Archive for the Meet Your Meat Category

Meet Your Meat: Pigs

Posted in Animal Welfare, Meet Your Meat on August 10, 2009 by Powered By Produce

Back to the basics this week: Meet your meat.

Pigs are often compared to dogs because they are affectionate, loyal, and intelligent. Most people are not familiar with pigs because 97% of pigs in the United States today are on factory farms. People would be surprised to learn that pigs dream, recognize names, play video games better than some primates, and lead social lives of the same complexity as primates. In fact, according to Dr. Donald Broom, Cambridge University professor and former scientific advisor to the Council of Europe, “[Pigs] have the cognative ability to be quite sophisticated. Even more so than dogs and certainly [more so than] three-year-olds.” Learn more about the intelligence of pigs.

Pigs on today’s farms are denied all of their instincts. Mother pigs (sows) spend the majority of their lives in individual “gestation crates” which are two feet wide, too small for them to even turn around. According to a March 2004 article in the Des Moines Register, “A pregnant sow’s biological need to build a nest before having her litter is so great that some sows confined in modern hog buildings will rub their snouts raw on the concrete floor while trying to satisfy the drive.”

This deprived environment causes neurotic coping behaviors such as continual bar biting, obsessive pressing on water bottles, and sham chewing (chewing nothing). One slaughterhouse investigator wrote, “what will remain with me forever is the sound of desperate pigs banging their heads against immovable doors and their constant and repeated biting at the prison bars that held them captive. This, I now know, is a sign of mental collapse.”

Piglets are taken from their mothers as young as 10 day old and are packed into overcrowed pens until they are sent off for breeding or fattening. Because they are not properly weaned from their mothers, they bite each other’s tails, searching for milk. To prevent this problem, piglets’ tails are cut off and the ends of their teeth are broken off, both without the use of pain killers.

Just like all other animals in CAFOs (Confined Animal Feeding Operations), sick pigs are left untreated and either die from illness or are killed by “thumping” (slamming animal’s head against the floor until they die), drowning, or standing on their neck. According to a November 2002 article in the New York Times, “Sick pigs, being unproductive ‘production units’ are clubbed to death on the spot.” Approximately 100 million pigs are killed in the US each year. A Washington Post article reported that, “[hogs] are dunked in taks of hot water after they are stunned to soften the hides for skinning. As a result, a botched slaughter condemns some hogs to being scalded and drowned. Secret videotape from an Iowa pork plant shows hogs squealing and kicking as they are being lowered into the water.”

According to one slaughter plant worker, “After they left me, the hogs would go up a hundred-foot ramp to a tank where they’re dunked in 140° water…Water any hotter than that would take the meat right off their bones…There’s no way these animals can bleed out in the few minutes it takes to get up the ramp. By the time they hit the scalding tank, they’re still fully conscious and squealing. Happens all the time.”

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Breakfast: Cereal with soy milk
Lunch: Falafel pita sandwich
Dinner: Went to a BBQ – veggie burger, pasta salad, cornbread, beans

Meet Your Meat: Cows

Posted in Animal Welfare, Meet Your Meat on June 12, 2009 by Powered By Produce

This video pretty much sums it up – please watch it:

http://www.goveg.com/swf/255-mym_cattle_dairy.swf

The one thing the video leaves out is how we’ve even turned something as simple as feeding the cows into an act of abuse and cruelty. For more on what we feed our cows and how it makes them sick, see my posts Feeding Our Food (Part 1) and Feeding Our Food (Part 2).

The unimaginable treatment of these animals is enough to make me quit meat, but on top of that, I am flat out disguted by the fact that the beef we buy comes from sick, diseased, unhealthy animals that are raised in manure up to their ankles. I mean, that’s just gross.
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Breakfast: English Muffin with spray butter, which blatently violates my advice to Eat Food
Lunch: Microwavable brown rice & veggie bowl
Dinner: Pasta with zucchini, tomato, garlic, fresh parsley, pine nuts, and olive oil

Meet Your Meat: Chickens and Turkeys

Posted in Animal Welfare, Meet Your Meat on June 3, 2009 by Powered By Produce

Chickens and turkeys are by far the most abused animals on the planet. They are crammed into dark, windowless, overcrowded sheds with as many as 40,000 birds per shed. These sheds are filthy with excrement and reek of ammonia.

A writer for The New Yorker visited a chicken shed and wrote, “I was almost knocked to the ground by the overpowering smell of feces and ammonia. My eyes burned and so did my lungs, and I could neither see nor breathe…. There must have been 30,000 chickens sitting silently on the floor in front of me… living in nearly total darkness, and they would spend every minute of their lives that way.”

These conditions cause the chickens and turkeys to develop chronic respiratory diseases, bronchitis, weakened immune systems, “ammonia burn” a painful eye infection, and open, untreated, infected sores and wounds.

(Yes, turkeys and chickens like this are processed for slaughter… mmm.)

Not only is the floor of the shed covered in excrement, but it is also littered with dead bird corpses. The birds that don’t die from diseases cause by filth, or heart attacks caused by the gross weight gain, can die from starvation. Because chickens and turkeys are genetically manipulated and fed huge quantities of antibiotics to promote abnormally fast and large growth, often their legs cripple under their immense weight. The crippled animals can not stand or walk to get food or water. By the age of 6 weeks, 90% of broiler chickens are so obese they can not walk.

Chickens and turkeys are handled very violently. They are roughly grabbed by their legs, necks, wings, and slung into crates, or slammed onto the ground. They are kicked, and stomped on, then left to suffer with broken legs or wings.

Plus, birds are exempt from the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, so they have no federal legal protections. At slaughter, chickens and turkeys are shackled upside down by their fragile legs. Their throats are slit while they are still fully conscious, they are then immersed into a pot of scalding water to remove the feathers. Many are still alive when they are scalded to death. Every year, 9 billion (with a ‘b’) chickens and 300 million turkeys are killed for food in the US.

If you eat chicken and turkey, you can watch this:

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Breakfast: Fruit leather and string cheese.

Lunch: Veggie Delight sub from Subway.

Dinner: Stir Fry. Just toss in ANY veggies you like (squash, zucchini, broccoli, bell peppers, onion, tomoato, water chestnuts, spinach, those little corn things, even pineapple, just to name a few) and add soy sauce, or teriyaki sauce, or any type of marinade, it doesn’t even have to be Asian, just something you like!