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How Do You Shop?

Yesterday, I mentioned how Wolfgang Puck is putting a nine-point program in place in hopes of raising the bar on farm animal treatment. And in general, I agree with these policies (I don't know many die-hard foodlovers who really don't). I've read all the "required" reading (Fast Food Nation, Omnivore's Dilemma and The Way We Eat), and understand that the way we produce our food is neither nice to think about, nor necessarily good for us. Livestock is treated poorly in order to seek maximum efficiency and higher yields, and taste and quality are often thrown out the window - not to mention the suffering the animals go through along the way to becoming food. Range-free chickens don't necessarily get to go outside (although you would think they would) and breeding sows are stuck in gestation crates for three years, crates that they can't even turn around in. The livestock industry has some terrible practices, and I'm nowhere near an expert, just a knowledge-seeking layman - however, here thinking about it gets me all torn up. I like to eat my animal products. I love me a hamburger and really believe that almost everything tastes better with a fried egg on it - I mean, ultimately these animals are part of the food chain. And yes, we can make it so they don't suffer along the way, I'm all for that, especially because it means it's probably going to taste better if the animals can go out and behave like real animals.



So here's where I have the problem. I like the idea of cruelty-free livestock, I really do. I like the little piggies and cows and don't want to see them suffer. I think our food industry has gotten a bit too bottom dollar heavy, but at the same time, I understand the need for people to feed their families at a low cost. Not everyone can afford free-range, grass-fed and so on. Also, I do love the foie gras (so smooth and tasty) and the fresh lobster (come on, how is boiling alive or being split in half while alive anywhere near humane?), and can't see why we have to give these up. There's a reason we're at the top of the food chain (for now anyways...).


So I'm torn. I'd like to do the right thing, but the wrong thing tastes so damn good. How about you guys, what do you think about all of this? Do you go out of your way to purchase specialized cruelty-free, environmentally friendly foods? Or do you purchase what you need to? How Do You Shop?

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celebrity_soup celebrity_soup 9 years
organic stuff
wynter wynter 9 years
My parents have a small farm so I really don't have to buy much in the way for meats. They usually provide me and my brother with it year around...veggies too. I know for a fact their animals are treated well. :) As for what I have to buy, I really don't have an option here. Grocery stores do not carry many choices here.
DarlingDA DarlingDA 9 years
I always buy organic eggs and milk, and try to buy other things that are organic/free-range/"natural", but sometimes the price is almost double the alternative, which presents a real dilemna for a college student.
ILuvOatmeal ILuvOatmeal 9 years
I'm *mostly* vegan so buy my food at my local health food stores or at the health food section at my supermarket, and I buy organic, as well.
SeptemberLights SeptemberLights 9 years
I try to buy sustainable/ cruelty free products whenever possible. but sometimes its just too damn expensive!
Twinkle1 Twinkle1 9 years
If I lived in a area where it was easy to find sustainable, cruelty-free products, I would certainly buy them.
Maggie-Mae Maggie-Mae 9 years
I get the good sustainable/eco friendly stuff when possible, but it can be cost prohibitive. :(
kscincotta kscincotta 9 years
Great post... I often have the same dilemmas when it comes to eating animal products. When I was in college, and taking a developmental biology class, we took a field trip to a site where they breed dairy cows and let me tell you, it was the most disturbing school trip I have ever been on. The things they do are just awful.
LouisianaLove LouisianaLove 9 years
I picked "I try to buy sustainable, cruelty-free products when possible" because it can be really hard to always get the best, most healthy products. It's certainly worth it, but I agree with you Yumsugar, there is a point where you can only do so much. Sad but true. I do think that when it comes to food you should spend as much as you can spend to get quality products!
esk4 esk4 9 years
I buy whatever is cheapest... one of the draw backs to a college students budget lol.
andaman andaman 9 years
yumsugar if you like to hear more here is a link rivercottage.net. It's a good source of info' about small farms and sustainable farming.
andaman andaman 9 years
I think farmers markets are useful. You can chat to the producers, ask them about their vegs and animals. I don't buy meat that aren't organic! It has to be free range at least (if the organic is too expensive). I think small farmers at the markets care about animal welfare more than super markets. You can also buy meat from unusal breeds (big farms don't like rare breeds because they don't produce as much meat and they don't adapt well to all the chemicals they usually inject cows with to promote growth!) Rare breeds often mean slow growing, the cows get treated well and you tend to get tastier meat too. I'm all for small producers!
controlledspin controlledspin 9 years
I was given the heavy guilt-trip about all this by one of my former friends before. She lived in a major city, and Trader Joe's and all kinds of markets were available to her. I, however, do not have that choice. Between how incredibly expensive everything is in the tiny selection, and having to drive so far for any store with a decent selection at all (50+ miles, at least), it makes it almost impossible. I buy from local farmers quite a bit during the summer, but since I live in an area with climate changes, finding fresh veggies and fruits in the winter happens at the grocery store. ;) So... I would say, if I was able to choose the better choices at a local store without breaking me, I would surely do it, but I just can't now...
MuppetsForDinner MuppetsForDinner 9 years
I wish it were cheaper to buy cruelty free and organic products.
swwonder swwonder 9 years
I'm a veggie (sort of Vegan) so it's probably easier for me but I buy mostly from my local Health food shop and when at my local supermarket, I buy organic, free range, unrefined etc.
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