When people search for humane chicken their minds usually focus on one thing, access to the outdoors aka is it free range or pasture raised? The thing is that this doesn’t actually matter all that much when looking at the big picture. If you start with a genetically unhealthy animal then raising it outdoors will do little to improve its life. I’d much rather eat a genetically healthy chicken raised in a barn than a badly bred free range bird. Taking what are called hybrids and raising them naturally is the equivalent of planting a GMO seed of corn in an organic field and calling it organic… it just doesn’t make sense.
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.
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.
I spent last weekend at the first ever Jewish Intentional Communities Conference, which was cosponsored by Hazon and the Pearlstone Retreat Center. It was very inspiring to see the many unique intentional communities in the works at the moment, and the conference gave me hope that I could one day live a rich and rural Jewish life. But my busy weekend left me no time to write a post so here's some interesting articles and media that have been floating around.
I’m sick and tired of vegetarians thinking they are somehow doing animals a favor by not eating their flesh. Now I’ve got no beef, pun intended, with vegans. You’ve got to respect people who are able to abstain from all animal products, and as long as they can do it in a healthy manner, I see it as a positive way to fully and truly avoid the cruelties of commercial animal production. For that matter, I have no problem with people becoming vegetarians because of personal preference, health, or environmental concerns. While I do think that meat production done right can in many instances help the environment,* and that meat is very healthy when consumed as part of a balanced diet,* I can still respect people choosing to abstain from it for legitimate considerations. What I absolutely cannot stand is when someone becomes a vegetarian because of animal welfare. The fantasy that simply going veg helps animals is a lie, it hurts animals, it harms society, and I will not keep quiet about it any longer.
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.