Humane Meat?

by Tandis Bishop

There is a new label in the health food market regarding meat products - “certified humane.” That label might have some legitimacy to it if you were buying a cow to bring home as a pet. But to call animal slaughter “humane,” no matter how it is done, is a stretch.

If you look at the lives of animals raised for their flesh, certainly some are treated better than others. They call it “humane” because the animals are given clean water and hormone-free food, and have some room to move around and access to real (or artificial) sunlight every day. If that’s all it takes to be “humane,” it should open eyes to just how inhumane the treatment is for the rest. It is good that people are realizing how badly animals are treated before they are slaughtered, but slaughter is by its very nature cruel and inhumane.

Herein lies another problem for these new meat marketers. Quoting the owner of a major East coast health food store chain that sells “certified humane” meat, "Our biggest challenge right now is trying to find an appropriate way to tell the customers what certified humane means.” Retailers want to negate the guilt of customers, but at the same time, they have to gently reveal the revolting conditions that non “certified humane” animals are raised and killed in.

Another major retailer plans to use the term “animal compassionate.” They are also taking the matter a step farther and donating some of their proceeds to animal rights groups. But if they really felt compassion for these animal’s rights, then they wouldn’t be carrying their meat in the first place.

The bottom line is, if you want to be “humane” or “animal compassionate” be real about it. Don’t settle for the hypocrisy of people trying to make a quick buck by manipulating your emotions. Do the real humane thing and go vegetarian.

Make Every day Earth Day by Dreaming of a 'Green' Christmas

by Michele McKay

The holiday season is a time of giving and receiving, but not many people think about what they can give back to Mother Earth. This year you can make your holiday celebrations eco-friendly – and in return, you will receive the knowledge that you have helped make your home and the planet a ‘greener’ place.

The holidays can be extra tough on the environment: extra waste is generated from packaging and wrappers, more gas is burned on shopping trips, and many megawatts of energy go into light displays. Celebrate the planet this year with these eco-friendly holiday tips:

  • Enjoy delicious, healthy holiday feasts vegetarian-style… no other single action causes more environmental destruction than raising animals for slaughter. Need recipes? Find them at www.downtoearth.org.
  • Just say “no” to wrapping paper. Decorate and reuse shopping bags, magazine pages, newspaper, tissue paper, boxes, tins, cloth… you name it.
  • Give ‘wrapperless’ and non-consuming gifts. How about a donation to a favorite charity or an ‘adoption’ program that helps endangered species or ecosystems? Or give the gift of an experience – a special meal or a ticket to an attraction/performance/event.
  • Make your own greeting cards from used materials, or go paperless altogether by phoning loved ones or sending electronic greetings.
  • Use canvas or ‘reused’ bags from home when shopping.
  • Save gas by combining shopping trips or by doing your shopping online.
  • Cut energy consumption by reducing the display time of your holiday lights.
  • Buy recycled. Purchase gifts or cards that are made of recycled materials. Look for the green ‘chasing arrows’ on packages, and support the companies that are making waste into new goods.
  • Recharge. If you are giving something that requires batteries, include rechargeable batteries and a charger with the gift.
  • Reduce, reuse, recycle in holiday entertaining. Go with reusable dinnerware and cloth napkins, and recycle your beverage and other containers.
  • Have your Christmas tree chipped and composted. On O’ahu call 692-5410 or visit www.opala.org for more information. On Maui call 270-7874.
  • Or… here in the Islands it is easy to find an alternative to a cut tree. Live trees will bring years of enjoyment when planted outside after the holidays. Or get creative and decorate a beautiful tropical plant that can live indoors or outdoors.

The Paradox of "Certified Humane" Meat

by Michele McKay

A logo proclaiming “Certified Humane Raised & Handled” may now appear on meat, poultry, egg and dairy products that meet qualifications of humane treatment defined by the non-profit organization Humane Farm Animal Care. The program is well-meaning in its intention of compassion, but paradoxically, no matter how well butcher animals are treated while being raised and handled, they are doomed to an eventual violent and brutal slaughter. And though the “humane” label may appeal to people who are concerned about the planet and its creatures, the truth is that every purchase of meat supports an industry that is the single largest contributor to environmental damage. If we really want our actions to reflect compassion, and if we want to help make the world a cleaner, healthier place, we cannot do it on a diet of animal flesh.

Consider the environmental havoc being caused by raising animals for meat:

  • Pollution: In the US, 130 times more sewage waste comes from livestock than from people. The livestock industry causes more water pollution than any other activity andis responsible for pesticide and heavy metal contamination of soils.
  • Water use: Raising animals for food requires more water than all other uses put together. It takes 2,500 gallons of water to produce one pound of meat.
  • Soil erosion: Animal farming is responsible for 85% of the soil erosion in the United States, and contributes to the loss of irreplaceable topsoil.
  • Land use and world hunger: 80% of our agricultural land is used to raise farmed animals, and 70% of the grain grown in the US is used to feed them. A plant-based diet represents a big step toward combating world hunger.
  • Fossil fuels, greenhouse gases, and air pollution: One-third of all the fossil fuel consumed in the US goes to factory farming, thus contributing to associated greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution. The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization calculates that at least 18% of global warming is livestock-related.
  • Deforestation: In the western hemisphere, millions of square acres of forest/rainforest have been stripped to raise livestock, causing environmental degradation and raising concerns about global climate change.

What you can do:

Over 10 billion land animals are killed for meat every year. As individuals, we can reject the violence and the environmental destruction of the slaughter industry by choosing a vegetarian diet. There is nothing “green” or humane about raising animals only to kill and eat them