A video of animal cruelty popped up on my facebook feed today, three times! Here it is. It shows a factory farm where McDonald's gets their eggs. A lot of the comments on the post have been anti-McDonald's, some of the have been pro-vegan.
I am not pro-McDonald's, but they are not the problem, I am; Most of us are. All restaurants that sell animal products, unless you know they buy from sustainable and ethical farms, treat their animals like products and not animals. I don't buy ALL my animal products from local farms. Because of that I am indirectly promoting the abuse of these animals by buying that Egg McMuffin, or that fancy breakfast at the upscale place in my town.
Do I like the abuse of animals? Of course not. But it's not that big of a priority of mine when I am hungry or when I want to have a nice sit-down meal with my family. It's easy to turn my head to the treatment of animals because I don't see it.
By not buying my animal products at a farm where I have a relationship with the farmers and where I am able to go see the farm, I am lowering the animals worth. I am not viewing the animal as a gift, but as a right. I am not thinking of the animal's sacrifice, I am thinking how cheap I can get my meal.
I have killed two animals in my life, both chickens. One of them went to the farm where I went through the chicken processing class and one, from that same class, has been in my freezer for months. I am still too emotional to eat it.
I am scheduled to harvest my Thanksgiving turkey this Sunday at a small, sustainable and ethical farm. I have been thinking about cutting that cute little animal's neck for the past six months. I absolutely do not want to drive one hour to Wisconsin to kill a turkey with a knife in 20 degree weather early in the morning. But it is not a choice of mine. I have eaten meat guilt free for 32 years. That turkey deserves my respect. I will look it in the eye and give it my absolute thanks for giving my family a very special meal before I take its life. It is a huge gift for this small farm to open its doors and have their customers help harvest animals.
I haven't seen that many suggestions for preventing the abuse of animals. McDonald's said they are not buying eggs from this farm anymore. But where are they going? How many eggs does McDonald's sell a day? Will the farm they are going to, be able to keep up with the demand for eggs without lowering the animals worth? And if they are able to keep up with the demand, that means they are a large scale farm that is already selling to large companies. So is the animal an animal, or a means to make a product? And, where are the beef cows, dairy cows, broiler chickens, fish and pigs in all this?
Can our culture not eat as much meat, and spend more money on the meat we buy? I can buy a whole broiler chicken for less than $7.00. That's crazy! How can farmers make a profit? Can we give up multinational companies that treat animals like products and support small businesses that have soul? Can we be accountable for gathering a portion of our own meat; hunting and/or raising and harvesting?
I eat meat and it is hard to transfer to eating locally, sustainably and ethically. I need to eat less meat. I need to cook more and I need support. I want you to come out to a farm to help me harvest a chicken or a turkey. I don't want to feel weird telling people, "I am killing my own Thanksgiving turkey this year!" Can we form a supportive community that loves our land, animals and culture?