“Great cheese come from happy cows. Happy cows come from California.” I’m taking more stock in to this…cheesy line from the California Milk Advisory Board. Read more and you’ll understand why.
I, did a little grocery shopping yesterday, and as I cruised the dairy section to pick up this week’s worth of breakfast (Yoplait yogurt), I made a discovery. I had already thrown my selection into the basket as I saw a yogurt made by a company called Brown Cow. I picked up a cup and noticed that there was a special little label that said something along the lines of “Certified Humane”. Now, I had never been the kind of girl with a predilection for anything labeled “organic”, but this label really interested me. As I considered the idea of my food being “Certified Humane”, I realized that this is something that I would be willing to pay a little extra for. I immediately replaced my Yoplait with Brown Cow.
This comes on the heels of recently watching the movie, Life in a Day, in which I saw a cow being slaughtered. I have to be honest, that scene made me a little ashamed of being the steak-loving girl that I am. It made me sad about the state of our food supply chain and the fact that we as a society take for granted the things we find in our grocery stores every day. We raise livestock for food, without any regard for the well-being of the animals. This doesn’t mean that I believe that we humans are meant to be vegans or vegetarians. But I do believe that just because an animal is being raised to be, at some point, our food, that they don’t deserve to be treated and slaughtered as humanely as possible. I’m, no hippie, but I find myself believing that supporting irresponsible farming practices and consuming animals that have been raised and slaughtered inhumanely affects us – maybe not immediately, maybe not physically, but certainly emotionally and spiritually.
This is kind of interesting for me to think about, considering I’ve never really been much for buying anything organic. If you really think about it, organic is really the “small potatoes” part of the issue with our food suppliers. If you’d like to educate yourself a little more on what organic means, take a peek at my links as I’ve included one from the USDA. Maybe my reading comprehension skills are a little rusty having been out of school for so long, but it seems like the organic movement is kind of selfish. It focuses on eliminating the obvious things that are done to our food that may directly or indirectly affect our health as humans. It does nothing to ensure the well-being of the animals themselves.
If you see a product labeled as certified humane, it means that the product meets the Humane Farm Animal Care program standards, which includes nutritious diet without antibiotics or hormones, animals raised with shelter, resting areas, sufficient space and the ability to engage in natural behaviors (as stated on their website – I’ve posted the link to this one as well). Now isn’t this what we all should be aiming for? Not only are the regulations set forth by the USDA satisfied, but it goes a step further, ensuring that the animals are treated with the respect they deserve. We wouldn’t need the USDA to certify anything as being organic if our food suppliers were held to this standard.
The more I think about this, the more enraged I get. This shouldn’t be a special badge of honor, just like McDonalds saying their burgers are made with 100% real beef shouldn’t be. Burgers are supposed to be made with beef. Sorry Ronald, you don’t get extra gold stars for it. Cows should be treated like cows, they should be allowed to graze and act like, well, cows. The same with any other animals that we use for food. I’m tired of people getting extra credit for doing the things they should be doing. I don’t get a pat on the back for taking care of my dog, and I don’t do it because I expect special recognition for it. I do it because I love her, and care about her well-being. I respect her for the companionship she provides me with. We need to do the same with our food. We should be grateful and respectful for the nourishment it provides us with, and treat it as such.
Having said that, I would also like to note that I understand the idea of commercial farming/ranching. I get that there is a huge demand for a high volume of low-cost food. I understand that we, as consumers, have created the conceived need for this “efficient” but disrespectful industry. I for one am guilty for perpetuating this ugliness. But I also understand that we have the ability, and the responsibility to change this. We need to make a stand for what’s right, even if it means we’re forking out a few extra dollars for our food. Things won’t change until we as individuals take responsibility for our part in the inhumane farming practices we helped create. It makes me sad that this is where we’ve sunk to, but, if this certified humane program is what it takes to get us back on the straight and narrow, then I’m for it.
Let’s call this a new years resolution. What do you think?