Rob and I aren’t vegetarians. Our dinner table includes meat two or three days a week. Honestly, if I were to specify my last meal, it would be a tossup between Rob’s epic cheeseburger or a really good grilled steak over arugula tossed with fresh lemon juice and olive oil.
I understand the points of view of those who forego meat, for ethical, environmental or wellness reasons. It’s just not the right decision for me.
But because I am concerned about those same ethical, environmental and wellness aspects of eating meat, I am very careful about where I buy it. We purchase free-range chicken and grass-fed beef from Findlay Market vendors who source locally/regionally and do the most of the processing themselves. We buy seafood from Keegan’s, which has a great reputation for quality product. Eggs come from uncaged hens and milk from pastured cows. And after recently reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma, in which Michael Pollan extols the virtues of a healthy, holistic and natural way of raising animals for food (and offers a shivering look into the animal industrial complex), I’ve redoubled my commitment to avoiding grocery-store and fast-food meat. (OK, I’ll cave on the very occasional road-trip McDonald’s breakfast sandwich.)
The talented food writer Tom Philpott penned a great column for Grist (The Vegan/Omnivore Alliance Against Animal Factories) that points to the huge common ground that what we’ll call selectivores and omnivores share: Factory farms produce 99 percent of all meat Americans consume. Industrial animalculture (like its cousin, industrial agriculture) is, as Pollan writes, a horror of inhumanity, ecological disaster and resource consumption. Philpott writes:
vegans and omnivores agree on 99 percent of the meat issue. So let’s put aside the other 1 percent — for now — roll our sleeves up, and clasp hands.
To which I’d add: Let’s all just think about this issue, pay attention to it as we’re shopping and cooking. I realize that not everyone has easy access to meat that’s raised and processed in the ideal fashion. Farmers’ market meat is expensive. That McDonald’s breakfast sandwich does have some appeal.
I’m not here to mediate a debate between those who do and don’t eat meat. But I’ll leave you with this: If we’re thoughtful and mindful about our food choices, we’ll seek out what’s best for us, for the animals and for the planet.
What do you think? Feel free to leave a comment below.