The list will start out short, but I will add to it often. Please check back every once in a while. Below the list, I'll include more information on Ethical Eating - what it means, why it's important, and bigger ways to contribute.
Simple Steps Toward Ethical Eating:
- Use Vegetable Broth in place of chicken, beef, or animal broth in all your recipes. I have a couple of meat eating friends who have done this, and they resoundingly agree that it tastes just as good, but is cruelty free.
- Switch to cheese made only with non-animal rennet. Many cheese are made with an enzyme taken from the stomachs of slaughtered baby calves and other baby animals, but they don't have to be. It's actually quite easy to find cheeses made from non-animal rennet, like most Sargento cheeses (except the asiago). Find a whole LONG list of non-animal cheeses here. And for cruelty free macaroni and cheese? Try Annie's (the brand with the Bunny, you can find it most anywhere). Bonus? You can get it with whole grain macaroni!
- Buy Fair Trade Coffee. The United States consumes one-fifth of all the world's coffee, making it the largest consumer in the world. But few Americans realize that agriculture workers in the coffee industry often toil in what can be described as "sweatshops in the fields." Many small coffee farmers receive prices for their coffee that are less than the costs of production, forcing them into a cycle of poverty and debt. Fair Trade coffee isn't nearly as expensive as it used to be, and in many cases is no more expensive than cruel brands of coffee.
- More to come very soon! Please check back!
It's not just about whether or not you eat meat. It's about the treatment of farmers. It's about horrible cycles of poverty and starvation DIRECTLY CAUSED by the corporations that produce our food. It's about basic necessities like water in places we don't even realize we're affecting every day. It's about cruelty. Animals subjected to unspeakable and absolutely unneccessary torture every day of their lives just so food companies can get a bigger bang for their buck. I tell you what, I would buy a smaller chicken with less breast meat ANY DAY knowing that that chicken was raised in a humane, ethical manner.
And that's just touching on it. The US is a massively powerful country and a massively powerful consumer. And while it might be unpleasant to think about and admit, the small choices we make every single day about what to eat, what to buy, and where to shop have massive, significant, and sometimes devestating consequences all over the globe. It's time we opened our eyes to that and put a freaking stop to it. Even if it's just a little at a time. Even if we can't jump all the way into the fray. We need to be aware of what's going on. We need to be aware of our effects. And we need to CARE and ACT - if even in very small ways.
If you were to hire someone to grow your food for you, would you ever dream of refusing to pay that person enough money to even produce the crops, let alone care for their family? If someone gave you a cow, would you cripple it, lock it up in a space so small that it couldn't even move - for it's entire life, cause it real, physical pain every day of it's life, then tear it's guts from it's body while it was still alive? Then why would you ever support companies that do exactly those things?
That is what Ethical Eating is about. You don't have to be organic (you should, for health reasons, but that's a different post). You don't have to be a crunchy granola hippie (even though we are awesome). You don't even have to be a vegetarian! You just have to be a human being who doesn't want to cause pain and suffering. A human being who believes in justice for all and cruelty to none.
For more on Ethical Eating, please check out the following websites and posts:
- Semi-Veg - My first major Ethical Eating post. It talks about how I am almost a vegetarian, but I still eat some human meat and eggs.
- The Easter Bunny vs The Chick - MacGyver's Guest post. The egg industry is HORRIBLE. Shockingly bad. Worse than I ever would have guessed. MacGyver discusses getting eggs from more humane sources.
- All Manner of Yummy - A recipe and review of my favorite Ethical Cookbook to date, Happy Herbivore.
- NY Mag's Soup-to-Nuts Guide to Ethical Eating - Great article of Small ways to eat more Ethically. Definitely worth a read!