The origins of our meat has always troubled me but I won't lie, sticking my head in the sand has worked fairly well. But how long can I keep my head in the sand? The USDA isssued the largest recall of meat in US history. Though the reason is the safety of the consumption of the meat to humans, the images of the cruelty to the cows as they were forced to stand when they simply could not is stomach turning.
I've been reading the Omnivore's Dilemma recently, a book about where our food comes from. Pollan discusses how most of the animals we eat endure cruelty and are fed things they were never meant to eat. You might say "I eat only free range and organic so I'm OK" According to Pollan, those words mean little. His research uncovers that to get certified as organic/free range doesn't equal frolicking baby chicks in fresh green meadows. The meat we eat, no matter how you slice it[["free range" or otherwise] comes from animals that lived lives of intolerable cruelty. But beyond the "tree hugger" perspective, if the animal is not being fed right we aren't being fed right. The food chain implies that the food ate by the food we eat trickles to us too.
And if you eat zabiha , the ill effects of the food [i.e. treatment and what they are fed for the most part] is the same. The difference is in how they are slaughtered but doesn't change the basic dilemma.
I'm faced with an unpleasant fact: I love steaks, kebobs, burgers, haleem but if I eat it I'm responsible. I don't think its wrong to eat meat, even beef, if treated humanely and fed appropriately but its not happening. I must look at the facts, and face them.
My conclusion? I can't give up meat entirely but some changes must be made. I plan to give up beef until I can figure out if where I can get beef that is from well treated cows fed appropriately. I also plan to reduce the amount of meat I eat generally and try to learn to cook other foods such as lentil based dishes. I'mnot officially giving anything but I don't know how to convince myself to consume what I know is not only an animal which led a sad existence but will also affect my health.
***Update: I found this really great website which has links to local farms that sell animals that were raised humanely, fed appropriately, anti-biotic free, and raised in ways that don't impact the environment as badly as industrial factory farming does. The caveat is at least for my state, most of these places are over 50 miles away. Most are over 100 miles away. But if you live close enough, or can find a group of people to go in it with you and take turns doing the drive perhaps once a month or so then this is a great way to get your meat.