Meet Your Meat

Last week I discussed how human domestication of cattle and evolution of cattle production over the past hundreds of years has allowed for cheap and accessible meat in the market today. As production strategies developed, supply of beef grew, and Americans consumed more. However, beginning in the 1980s, the demand for beef in the U.S. began to decline. More people began to follow healthier diets, such as vegetarianism. This may have been in result of the increase in wealth and education in the nation. In reflection of these new dieting trends, the meat-packing industry has begun to reform its practices to create more humane environments for the cattle they raise for slaughter.

Changes in Meat-packing industry
-non-slip flooring to prevent cattle slips and falls
-taking more time to walk smaller herds from each station to calm the cattle
-handling animals with more patience and care
-Dr. Temple Grandin’s design of a chute system that prevents cattle from seeing other cattle being slaughtered up ahead. Reduces stress and anxiety.

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There are also rising activist groups such as PETA hoping to expose the way some industries still abuse the animals that we eat. Society is shifting towards healthier diets and humane treatment in food production. This is also evident through the increase in organic and vegan food chains and restaurants such as Native Foods, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and Urth Cafe. Producing these organic or humanely treated meats may decrease efficiency and increase costs for the industries, but I believe this would provide the solution to our environmental and health problems surrounding meat production. As long as we treat and produce our meat with the care and respect they deserve, we can maintain healthy living for ourselves and our meat animals. 

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3 thoughts on “Meet Your Meat

  1. I have never been a vegetarian for a period of over a few weeks, and the only reason that I tried it was because my best friend was. I agree that more people are making themselves aware of the meat industries actions, and getting involved in improving the treatment of animals. The pictures that you showed made everything a lot more real. I never really thought about cattle being shuffled to their death before. I also never acknowledged the fact that in some designs, cattle can see the other cattle being slaughtered in front of them. Even after seeing this I don’t think I could become a vegetarian, but it definitely makes me want to cut back on meat and only purchase organic or humanely treated meats.

  2. Oooooo cool. Well I am very glad about the more humane practices regarding killing animsals for meat. In the future however, there’s the lab growing meat practice which turns small living cells from a certain animal and growing into lumps of muscle tissue which can then be used as meat. It shall be another alternative to traditional grown meat.

  3. I never really think about the inhumanity that occurs when harvesting meat for I prefer not to think about it. If I really were to sit down and ponder about it all, I think I might turn vegetarian. But I really do love meat (sorry vegetarians), and so that would be quiet a struggle for me. I think that the best thing to do, in my case, is to get informed about which companies have more humane practices when it comes to harvesting their animals, and buy products from them. I remember watching Food Inc and being so detested when they had to shock the animals in order to make them brain dead so that the animals wouldn’t feel any pain. It really is astonishing thinking about this practice, but I could understand the need for it. Great post!

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