Eating Ethically: A Guide For Meat Eaters
Ok, so you’ve contemplated vegetarianism but come to the conclusion that you are in fact a meat eater. That being said, there is a way to eat meat and at least try to treat the animals you will consume with as much as respect as possible, and also help protect the overall environment.
There are a few ways to do it.
Free Range or Cage Free
This term is most often seen on cartons of eggs, and chicken. The term is fairly clear cut. Products stamped with the words cage-free or free range simply means that the animals are given room to move around. Free range is also described as a method of animal husbandry where the animals, for at least part of the day, can roam freely outdoors rather than being confined in an enclosure for 24 hours each day. Being confined keeps animals from practicing their normal behaviors such as grazing and roosting. Of course, free range must have its limits, consequently for chickens, free range means “chickens kept within a fence that restricts their movements very little.”
While there’s no USDA stamp of approval for grass-fed animals, the best definition of a grass-fed animal is one who’s eaten nothing but fresh grass and hay. Look for products with an American Grass-Fed Association or Animal Welfare Approved stamp. This can help prove that the animal was raised on a family-owned pasture or range. Grass fed is also called “raising animals on pasture,” and is most often heralded as the best way to keep livestock from subsisting on “unnatural diets,” of modified grains that can contain a host of questionable ingredients.