Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Conscientious Carnivore

I was lucky enough to attend the Conscientious Carnivore panel at Commonwealth Club with Traca Savadago, Marissa Guggiana, Deborah Krasner, Mac Magruder and Chris Costentino.

We talk so much about ethical and sustainable that sometimes it almost seems a little redundant.Yet if so many people know so much about ethical eating, how is it we are able to learn so many new things at any given time? The answer is because even as the food system is changing, evolving and getting better, in many ways it is also staying the same. So attending a panel about being more conscience of your meat choices and hearing talk of the fact that corn causes so much indigestion in cows that they are the biggest consumers of bicarbonate of soda is a bit unsettling.

It is very easy to get the best meat and know your ranchers in cutting edge cities like San Francisco. Where I live in Oakland, finding a butcher has been harder than one would think. I am a carnivore (a former vegetarian) and I really do care about what I eat. I don't want an animal to have suffered for my dining pleasure as it won't give me any if I believe that. I also don't want to see the continued amount of waste that seems to walk hand in hand with the big Ag industry.

We are fighting against corn syrup, high fructose and otherwise, yet not paying attention that the price of corn dictates the price of beef. Or that 13 billion bushels are grown just for the purpose of feeding that cattle that cannot even digest it, stressing the animal. Stressed animals leads to tough, bruised meat and not exactly what a true carnivore dreams of on their plate.

In the past 50 years we have worried more about quantity than quality, causing us to lose not only the flavor of the food we eat but the interaction with the animals. If an animal is well loved, cared for, fed properly and honored when it is time to transition from life to food, it will mean more all around. There is no real reason that anyone raising animals has to do so without compassion. Our ancestors honored their animals when they became food, and did not waste any part of it.

As we move slowly toward a better way of eating, we move also towards a better way of living. What is healthy for the animals we raise for food is healthy for us. If you cannot stand to see someone abuse a cat or a dog why would you stand by and believe it is okay to abuse chickens, cows, lamb, pigs or any other animal? The fact that we are consuming them means we should be putting in more love and effort to keep them happy rather than less, this much is very clear to me.

Start asking questions and if you don't get answers, move on until you do. It really is up to us to make the changes necessary to ensure the world is running better in another 50 years.

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