If you're avoiding meat from a sense of fellow-feeling with warm-blooded animals, you should be a vegan. You can't drink milk without being responsible for the death of cattle (at minimum, the 50% of calves who are bulls.
I'm an omnivore. Well, I do draw the line at processed "food products", McDonald's and other pseudo-food.
Does the knowledge that you must eventually die mean that you take no pleasure in life? Would it be better not to be born, in order to avoid having your meat serve a useful purpose after you're dead? If we were all vegan, there would be no cows, pigs, or chickens. Would that make the world a better place?
To the best of our knowledge, cattle, pigs, chickens, fish, etc are not haunted by the awareness of mortality. Let's put our effort into making their lives as natural and fulfilling as possible, rather than agonizing over how their bodies are used after they are dead.
Feedlot beef is unhealthy beef -- unhealthy for the beef, unhealthy for the people who eat it. The animals are essentially forced into obesity (to create "marbled" meat) by being fed vast quantities of corn their digestive systems are not built to handle. Is this a bad idea? Let me count the ways!
Cattle are designed to digest grasses our bodies cannot digest. There's a lot of hilly and semi-arid land that would erode if planted in row crops but is well suited to pasturing livestock. The meat of grass-fed cattle has a healthy balance of omega fatty acids, quite different from that of obese feedlot animals. With rotational grazing, grass-fed cattle are also good for the land, reducing weeds and increasing the productivity of the soil. It's a win-win situation.
The ideal is a small farm with diverse livestock, a bit of forested land, and a kitchen garden. Free-range chickens peck apart cattle dung in search of fly larvae, speeding up the decay process and reducing the fly population that would otherwise trouble the cattle(and people)in the area. Pigs are helpful scrap-eaters that eventually become a food source. Our ancestors had this right.
Internet-savvy folks should be able to track down local sources of grass-fed meat. Talk to the farmers. Know where your food comes from. Learn how it lived before it became food. Let's get REAL again!
Granted, lots of people live in cities and can't buy food direct from the farm. But you can support farmers' markets and request/demand that your supermarket seek out grass-fed meats and stock locally-raised vegetables.
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