Friday, February 17, 2006

Animal Ethics

I'm a vegetarian one day a week. My girlfriend asked me to do so, in hopes I'd understand how hard it is for a vegetarian. Restaurant after restaurant has little or no choice for a vegetarian.

I certainly don't eat as much meat as I did when I was younger. What with Mad Cow and factory farming, it just doesn't taste as good. I eat fish a lot, but not farm-raised salmon. Farm-raised has more PCBs than any other fish. (Although salmon raised in the Shetland Islands [I think] is considered very safe, according to my local fishmonger.)

Really, if you ever listen to the folks that are concerned about animals, cut through the propaganda and ignore the occasional stupid terrorist trick, they have something to say. For example, making egglayers live in cages for the few weeks of their life, barely able to move, beaks cut off...what sort of chemicals does that impart to the egg? Then there are all the antibiotics they're dosed with.

Organic eggs are just ones where the feed given to the chickens doesn't have chemicals added. It doesn't necessarily means the chickens are happy.

So I was very pleased when I found a couple of brands in supermarkets where they proclaim the chickens are on nests, not in cages. They're a little more expensive, but it doesn't cost my conscience as much. And maybe they're healthier.

At my local co-op, eggs from free-range birds are a good alternative. At least the clucks get to chase an unwary grasshopper occasionally, and scratch around in the dirt. Hey, it's a living.

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