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.
I watched an excellent and utterly tragic documentary over the weekend called Blackfish (now on netflix). It reveals the exploitation of killer whales and the reckless endangerment of workers by Seaworld and the marine mammal theme park industry. It does this within the backdrop of the story of Tilikum, a captive whale that’s killed at least two people and still performs at Seaworld Orlando today. Blackfish is reminiscent of the dolphin hunting and exploitation documentary The Cove, but focuses its attention squarely onto the mistreatment of whales being kept in captivity. Both films highlight something very important to my work with animals, venturing beyond the barnyard. While the vast majority of interest in animal welfare is directed towards farming, which admittedly does causes the most horrific and widespread problems, many complex and distressing zoological issues exist throughout society. In every place that we interact with our carnal brethren there is great potential for us to cause them needless harm. We have a duty to meticulously inspect each and every one of these interactions to ensure that the creatures with which we share this planet experience no needless suffering at our hands.
One of the most common marketing claims slapped onto poultry products today is “vegetarian fed”. This has proven to be a great way for both factory farm and pastured poultry producers to market themselves as a more natural choice. Companies from the likes of Eggland’s Best Eggs, to Empire Kosher and even KOL Foods, a pasture raised kosher meat company, use the slogan. The benefits of such feeding methods are dubious at best and new research is showing that chickens prefer and do better on an animal protein (AP) based diet. But not only is this fad proving to be a great advertising method for factory farmers, it’s also putting pressure on good poultry producers to adopt unhealthy practices for their birds.
Tonight is the 4th yerzeit (anniversary of my mothers death) and just this afternoon her father passed from this world as well. Death has touched my life in so many ways over the past several years. Coping with this has been a long and difficult process, but having gone through it I'm now able appreciate life, love and family more than I ever had before. Learning and practicing kosher slaughter has greatly helped me in my path towards embracing death. I believe that killing animals for food is a very effective and important way for our species to interface with and learn about the dying and it seems clear to me that our total disconnection with this process has greatly increased people's fear of death in the modern world. This is an important subject, which I will elaborate on more in the future. But in the meantime I must focus on my family and will keep this post brief. So in the name of brevity and in honor of my Mom's yerzeit as well as my grandfathers memory I've decided to re-post my kosher slaughter video. It discusses how my Mother's death and learning kosher slaughter changed the way I relate to light, life, death and darkness.
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.