Archive for the ‘meat processing’ Category

I’m a vegetarian and before you ask, no I don’t exist solely on nut loaves and lettuce and no I don’t hang out at airports wearing bright orange robes, socks and sandals, banging my gong – well – I do sometimes but that’s beside the point. I eat everything I always used to eat sans the dead flesh and in fact am now eating better and am healthier than I ever was before. My diet is light on Trans Fats, cholesterol, carbs, calories etc., and I don’t have to worry about those little extras in my burger such as antibiotics, growth hormones, red dye number 22, e-coli and salmonella.

Come on – look around you – have you noticed that everyone is getting taller? That kid that used to sit on your knee is now towering over you commenting on your bald spot. If you are over 45 and have recently spent any time at all at the local high school or university you will soon come to the realization that you are hardly more than a midget compared to the gangly 6 1/2 footers brushing you aside on their way to the Coke machine. Do you ever ask yourself why that should be when you yourself were actually once counted as tall when you attended the same school? I have a son who not only towers over me but wears size 14 shoes. Size 14! Unheard of when I was a kid. Come the next flood he can tie his shoes together and make his own boat. They say that we get shorter with age but this is ridiculous. Every kid I meet seems to be a foot taller than me, even the girls. Something is going on here and don’t tell me it’s just better nutrition in the affluent West.

It seems obvious to me that if growth hormones are being fed to farm animals to make them mature earlier then these additives must of necessity be passed along the food chain to us at the other end along with everything else that is pumped into their hides. If this is so then all meat-eaters are imbibing vast quantities of antibiotics too and this is truly terrifying. Have you noticed how many new diseases are running around nowadays? Diseases that didn’t exist when we were young? It can’t all be down to the US government experimenting with agents of biological warfare in their secret underground labs and testing it out on the local populace can it? Conspiracy theories aside antibiotics are no longer the wonder drugs they once were, and why? Because, I would say, bacteria are adapting and morphing into more and more virulent strains that are now drug resistant. When I was a young mum I was always told not to seek out antibiotics for my kids for fear of the very same thing; in fact doctors were very twee about handing out the prescriptions – but aren’t we doing the very same thing when we feed our kids meat? And I have been guilty of this too, I must admit.


If you don’t know what happens to that animal before it gets to your plate then you have some unpalatable surprises coming. If you haven’t read books like “Fast Food Nation” then I urge you to do so immediately. Run don’t walk down to the library and pick up Robin Cook’s “Toxin” as well. Either book is guaranteed to put you off eating meat for the rest of your life.

I used to eat meat, and I, like you no doubt, gave no thought to how that neatly packed and sanitized pink cut of meat actually got to the local Loblaws or Sainsburys or whatever. As long as it didn’t look back at me I could turn a blind eye to what I was eating. But then I got a job that involved a great deal of traveling. It was inevitable that sooner or later as I tooled up and down the highway I would be overtaken by a truck laden with helpless beasts on their unknowing way to the slaughter. If it was just one or two trucks I could continue to ignore the facts but when the trucks that passed me each month counted in the hundreds I had to take notice. It was an unpalatable truth that soon became unbearable, like watching those pictures of dying children in Africa. I wanted to turn away but I couldn’t.


If you don’t have any feelings for the animals at least consider this. We now have factory farms that corral and process cattle or pigs or chickens by the thousands like some sort of living conveyer belt. The droppings and waste from these enormous production facilities finds its way into the ground water and poisons our streams, taints our drinking water and strips our grazing lands. Small farmers cannot compete and are forced into what amounts to wage labour for the big conglomerates – they are no longer autonomous. No wonder that corners are cut and money is saved by ‘adding a few little things’ to bulk out the cattle feed – such as other dead cattle, possibly diseased. Cattle are not omnivores they are ruminants, meaning that they eat plants and grasses not meat. It is against the natural order to force an animal to eat such a diet. And what might the consequences be for us at the other end of the line?



Everything comes down to the almighty dollar – who cares what the consequences may be for tampering with nature if there’s profit to be made? And don’t get me started on genetically altered foodstuffs, including plants. When I was young a strawberry was smaller than a walnut, nowadays I could use one to wedge the doors open. These frankenberries load down the display cases together with melons the size of soccer balls rubbing shoulders with the perfectly rounded tomatoes and the bright red peppers. Speaking of tomatoes did you know that they are picked green in California and then sprayed with a chemical that turns them red while they sit in their boxes for the three day trip to Ontario? Did you think they were naturally that colour? Think again. Natural tomatoes don’t look like that anymore than ‘natural’ slabs of meat are that nice palatable rosy pink colour. Neither is salmon come to that. Which reminds me – did you also know that farmed Atlantic salmon are full of parasites due to overcrowding and pollution in their pens, parasites that have a habit of escaping and infecting the wild sea salmon. This means that sooner or later the wild salmon will be no more. They are already endangered. We’ll be left with the worm infested farmed stuff – oooh. Go to David Suzuki’s site and find out if you don’t believe me [http://www.davidsuzuki.org/].



Sorry to bring up such a topic – especially now that the weather is improving and it’s time to get out and fire up the old barbecue. But next time you are about to slap a slab of dead flesh on the Barbie why not try a veggie burger instead. It tastes pretty much the same, you’ll feel better for it and it won’t kill you – unless you choke on the genetically modified wheat in your bun that is.




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