With the Swine Flu (H1N1) scaring people away from eating pigs, articles like “Paying a Price for Loving Red Meat” in the New York Times, and environmentalists’ success at drawing connections between beef and global warming, more and more people are eschewing red meat. Unfortunately, many are replacing red meat with “white” — that is, with chickens, turkeys, and sea animals. The problem with this, from an animal protection standpoint, is that the animal cruelty inherent in today’s poultry farming is so extensive that a switch from beef to chicken is a switch from contributing to some animal abuse to contributing to massive animal abuse.
When someone eats a burger, they’re eating a small portion of a large animal; but when someone eats chicken they may be eating a fourth, a half, or (in the case of small hens) a whole animal who was – most likely – confined under horrendous conditions,debeaked (when conscious and without anesthesia), and slaughtered without benefit of any humane standards. When someone eats a steak, the cow was at least supposed to be rendered unconscious before being killed; but when someone eats chicken, chances are good that the chickens who were killed for it hung upside down, fully conscious, as they moved along a conveyor before having their throats slit, since there are no requirements that poultry be unconscious when killed. They may even have been conscious when dropped into the scalding tanks to loosen their feathers. As for sea animals, we’re decimating fish stocks, dragging conscious fishes for miles with hooks in their sensitive mouths, destroying millions of non-target sea life, and suffocating billions of fishes (surely not a humane killing method). Many people who are influenced by health and environmental concerns to switch from red to white meat may not be considering the animal welfare issues involved.
So if you’re thinking of reducing your consumption of red meat, consider what’s MOGO: white meat or plant-based options? And if you do choose “white meat,” consider obtaining it only from small scale farmers, fisheries, and slaughterhouses that have a commitment to standards of animal welfare that you can support.
Filed under: animal protection, Environmental Preservation, food and diet, MOGO (Most Good) | Tagged: animal protection, animal welfare, chickens, cows, environmental protection, factory farming, fishes, food and diet, MOGO choices, pigs, plant-based diet, red meat, veganism, white meat | 2 Comments »