Grass-fed meat and dairy products are all the rage these days. When I worked in a health-food store, people would constantly ask if our beef, milk, and even sometimes our chicken came from grass-fed animals. But is giving animals grain really all that bad, and what does grass-fed really mean? While people are very interested in this issue, most have little understanding of the many nuances within it. To truly understand, we must look beyond the marketing slogans and explore animal digestion, human history, and more.
Most people don't have the stomach to find out where all the animals they eat come from. So in resignation to this reality I have decided to list the five worst treated farm animals out there. This way, if you do care, but just aren’t ready to do much about it, you can at least try to avoid those most abused. I am not endorsing this as constituting ethical eating, but it can be a real step in the right direction
1. Turkeys – Turkeys have been so heavily hybridized and genetically modified through intensive breeding methods that they are the only farm animal that cannot naturally reproduce, and must be artificially inseminated, not a pretty job. Once hatched, they experience terrible living conditions, often necessitating the painful removal of the birds’ beaks and spurs. Turkeys also grow so fast that their bones and organs can barely keep up, and they frequently go lame, or die of organ failure.
I spent the first eight and a half years of my life living on one of Israel’s much-idealized kibbutzim (communal living villages). My mom worked in the kibbutz dairy, and for a time my dad worked with the broiler chickens. I loved milking the cows, and my favorite thing in the world was to let the calves put my entire hand in their mouths. Through these experiences I developed a great fascination and love for animals that has never left me.
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.