Friday, February 27, 2004

The Lion King: Being a safe and relatively benevolent carnivore

Whence the Beef? - The gruesome trip from pasture to platter (and how to ensure that it's not so bad). By Laurie Snyder

It's not that easy to be a Lion King -- ironically it's easiest for beef. Just as with any consumer good, brands matter. It's the reputation of the brand that validates the labels, not any regulatory agency. The early 21st century is an age where identity and reputation are fundamental, just as in the early 19th century, in part due to a libertarian current in our cultural evolution. For meat as with email ....
[beef]... To be certified "organic," cattle must be raised without hormones or antibiotics of any kind and must eat only pesticide-free vegetarian feed. Beef labeled "grass-fed" is the favorite of many animal rights activists. ... keep an eye out for labels that read "never confined to a feedlot." .... Two for grass-fed beef are and

[pork] ... As with organic beef, organic pork is vegetarian, and antibiotic- and hormone-free, but may have spent months in cramped CAFOs. Some producers also sell what they call free-range or meadow-raised pork, meaning pigs that are pastured for much of the year... But there are no restrictions on the use of these terms, so be sure to ask for the details.

[turkey - the author didn't have any alternative to suggest! Sounds like wild turkeys can't be effectively harvested. Too fast!]

[eggs - she only mentions McDonald's?] Fast-food giant McDonald's announced in 2000 that all producers who supply its eggs must give hens 72 square inches each (more than three times what they typically get), cannot use forced-molting, and should stop de-beaking chicks.

[poultry] ....According to activists, turkeys and chickens labeled "free range" didn't necessarily enjoy much more mobility than their CAFO-raised peers. In the United States, poultry can be labeled free-range as long as there's some access to the outdoors, for some of the birds in a flock. Free-range chicks are still often de-beaked, and free-range egg-laying hens still spend their days in battery cages—they just have a bit more room to move about. One term to keep an eye out for is "cage free"—fowl raised in open spaces are likely a bit better off.

No comments: