1.20.2010

My thoughts on sustainable, local meat

Something that has come up in some recent vegan discussions I have had is "what about local, sustainable meat"? On our blog we have thus far focused on factory farmed animals, which arguably is the where MOST Americans get their meat from. But there is a small percentage of people who are "doing their part" and refusing to eat animals raised in factory farms. They are choosing animal products that are local, sustainable, organic, pesticide free, hormone free, etc. How do the VVS feel about that?

I think that we all have different ideas on the topic. My thoughts are two-fold. For one, this way of eating does not address the animal rights issue. As far as I'm concerned, it conveniently avoids it. I do agree and have read statistics, studies, listened to educated friends, etc on the topic of local, sustainable animal products. And I do agree with those points. But I still have a major issues with the idea of KILLING an animal directly for our personal satisfaction. I believe that there is something karmically wrong with killing another living being for our unnecessary consumption, no matter how sustainable or organic it is.

On the other hand, I can appreciate and work to understand their eating habits (as I hope mine are appreciated and understood). I don't believe it is realistic to assume that I can turn everyone vegan! And I don't believe that is my goal. My goal is for people to understand the food choices they are making and to become active participants in their decisions.....not lay back as spectators, like most Americans do.

I'll leave you with a thought that I got from an interview of Jonathan Safran Foer (author of "Eating Animals"). And that is that it is more important to ask people to take the first step, rather than promoting the last step. I.E. to a carnivorous average American.....I'd rather promote eliminating factory farmed animal products from their diets, rather than promote going vegan right away. I believe it is more realistic and more palatable to people to make baby steps. Even one less meal without animal products is a success in my eyes!

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