Saturday, August 27, 2005

naturally and humanely raised meat

Richard the Pig hangs out with his buds at Goat Lady Dairy farm

All right. I did it. I bought some baby back ribs this morning from Back Woods Farms at the Greensboro Farmer's Curb Market. Wes Peterson changed the name of his business to avoid confusion with a Peterson who is selling conventionally raised meat at the Piedmont Triad Farmer's Market at Sandy Ridge Road.

To understand the significance of this, you should know that I have boycotted pork since around 1996. I am enormously concerned about the effects of huge industrial hog farms on our state's environment and quality of life. Plus, I had a mind-meld with a pig on a truck in which he was in a complete panic. I won't tell you what he told me. It was a private thing just between us, and can't be articulated in human words anyway.

In the past year, as I have become aware of the changing conditions of our food supply, and the importance of buying locally on the economy and the environment, I have finally come to this conclusion. I am going to support the small farmers who make an effort to provide us with healthy, humanely produced meat, poultry, egg, and dairy products. As much as I would like to become a vegetarian, it is not going to happen any time soon. And if I can eat something that used to breathe, what's the difference between eating seafood and beef? Or pork? Or chicken? As long as these animals are raised in a pleasant environment in natural conditions and taken care of, they are better off than in the wild. My reasoning was that we'd be better off without pigs altogether than for them to be raised in horrible conditions. I still believe that is true, but it is not a practical solution. It won't happen. But we do have choices now.

Until recently, you couldn't get humanely farm-raised pork with no antibiotics or growth hormones unless you were buddies with a small farmer who raised his own. Now, with large companies like Niman Ranch and small farmers like Wes Peterson getting into the game, you can. It's a different market these days. More and more consumers are demanding meat products that aren't raised in filthy, disgusting conditions. You can also buy chicken, beef, turkey, and lamb. Deep Roots Market and Earth Fare carry organic, free-range, and antibiotic/hormone-free meats if you can't make it to the farmers' markets.

Now, I don't know if I'll be able to make myself eat these ribs. I've conditioned my mind against it for about nine years now, and you can convince yourself of anything if you work hard enough at it. My brain says, don't eat a pig. It's an intelligent creature whose only purpose in life is to suffer for our gain. But Wes is doing us, and pigs, a service here, and if I don't eat these, my husband will be happy to have them all to himself.

I highly recommend that everyone watch The Meatrix. What will it be for you, the red pill or the blue pill? The video starts up when you open the page.

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