I always see on here the scientific reasons for eating better quality meat, no hormones/antibiotics, omega-3 balance, etc but no one ever talks about the animal being more than a food source. For me, the health reasons are secondary and more of a by-product of not participating in the conventional food system of torturing animals. I'm no PETA puppet, just wondering if anyone else chooses their meat for similar reasons (keep the tasteless jokes to yourself please).
Yeah. Prior to starting Paleo 3 weeks ago, I was pesco-vegetarian for over 25 years (and happily and healthily so).
My reasons for vegetarianism varied somewhat over the years; the idealistic teenager who started out down that road may no longer have been the loudest voice or the primary reason, but concern for animal welfare and cruelty clearly remained an important element. I see it as a small way to exert market pressure supporting desirable practices, by whatever criteria of desirability. The fact that what is healthiest for the animal is also healthiest for the meat-eater just makes it all the more desirable.
Indeed, in some way my diet has changed dramatically, giving up my beloved pasta and embracing meat - but in other ways it's not so different. I never ate that much sugary stuff (by general standards), very rarely ate junk food and always preferred "real food". In fact, particularly when eating out, "I'm a vegetarian" was the simplest and most widely understood way to express that I cared about what I ate or wanted to make specific requests, without necessarily being actually about the meat.
One day, Paleo eaters might be as widely recognised and undertood.
yes. Just because we eat them and they're delicious doesn't mean that they deserve to be abused, mistreated or made to lead miserable lives for their entire life. They are living, feeling beings.
Yes, I try to choose organic / pastured meat over CAFO meat for this reason. I noticed in a recent post by the Jaminets (http://perfecthealthdiet.com/) that they used grain-fed meat for one of their recipes (http://perfecthealthdiet.com/?p=2775) - 'These are regular grain-fed, not grass-fed, steaks; grain-fed is cheaper and fattier, both of which we like, and the omega-6 content is reasonably low even in grain-fed beef.' Nutritionally speaking then perhaps grain-fed is not such a massive problem but I would rather eat meat from an animal that I know has been treated well. I used to be vegan and a member of Peta, and whilst I disagree with their forceful stance on such things, I do feel better knowing the meat I am eating comes from a good source.
Animal welfare is as important to me as healthy nutrition. After all the things I've seen, I feel bad whenever I see a piece of meat from CAFOs etc. I could not eat it without feeling bad. And feeling bad is what I try to prevent by eating the way I do.
So, for me, this is just another symbiotic relationship. The best food comes from healthy ("happy") animals. And only healthy/happy animals turn into the best food. So this is not really a difficult decision: for me it's all the same.
Like others, it's one of my reasons. I grew up helping to butcher chickens and raising hogs for market. I've seen how humanely it can be done, but I've also been in a sow farrowing building where the sows stand in crates where they can't turn around (because they might step or lie on their pigs), and seen hogs dying in the aisles at a stockyard because their super-leanness genes couldn't take the stress of being loaded on a truck and hauled. None of that ever made me even consider vegetarianism, but it gave me a perspective about what's possible, compared to what the industry claims is necessary.
Interestingly, I've become "softer" about killing animals as I've gotten older. As a kid, I chopped those chickens' heads off with an ax without the slightest twinge. When I kill them now, I feel a sort of bond with them (after all, it'll be my head on the chopping block someday, figuratively), and say a little thanks to them and to God for what they're giving me.
Short answer: yes.
Long answer: A few years back I was on a Scottish isle and saw these little lambs frolicking about. They were super cute.
I felt bad about eating those delicious little guys, but then I had a thought: these lambs wouldn't even be alive if they weren't raised by us for food. They never would have been born. So I realized that they are getting a life that they wouldn't have had out of the deal. As long as that life is good/enjoyable/humane, it seems like a fair tradeoff.
So if animals get to lead a good life I am cool with eating them. Otherwise I feel sort of guilty. So getting grass fed/pastured etc is for me at least as much about humane treatment of animals (or put more cynically, about mitigating my guilt) as it is about health.
I am all about the ethical treatment of animals, but it is not priority one.
Whole Nutrition and Optimal Health for me and mine is Priority One.
Reduction of Toxins is priority 2.
Treatment of the animals is a close third.
I'm so happy to see this discussion. I thought I was the only one. I actually came to paleo because of a decision to stop eating animal flesh from abused and mistreated animals. At the time (several years ago) not many in my low carb community were making this choice or even having the discussion about animal welfare so searching out like-minds and finding paleo having a strong preference for grass-fed, pastured animals I came to a better understanding of paleo principles and they resonated with me (knew about paleo for years but didn't fully understand it.) I have felt a bit odd man out as the paleo grass fed preference seems to generally come from a viewpoint of "better for me" instead of "better for them" but to my mind it doesn't really matter why a person makes this choice but only that he/she does. I love animals and the more who make the choice for pastured the better off the animals are. I would go so far as to say that this issue is my one and only line-in-the-sand. I would eat seitan and tofu (heaven forbid!) before I would participate in animal abuse by consuming factory farmed animals because I'm pretty sure that when God said we should have dominion over the animals of the earth she didn't mean we should torture and abuse them. (Go ahead. Down-vote away, lol!)
We just went and bought some beef and pork from a local farmer (about 20 minutes away) - they raise the cows themselves and give them a good long happy life (unlike factory cows who only live about a year). They have pigs too, who seem very happy as well (and they're delicious). So far so good - supporting local business, and more ethical treatment of animals. Win win for me.
I went beefless (and mostly pork-free) a few years ago after researching the general treatment of cows in larger feedlots/processing plants. I just couldn't justify the indulgence, nor did I want to consume the meat of sick, diseased animals. When I went Paleo it was about a month into it and sheer flavor boredom from too much chicken had me reconsidering as long as the beef was grass-fed (and therefore hopefully treated better as it would be coming from smaller farms with more personally invested farmers). Unfortunately, there was a recent case of horrific bovine abuse at a New England farm, and this establishment was labeled organic. We have to remain diligent as grass-fed and organic become more popular advertising terms...quality may start to slip in an effort to mass market to the public. Also, we need to CARE about WHERE our grass-fed beef is coming from. Countries (like Brazil) bulldoze rain forest to create grassland for beef production. This isn't doing our environment any favors. Trader Joe's grass-fed beef is shipped in from Australia and Brazil (not very green). I've recently started seeking out different sources.
The Paleo nomad 3 Answers
Grocery Store Meat... Expiration/Risks? 4 Answers
raw meat: convenient methods 10 Answers