Pret A Manger

Haute Pasture recently took a field trip to London. When we’re in London, our favorite place to get lunch is Pret A Manger. Pret strives to keep their food preservative- and additive-free, keeping it fresh and wholesome. And the food is delicious and cheap!

They don’t throw around the term “natural.” The most important things they do, according to Haute Pasture, are:

  • We serve organic milk, eggs, coffee, tea, citrus juices, chocolate and popcorn, and will continue to add to the list. Organic food is grown without chemical fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides or other toxic junk. Organic farming protects the environment and encourages sustainable farming practices.
  • Our chicken, turkey, beef and ham are never processed more than they have to be. It’s shocking what large producers are permitted to do (you really don’t want to know). We buy directly from small cooperatives and family-run farmers like Murray’s, Earthbound Farm and Niman Ranch, who share our beliefs. They never give their animals antibiotics or hormones, feed them only a vegetarian diet free of animal by-products and care about them and the environment in which they live.

(emphasis ours)

Kudos to Pret! Please patronize them!

“A journey toward independence from an industrial food system”

The Paleo diet and its relatives preach the importance of choosing free range meat and animal products over factory farmed options, for health reasons. Unhealthy, stressed animals have toxins and sickness flowing through their bodies, which are then transferred to humans upon consumption of the meat, eggs, or dairy products the animals produced. The Paleo argument tends to focus primarily on “think about what you’re putting into your body” and less on “think about the treatment of the animals.” However, FitFemaleForty has a reprint of an article written by Jeremy Gordon, a CrossFit instructor, that addresses the humane treatment of livestock to a Paleo audience.

The article presents some horrifying information about the effects of a grain diet on a cow’s digestive system. The grain raises the acidity in the digestive tract of the cows, who were built to eat grass only, which can lead to an abscessed liver and the introduction of E. Coli. From a nutritional standpoint, the fatty acid composition of the meat is negatively affected, and fat soluble vitamin content decreases.

Factory farmed meat eaters who aren’t concerned about the treatment of the animals could be swayed to change their ways based on the descriptions and evidence in this article.

Farm Aid: Helping family farmers

Many people are familiar with Farm Aid as an organization that puts on star-studded concerts to raise money for something related to farms, but that something may be unclear. Farm Aid’s mission is to promote family farming, and since 1985 they have raised more than $37 million for the cause. They support family farms through both donations and support networks, including a crisis hotline and grassroots political action.

Key messages of Farm Aid stress the importance of eating local food, and of knowing how your food was raised, which go hand-in-hand. It’s much easier to confirm that the animals and environment are treated well on a smaller, close-by farm than on a huge corporate factory farm that’s far away. That’s good for your health: it has been proven that meat from animals who experience less stress is healthier than that from stressed animals; and good for the environment: the closer the source of the food is to the market, the less fuel burned and exhaust generated in transporting it there. Spending your dollars close to home is also good for your local economy.

Kudos to Farm Aid for doing so much to fight the decline of the small family farm.

Arguments against patronizing factory farms

From the McGill Daily:

This article gives a nice breakdown of the standard categories that vegetarian’s reasons for not eating meat usually fall into: health, environment, and animal cruelty.

The health issues related to eating red meat have long been known. E. coli and salmonella are in the news more and more often. The average meat eater probably doesn’t think about the link between MRSA and other bacteria-resistant infections, and meat consumption. The overuse of antibiotics in farm animals leads to stronger bacteria, to the point that known antibacterial drugs are useless in fighting off these infections. More and more people are getting sick from feces contamination on meat, as well: modern machines that tear apart the animals can spray the contents of the intestines onto the meat.

Factory farms are huge polluters, contributing more than 20% of the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions, and polluting waterways which leads to killing massive numbers of fish with animal excrement. Forests are clear cut to make way for farms or land to grow corn for livestock feed.

Nobody can deny that animals are abused in factory farms. Apparently there is a legal loophole allowing farms to participate in “common practices” without consequence, so if most other farms are abusing animals, it’s okay. Animals drop dead due to illness and injury, or are killed for being sick or too small.  In addition, the article points out the psychological hardships and injuries inflicted upon workers.

Here are a few of the horrifying factoids from this article:

  • 99% of the 10 billion animals slaughtered each year are factory farmed
  • it’s estimated that the average American eats the equivalent of 21,000 ENTIRE animals in his lifetime
  • the majority of antibiotics pumped into farm animals are banned in the EU
  • the FDA reclassified feces from dangerous contaminant to “cosmetic blemish”
  • nearly one-third of the planet’s surface is used for livestock