Monday, November 20, 2006

Respect Your Meat

I never go on a rant about being a vegetarian. And I certainly don't try to convert people to a vegetarian diet. I lived on meat and potatoes for a good portion of my life. However, what does bother me is how few Americans know how the animals they eat are raised and slaughtered. I believe people should at least have some awareness of it while they are munching on their McNuggets or mindlessly carving the Thanksgiving bird of choice.

As we edge closer to the Thanksgiving festivities, which inevitably for the vast majority of Americans, will involve unhealthy excess consumption with nary a thought about the origins of their feast, give it a thought and some thanks.

Please read this piece by Anna Hanks which was published in the Austin American-Statesman today.
I don't want laying hens spending their entire lives in cages smaller than this newspaper page, or hogs having their curly tails cut just so their tails won't get infected when bitten by other cranky, overcrowded hogs. I don't want cattle standing in their own waste at feedlots.

Why let animals suffer just so corporations can make more money? It's wrong. My position is supported by Michael Pollan in his fantastic book "The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals."

While we'll spend Thanksgiving celebrating gluttony, if you'll be eating meat, please consider meat that had a chance to live a good life before being dispatched to your dinner table. A good start is looking for chow from local farmers market participants.

I've never done the "Tofurkey" routine at Thanksgiving. Giving up meat meant giving up some traditions that obviously didn't mean that much to me to begin with.

We usually will go out for a vegetarian thali at an Indian restaurant during the holidays. This year I'm planning to do more cooking over this long holiday weekend -- maybe a spread of soul food with sweet potatoes, black eyed peas, some collard greens, perhaps some creamed corn or mac & cheese, jalapeno corn bread, and a vegetarian "meat" patty. And some of Minstrel Boy's Killer Kranberry sauce.

Life can't get much better than that.

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