So...why NOT eat free-range meat? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 05-22-2011, 09:20 AM - Thread Starter
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I've been a lacto-ovo vegetarian for 2.5 years. The only time I've ever missed meat is when I'm pregnant, which I am right now. So far I've been able to remind myself of all the reasons I don't eat meat, and it wasn't bothering me too badly, but all of a sudden I really miss meat. We live in an area where "happy" meat is easy to come by, and the other day DH bought a fresh chicken at a farm and I'm coming up short on reasons not to have some, lol. I keep hoping the meat cravings will pass, because by this time in my last pregnancy they were gone, but so far, no luck. I've doubled the number of eggs we're buying, tried increasing protein and iron in case the cravings stem from a deficiency, even bought some Boca "sausage", but the option of local, organic, free-range meat is still haunting me.


So my question is, when the meat comes from animals that lived decent lives, were afforded as dignified a death as possible, and have not been fed hormones/antibiotics/other yuckies, why do you still say no?

Mom to blahblah.gifDD (5/07), diaper.gifDS1 (02/10)h20homebirth.gif and babyboy.gif DS2 (11/11)h20homebirth.gif !

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#2 of 6 Old 05-22-2011, 08:16 PM
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I have had cravings for meat too when I'm pregnant and/or breastfeeding.  I liked the smell of stew when I went over to my parents' house.  Sometimes I even dreamed about it.


However, I still always say no for two reasons:


1.  I believe that it is wrong to take away another creature's agency.  It is wrong to control another being's choice of where to live, when to have babies, what to eat.  In my opinion, it is wrong to force another animal to have babies and to take away the babies after they are born.    I think it is wrong to "harvest" another creature when it is time to eat it with no fair hunt or fight.


2.  The whole idea that somehow "grassfed" cows and freerange chickens are environmentally sound options for meat eaters is incorrect. 


Unless you live somewhere grass grows year round, cows are not grassfed in the winter.  They are fed alfalfa and dried grass which must be raised in fields during the summer.  This uses a HUGE amount of water.  In my backyard, a big river flows during the months when alfalfa can't grow.  When the alfalfa fields are being irrigated in the summer and fall, the river completely dries up, taking with it lots of wildlife - frogs, fish, insects, birds...


Additionally, the grassfed cows wreak havoc on the water supply.  They both consume large amounts of this scarce resource and they pollute it with their bodily wastes.  I like to take my kids swimming in the little streams in the mountains near our house during the summer.  It is very hard to find one that is not clogged and stinking of manure from these creatures.  They compact the ground with their hooves.  Plants cannot grow where there are many cows.  It's sad to see what once must have been beautiful meadows on public land, now made into manure soaked, compacted ground. 


Freerange chickens may be a little better environmentally than the cows; they use less water and food.  However, like farmed salmon, they can pass diseases to thier wild cousins.  They also can act as a vector for wild bird diseases that are then passed to humans.  Flocks of chickens need to be carefully managed to avoid these problems.  The example of a freerange chicken flock I have witnessed consisted of closely packed, stressed birds living in not so clean conditions.  They were very close to ducks who were in contact with other wild waterfowl.  Poor plan, I think.


Anyway, that's why I don't eat farmed meat.  I don't eat other meat just because I don't need to.  When I have a craving for meat I just remind myself that it's healthier not to eat it anyway.

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#3 of 6 Old 05-22-2011, 09:10 PM
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Free-range chickens are usually raised in groups far too large to establish a pecking order, and they go crazy. I've seen this used as a pro-battery cage argument, but it argues for vegetarianism even better.

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#4 of 6 Old 05-22-2011, 09:13 PM
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Because the chicken doesn't/didn't want to be eaten.

Created an instant family (7/89 and 5/91) in 1997. Made a baby boy 12/05 adopted a baby girl 8/08. Ask me about tandem adoptive nursing. Now living as gluten, dairy, cane sugar, and tomato free vegetarians. Homeschooling and loving it.

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#5 of 6 Old 05-23-2011, 10:17 AM
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I guess that depends on your reasons for being vegetarian in the first place. Is it because of the meat industry? Is it for environmental reasons? Is it for spiritual reasons? For me, it's all of the above. Even if the first two things improved, there is still a spiritual side of it for me. I don't believe in taking a living creature's life unnecessarily, be it human or animal.

When you became a vegetarian all of those meat options were available to you, so there had to be a reason you decided not to eat it then. What has changed, besides having a craving?
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#6 of 6 Old 05-24-2011, 10:52 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for everyone's opinions. The impulse has passed, as I knew it would, it just got me to thinking. We lived in a different state when I stopped eating meat, and free-range meat wasn't as readily available (and we were flat broke), so it was never an option that I truly considered, if that makes sense. When I had to choose between factory farmed meat and vegetarianism, it was an obvious choice. Where we are now, though, a lot of my friends order meat from small, local farms, and the conditions at the farms I've seen are nothing compared to what was described above. Small herds/flocks of healthy, happy-looking animals. It just got me to thinking that, really, except for the last couple of minutes, these animals have pretty good lives. That last couple of minutes is a bit of an issue for me still, though.


Also, I've always kind of thought that any demand on even the free-range, local, organic meat industry is still demand for meat, in general, and in some small way has a trickle-down effect and puts demand on the industrial meat industry. As in, if I buy this chicken from the farmer, down the road somewhere there will be a person who goes to the grocery store and buys their meat there because the farmer was out this week.


(Hormones do funny things. I can't wait for this part of pregnancy to pass....)

Mom to blahblah.gifDD (5/07), diaper.gifDS1 (02/10)h20homebirth.gif and babyboy.gif DS2 (11/11)h20homebirth.gif !

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