On the question, a reader points to a troubling trade-off:
It is surely theoretically possible to produce meat, eggs, and dairy with far less cruelty. In fact, we could hardly do it more cruelly than we currently do. But is is a fantasy and always will be. Raising animals for food is one of the most environmentally destructive things humans do. Doing so less cruelly would significantly increase its environmental footprint.
To consider just one of many factors, animals confined so tightly that they can hardly move burn many fewer calories than animals that are free to move about. Permitting them more movement would increase the need for feed crops. Growing crops to feed animals instead of humans directly is outrageously inefficient (animals are food factories in reverse) and requires vast amounts of fossil-fuel fertilizer. The fertilizer run-off is creating dead zones in the oceans of the world that are huge and growing. Feed crop production already uses about one-third of the Earth’s arable land and an out-sized proportion of its fresh water. Livestock operations are one of the biggest threats to biodiversity.
I could go on and on, and most of these problems become worse in the dreamland of “painless meat.” The upshot is that while we are waiting for this fantasy world to arrive, we should be eating plants.
Another takes a very different approach:
You want locally produced, antibiotic-free, hormone-free, free-range, grass-feed meat raised in the most natural way possible? Get a gun and shoot a deer. Deer are so overpopulated in many parts of the country you will be doing the environment a favor. I recommend one of these rifles.
The 300 blackout round is a larger bullet in the same package as the standard NATO round, so it’s still effective against dear while being a lighter gun that is easily accessorized with any doodad you might need. (You may hear from some old timers that still love their Elmer Fudd walnut stocked bolt action rifles, but then you’d just be listening to the same people that will tell you how reliable old rotary phones were). You will have to get a five-round clip, however, as many states don’t let you hunt with a larger clip, though honestly you don’t need a larger clip to hunt deer.
On the other hand if you want to hunt wild pigs, I’d still stick with the 300 blackout round but you will need a larger clip, at least if you want to help cut down on the wild pig problem, and believe me they are a menace. (You want to take out more than one pig at a time, while deer you only want on at a time).
After the Agriprocessors kosher meat scandal back in 2008, our family decided we couldn’t eat meat any more unless we could find kosher meat that was raised and slaughtered in a humane manner. Yes, it’s a big compromise on price, which does impact the quantity of meat we eat, but the quality of the meat has increased dramatically. For those who can afford to buy this kind of product even once in awhile, it’s worth a try. The non-kosher equivalent will certainly be cheaper, but a shout-out to kolfoods.com for their transparency and hard work in making it possible to “feel good about the meat you eat”.
Elsewhere on the subject of animal cruelty, our first reader wrote yesterday:
There is good news on a topic the Dish has covered here, here, here, and here:
SeaWorld Entertainment has mimicked its beloved performing whale, Shamu, taking a deep dive: its stock plunged as much as 35% after the company posted ugly second-quarter results and lowered revenue forecasts for the full year. . . . CEO Jim Atchison attributed the weak results to animal rights campaigns and negative media attention. The company, which has 11 US theme parks including three SeaWorlds and two Busch Gardens, has come under close scrutiny over the treatment of its killer whales. …
The activists have gotten help from politicians and the media. Blackfish, a widely watched 2013 documentary on the lives of performing killer whales, sparked debate about the ethicality of attending theme parks like SeaWorld after it aired on CNN. In March, the film’s director stood alongside a California assemblyman who proposed legislation to outlaw killer whale entertainment performances and captive breeding programs.