I have never liked meat much. As a kid I was always drawn to vegetarian food, not that it was offered by my carnivorous mother, but I instinctively avoided it. Later, while living in the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts, I got involved in the food co-op and began a journey of educating myself about vegetarian nutrition among other useful things.
Oddly, I do not claim to be a vegetarian today, but I rarely eat meat or fish. I have learned more than I want to know about industrial meat production and what happens to cows that are fed corn and stuff they can’t really digest and what it does to their organs (hence lots of antibiotics and other junk we don’t really want to talk about before considering cooking chili!). Aside from the hideous living conditions that most industrially raised animals live in, there are serious health concerns that get passed along to the carnivore.
I have this sort of out-there belief that the conditions that an animal lives under prior to its sacrifice to the great food chain get energetically carried along. I have no interest in ingesting food that has been terrorized and miserable prior to death, which was probably the highlight of its horrible existence.
Personally, I only want to consider eating food that is lovingly (at least relatively happily) raised and killed with some degree of consciousness. This seems a fairly natural and healthy interaction between man and food source, be it from animal or vegetable, really.
I had the privilege to interview Marsha Mason recently about her biodynamic herb farm in New Mexico, Resting in the River and the luscious natural skincare products she produces. She talked about how important it was for her that everyone who works on the farm be in a reasonably peaceful state, especially when they worked directly with the herbs. Watch the video interview and hear what she has to say on the topic.
[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/_ijSwuQUbfg" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /].
So, I’m all about humane treatment of animals for whatever reason! If I eat any meat, I try to know exactly where and how it has been raised and of course, if possible (and it isn’t always possible), I support local producers.
I realize there are other reasons to be vegetarian or vegan, including strong belief systems about the ethics of eating meat at all as well as some extremely good arguments about the negative impact meat (particularly the industrially raised kind) has on our environment. I’m not going to attempt to address all of that. I respect everyone’s individual choices and hope we all share at least that much.
Okay, here’s a link to the aforementioned chili recipe (finally!), which can be made with ethically produced ground beef or vegetarian/vegan ground meat alternatives, of which there are many kinds!