Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Happy Animals

Happy cow.

In the last week I have watched two very disturbing movies about food in the United States. I highly recommend the movie Food, Inc and recommend (though less highly) the movie King Corn. Food Inc is about the control corporations have over our food supply and the effects this has on our health, food choices, animals, and the environment. I consider myself fairly knowledgeable about this type of thing, and I found the movie shocking. King Corn is about the over abundance of corn produced in our country - the whys of this as well as the consequences. Again, this effects our health, food choices, animals and environment. There is so much corn in this country right now, that it becomes what the majority of americans eat the majority of the time. And it's not because we're eating corn on the cob. It's because our animals are now fed primarily corn and because we're shoveling nasty high fructose corn syrup in every possible grocery item (even some not so possible ones).

But, I digress...... One of the things both movies discussed in detail was the fact that our livestock are now fed primarily corn because we have too darn much of it and because it's super cheap. Oh, and because it fattens them up quickly. The problem is that our animals weren't actually meant to live off corn. Cows don't eat corn, they eat grasses. Corn messes them up. Both movies had cows who have holes in their stomachs because the corn produces so much crud someone has to stick their hands in and clean it out. When we feed cows corn they get fat more quickly but they are more unhealthy and require more antibiotics. Food Inc also discussed the quality of life for these animals. They are crammed really closely together in very small quarters - the less they move the fatter they get. Again, it causes many health problems for the animals. And not only that, but corporation chickens can't move anyhow. They now are bred to have huge breasts - so huge their legs no longer support them.

Holey cow.

I could go on and on about all the points made in the movie (and have several times to several friends), but I'll spare you. The point here is that the movie made me feel the need to go search out happy animals. Happy animals that are allowed to roam and develop real muscles and graze on grasses as their ancestors did. Happy animals that don't have to live smashed together trompling on their own feces developing any manner of diseases for the convenience of us humans. Shoot, one doesn't even need to think about this from the point of view of the animals. Animals that are fed properly given adequate space produce healthier meat. They need less antibiotics and their meat contains more vitamins and healthier fats.

I have been buying chicken at Trader Joes. I get the expensive 'organic' 'free range' kind. But trader joes is a huge corporation. How happy are their chicken really? So, I've been searching the web for happy farms and ways to get my meat straight from the farmer. It's a little tough for me because I'm not really inclined to buy 1/2 a cow - which is how most farmers seem to want to sell me their meat. I did go to the farmer's market on Sunday and got some very happy lamb that was pretty tasty. And my current goal is to figure out how to cook a whole chicken so I can quit buying my trader joe breasts and buy a whole happy chicken with reasonably sized breasts. And what I really want to do, is get little chickens for my back yard. (No, I'm not going to kill them, for the eggs).

So that' s my current obsession. Eating happy animals! And you probably thought this blog was going to be about Otto!

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