1. Ditch that canned tuna, buy Alaskan salmon instead.
According to the website healthytuna.com canned tuna is the second most popular seafood in the United States and accounts for 1/3 of the entire U.S. fish segment. Americans eat approximately 1 billion pounds of canned tuna at an average rate of 2.7 pounds per capita annually. Tuna’s immense popularity is quite worrying when one looks at the destructive practices of the industry as well as the high levels of mercury found in most tuna fish.* For those die hard tuna lovers out there sustainable low mercury options do exist,* but they can be hard to find and are often an expensive alternative to a traditionally low cost product. Luckily an easy and inexpensive answer can be readily found for an affordable price, canned Alaskan salmon. The Alaskan salmon fishery is widely known as one of the world’s most sustainably maintained. The fishery enjoys a best choice ranking from the Monterey Bay Aquarium seafood watch program as well as the coveted Marine Stewardship Council seal of approval. Wild salmon also boasts low levels of mercury and exceptionally high amounts of omega 3. All this factored in with the affordable price at which it can be purchased virtually anywhere, makes canned salmon my number one easiest way to eat animals more ethically in 2014.
2. Nix factory farmed eggs, eat pasture raised instead.
Egg laying hens are likely the most abused farm animal on the planet. From the beginning to the end of life people show little care for the well being of a factory farmed hen and instead solely focus on extracting as much production as possible with minimum cost from these poor birds. Hens are forced to undergo painful beak trimming after which they face a life of confinement to a cage smaller than the size of a piece of paper.* Luckily for concerned consumers everywhere many alternatives are readily available. While simply looking for organic, free range or cage free eggs guarantees little to nothing in the way of animal treatment, many high welfare pasture raised producers that have taken significant steps in the right direction do exist. From local farms and farmers markets to national producers such as Vital Farms, after doing a minimal amount of research you can easily find and affordable and ethical source of eggs near you. Pastured eggs are more expensive than factory farmed versions but if one looks at the per egg price it becomes clear that they are actually quite affordable. If I pay $6, as is average, for a dozen pastured eggs than each egg only costs me $0.50, so if I eat two eggs for breakfast that only comes to a total of only $1.00. The high ethical cost of factory farmed eggs and the relative ease and inexpensive price of their pasture raised counterparts makes this my second easiest way to eat animals more ethically in 2014.
3. Stop eating Rubashkins, go for Grow & Behold beef instead.
While the Rubashkins (aka Postville, aka Agriprocessors ) meat scandal caused shock waves to ripple throughout the kosher world, years later most Jewish consumers have slowly allowed this meat to enter back into their homes. Rubashkins did go bankrupt after the scandal but they were quickly bought up by Agristar and remain one the country’s largest producers of kosher beef.* Their Postville facility is the only one in the country that uses the Weinberg-Facomia pen which inverts the cow onto its back before slaughter, causing much unneeded stress on the animals.* But since the scandal broke out several new progressive kosher meat companies have popped up and likely the most successful of these is Grow and Behold (G&B). While G&B is not perfect and does source hybridized poultry for their pasture raised chicken and turkey products, a practice which I strongly disagree with, they are still likely the most ethical kosher meat company out there, especially when one looks at their lamb and beef. Paying $10 per pound for some stew meat can seem like a lot but the price is actually not so high when compared with other kosher beef manufacturers. All of this mixed with their easy to use website, low shipping prices and outstanding selection and quality makes bagging Rubashkins and buying Grow and Behold my 3rd easiest choice for eating more ethically in 2014.
About the blog:
Welcome to The Kosher Omnivore's Quest! My old blog on kosher slaughter, kosher meat, and animal welfare. For new content check out my new website, The Kosher Cut™. There you'll find: blog posts about shechita and related topics, educational slaughter presentations, kosher slaughter training, and a selection of high quality professional kosher slaughter equipment.