This week marks a decisive shift in our eating. I’ll write more about it in future posts, but the short version is that Rebecca and I made a mutual decision to avoid eating animals raised on factory farms. The tipping point was reading Eating Animals, by Jonathan Safran Foer, a book that convinced us wholeheartedly to refuse to participate in the mass-suffering that occurs at concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs).
Having little exposure to animals makes it easier to push aside questions about how our actions might influence their treatment. The problem posed by meat has become an abstract one: there is no individual animal, no singular look of joy or suffering, no wagging tail and no scream. The philosopher Elaine Scarry has observed that “beauty always takes place in the particular.” Cruelty, on the other hand, prefers abstraction.
But what ARE we now? Vegans? Vegetarians? Because people will inevitable ask, and boy does our culture rely on labels. We still eat eggs, milk, and meat, but only if we know the animals were well cared-for. Seafood only if we know that it was sustainably raised, managed, and caught. Foer suggests “selective omnivore” as a label.
The really short version is this: would we still want to eat animal product x if we knew how the animals were treated? The more we look into it, even a cursory search into the practices of some “organic,” “certified,” “fresh,” “natural,” “cage-free,” “grass fed,” or “free range” products, the more we realize that most of these terms mean practically nothing, and some mean exactly nothing. We realized that we couldn’t really think of ourselves as environmentalists if we continued to support CAFO “agriculture.” In terms of environmental impact, the decisions we make about food matter more than the decisions we make about personal transportation.
It’s going to take work. And lots of research. And we’ll probably piss some people off along the way.
But we really, really, REALLY think it’s worth it.
Saturday and Sunday
Monday and Tuesday
Wednesday and Thursday
Friday and Saturday
Herbed Summer Squash and Potato Torte + leftover salad
On the back burner (a to-cook list):
- Thai Summer Rolls
- Salad Pizza
- California Veggie Sandwiches from Meatless
- Wild Rice Gratin with Kale