken produced locally by people who care for and treat their animals kindly is about 5 bucks a pound. That’s over 15 bucks for a whole chicken. At this moment, I have two freakishly large chicken breasts in the fridge that can feed us for two nights and only cost 99 cents a pound. Boomer brought up a good point, “Why do we expect everything to cost a dollar?” I don’t always agree with the “you get what you pay for argument” but I guess if you want dollar a pound chicken, you have to do some less than humane things in the process. It bothers me to the point that I don’t know if dollar a pound chicken is worth it to me.
We didn’t let Madigan watch the video, far too graphic for a kid as sweet as her. She asked what we talked about last night, I told her the chicken videos. I asked her how she felt about it, maybe not eating as much meat as we do, and maybe only having chicken a few times a month cause it would cost so much more. She said she would be fine with it, because “It would taste better in our hearts.”
It’s hard to argue with my daughters logic.
If you must, you must, here’s the video.
ED: I wrote this post Thursday night, and it just kept gnawing at me, so yesterday before work I stopped my the farmer’s market and bought two chickens from Bramble Hollow Farms, then after work we drove out to Broadview and bought meat that I am certain was not punched in the face. Thankfully I have a cooler and a man who likes to drive.