Before I power on with todays show on:
I have a story to share.
It illustrates the importance of context and also how easy it can be to judge and perhaps to judge unfairly.
I was recently infuriated to hear of comedian Joe Rogan’s new found zest for hunting. At face value hunting strikes me as a sick, cruel, repulsive way to spend your time.
However on closer analyze I found there was more to uncover. Joe is a meat eater and he’s decided killing his own meat and using every part of it (which means one animal can last months) is a more ethical approach than factory farming.
I actually agree. To quote Joe: “I think the real cruelty comes from factory farming and these animals that are raised in a way that’s not hygienic, and it’s disgusting to see the animals crammed on top of each other.
In my opinion, hunting is the opposite of cruelty because you’re allowing this animal to live a completely free life, and then going out and finding it. You go out and get it and, in an instant, it’s over. That animal has lived exactly as it would without you ever interfering in its existence, and then all of a sudden you’re eating it.
I think if you’re going to be a meat-eater, it’s the ethical way to do it.”
Now let’s compare this to the huge disconnect that exists so far as the animal you never see… until it’s all neatly processed and packaged – it’s best bits up on display to pick over at the supermarket or pick from on your local restaurant menu.
That animal has likely lived a life as unnatural, as restricted, as joyless as you could possibly imagine… if you dared too.
It endured brutally overcrowded transportation from factory farm to slaughter house.
I’m guessing if you’re a meat eater you choose not to imagine the filthy factory farm, the terrifying transportation and you certainly don’t imagine the abhorrence that is the abattoir.
It isn’t about judgement because there’s zero value in that. Today I simply want to explore something close to my heart. Something I know I can get better at too.
My weigh-in on Ethical Eating isn’t going to be an exhaustive How To. For the person who’s decided I know there are plenty of online resources to provide you with the Hows and the Where’s.
Today is more about Why you might consider it and Why everything counts.
First though: What is Ethical Eating?
Until recently I didn’t have a definition. Personally it was more the desire to feel ok with the food choices I make. Now that’s pretty damn UN-inspiring (!) so I found a great explanation and I’ll credit the resource in the show notes for today however here it is: “Ethical eating recognizes the moral consequences of our food choices. The ways our societies raise, buy, and consume our food has direct effects on the earth, plants and animals, and humans who work to make our food available.”
So of course it’s not just about the animals. It’s about people. The planet. The future.
I gravitate towards focusing on the animals’ part of the process however YOU might be more concerned about the person growing your food and the quality of life they lead? Or maybe the impact on our planet is of greater concern?
As I think about it I’m glad we all have different triggers that inspire us to take action. There’s no right or wrong. No better cause to fight for. Context. Perception. Your life experiences, values and beliefs all have a roll to play.
One: Why you might consider it.
A) Ignorance is no longer an excuse.
The internet means you no longer have to come into contact with the animal activist who’s entire life is devoted to stopping animal suffering. To be clear, I have huge respect for someone with such a singular focus and passion however years working in fundraising for not for profits taught me that such an approach can be isolating.
Too extreme can cause the undecided to switch off.
Now all the information you could possibly want is available for free, to be consumed at a pace you can handle.
You don’t have to care as much about the whole pasture to plate process as me. In the same way that I’m not as committed (yet) as the Vegan who unwaveringly touches no animal products be it food / clothing / furniture or anything.
Your choice is yours alone however if you’re claiming: “But surely they don’t lead that bad a life?” as you buy your cage eggs or tuck into KFC… I’m not hearing you.
B) The weak, unhealthy vegetarian or vegan argument has been exploded.
Again Google is your friend if you’re looking for proof. The thing with the internet is it’ll show you whatever you’re looking for.
Hunt for evidence to support: the health risks of a meat free diet and you’ll likely find it. Equally if you type in: the health risks of eating meat you’ll find copious evidence / studies / experts too.
I’m now of the belief a Vego or Vegan OR Meat-eating approach can each be followed either healthily or to your detriment.
Again the eating path you follow is your choice alone however please don’t wave health as your excuse.
Two: Why everything counts.
A) In a demand led consumer economy, where you choose to spend your dollar signals what is most important to you. And what you want produced more. This is what I told myself years ago when I was tight for cash and still forking out for free range eggs.
Even when the sceptics told me: “You’ve got no guarantee they’re even free range.”
You’ve got to believe that even your tiny, little statement counts. Because it does. To the factory farms, to the policy makers and to YOU.
B) Perfectionism is the perfect excuse to never take action.
“But I could never give up bacon!”
“My husband and kids won’t eat vegetarian.”
Or my personal previous belief: “I could never be vegetarian, I just love meat too much!”
If you’re interested in exploring ethical eating – and Yes I’ve gravitated back to focus on the ethics so far as the animals in the equation however for you it may well mean the people or the planet affected by your food choices: Expecting all or nothing from yourself is setting yourself up to fail.
And giving yourself the perfect excuse to do nothing.
To get actionable today there are a lot of options far less extreme than killing your own meat. For example…
=> There’s journalist Graham Hill’s approach: Become a Weekday Vegetarian.
I’ll link to his TED talk on exactly that in the show notes. It begins with the question: “Knowing what I know – why am I not vegetarian?”
He really does a great job of explaining how the health risks, the cruelty and the environmental impact were not enough to convince him to commit to trade in Meat Eater for Vegetarian… and how instead he’s chosen a third option.
I really recommend Hill’s TED talk. If you can’t get to the show notes just Google, Graham Hill Become a Weekday Vegetarian.
That’s it for me today. Thanks so very much for spending this time with me. I hope you can join me for the Friday show where I’m covering: How To Be The E.X.C.E.P.T.I.O.N.
If you liked this you’ll also like: Confused About What To Eat To Lose Weight?
If you’re yet to share the Healthification love – just click here to zip over to iTunes and leave an honest rating and review. It’d help me out big time. With gratitude, Kate.