Young kids and most teenagers are enthusiastic for conversations about our how we treat our earth. They have learned about the rainforests, pollution, carbon footprints and clean water. Teaching and talking green and sustainable makes for lively family, controversy free dinner conversation. So how do you teach your children about shopping for food? Do you bother to teach them about chemical additives, pesticides and the meaning of genetically grown food? Are you yourself aware there is a lot more to sustainable consumerism than stopping at the farmers market on the way home? Could you explain to your children the oppressive exploitation of millions of corporate farm workers and inhumane treatment of the factory farmed animals? Would your children see through to your complicity in this paradigm? Hmm, you know they’re smart, so better not risk it.
I know you are good parent and shop for nutrition and bargains. Nonetheless, with impassioned audacity, I have outlined a general overview of of our food delivery system that you may be supporting with your food dollars.
- Chicken and turkeys. Debeaked and pumped full of antibiotics. By some reports synthetic estrogen is now illegal in chickens. However regulations are weak and rarely enforced and supplementing feed with synthetic-like hormones accomplish the highly sought-after rapid growth. Chicken’s breast weight is so out of proportion that their legs cannot support their own weight. Unless you are buying free range or local farmed poultry, you are likely serving up a side of synthetic toxins. Where do you buy your poultry?
- Two years after thousands of people were sickened with salmonella from massive egg farms out of Iowa, gross violations and inadequate regulations continue. With over half billion eggs recalled in a single incident, hens remain in cages no larger than their body, with slanted floors designed to roll out feces and eggs. Where do you buy your eggs? Do your kids know what it is like to regularly visit a local farm to buy eggs, raw honey, maple syrup or milk?
- Pork farming industry. Pigs eat, shit and get impregnated in metal crates called a gestation crates, only a few inches larger than their body. This is pretty much where females spend their life. In the end they join a mass electrocution and thrown to scalding water. Many survive the electrocution and die squealing and drowning. Supposedly there has been some commitment to changing to open pens by 2017. (Wall to wall penned pigs). However to my knowledge, no word on revising the slaughter. We will pay for this open pig pen luxury with higher pork prices. Pig farming is cruel and barbaric to the pig and worker alike, yet I have had someone say I am immoral to buy pork from a farm that had named the pig. Different strokes.
- When was the last time you supported the fishing industry by purchasing the wild salmon or locally fished shrimp? Generally farm raised fish are fed pellets of chicken feces and other fish with high levels of PCB’s. Chemicals are added for color and a diseased condition called sea lice runs rampant. I know, wild is just so much more money.
- Organic milk is on shelfs everywhere. I am lucky enough to buy from a co-op of thirteen Maine Organic Farmers. Yea! No antibiotics and the taste of whole organic milk is so good. Speaking of co-ops, is there a buyers co-op in your area? None as convenient as the large food chain, right?
- Genetically modified food plant organisms are modified to be able to grow in nutrient depleted soil, withstand any pesticide and in some cases very little water. Are you somewhat knowledgeable of the mammoth corporate agricultural giant, Monsanto, with their henchman who interrogate and intimidate with threats of lawsuits if the farmer does not come on board with their GMO seeds. Oh yes we are told GMO’s feed the world. There is much evidence they are killing the world.
- No agricultural industry uses more hormones and antibiotics than the beef industry. It is as simple as that. But have no fear, after the downer cow videos went viral years ago, congress passed legislation that banned downer diseased cow from the meat supply slaughter. Diseased cows are still OK as long they do not need assistance with forklift. The beef industry lobbyist are among the largest on capital hill. There are several recalls of beef a year. Did you know any local small farms involved in that recall?
First of March 2012 Pink Slime hits main stream news. Pink Slime has been in our beef for over ten years. It is very easy for corporate industries to reinvent an old product with a new name, new source and dodge the original criticism. It is done all the time in the food industry. You can be sure pink slime is already well on its way to reinvention, renaming and passing through the FDA. We all scream for reform but in my opinion if you are not buying from a local farmer, buying organic or buying grass fed food then you are supporting sub-human food, oppressive work conditions, and inhumane treatment of animals. Americans as a nation demand cheap meat and cheap food products. With bargain obsessiveness, we are a pink slime demanding nation. “Face it, Pink Slime is probably not any worst than the other shit you eat.”