After a very busy last few months we have enjoyed regrouping this week, reading, getting out of town for a quick trip and returning to some projects that we had put on hold. One of these projects is an Opening at our house. We plan to exhibit photos by Abby Greenawalt taken when John and I witnessed the harvesting of cows at Eco Friendly Foods. Returning to this project after a few months it is clear that we need to incorporate text with the photos. This weekend we started working on what we want to say. Below is our work on this to date… Please share any ideas or comments.
In the United States today, the prevailing ideology of choice fuels the “Omnivore’s Dilemma”. If we think of ourselves as just one part of an eco-system, to choose to eat meat is unremarkable. Where it was once thought of as a privileged position to choose meat, it now seems to be a privilege to nourish without consuming animal products. To not eat meat is really not an option for many. Protein must come from somewhere and in most cases low quality, factory farm raised and slaughtered, animal protein is the most affordable and accessible option.
Choice as a reining ideology today maybe our most obstinate obstacle to reforming our food system. For many a vegetarian diet is not an option due to economics, time or nutritional knowledge. Similarly, for most in the United States grass fed animals raised on sustainable farms free from antibiotics that are harvested humanely are not affordable or accessible. So we live under an imperative to choose that produces multiple false choices, such as the many fast food options, yet for many in the United States there is no healthy choice. If factory farming, pesticides, steroids, antibiotics, etc. were eradicated from our food systems then one could actually have the choice to eat meat or not. Of course this would be a radical realignment of economic and health care systems. The economy, environment and health care as political issues cannot be approached without a long look at our food system.
Our food system is a network of practices. These practices include farming, processing and marketing. There are conceivable practices that could make eating meat a viable choice. And although eating meat or the taking of life may not be remarkable within an ecosystem, the senseless systematic over-producing or over-harvesting can have huge ramifications on the behavior of the individuals and the overall ecology of that eco-system.
Eating meat from a factory farm is destructive to both our personal health and the health of the environment. Finding ways of getting acceptable clean food products to people of all economic levels is a goal. This includes meat, fish and animal products that are raised sustainably and processed consciously. One of the obstacles to the production and availability of meat is that most animal processing plants are huge industrialized corporate owned places. Eco Friendly Foods is a rare example in today’s world of an alternative to the factory farm slaughterhouse.
Bev Eggleston of Eco Friendly Foods encourages visitors. He claims one of the major problems as it pertains to our food system is transparency, We were privileged to observe a slaughter day, where 6 cows were harvested for food. Witnessing animals being killed for food in a method where the environment, the animal’s life and death are respected partially informed our thoughts about factory vs. sustainable farming. Hopefully these images convey this intense informative experience.