The Cost Of Eating Inhumanely

mo meat

I can’t tell you the number of friends and family members I have that are vegetarians.  People sometimes assume because I’m Buddhist, I am, too.  But, although I rarely eat steak and frequently enjoy a vegetarian dish, I do eat meat.  Yes, I eat meat at the same time I champion humane treatment of animals–how is this possible?

There was a time when I considered becoming vegetarian.  But, in the end, I knew myself too well.  I love pepperoni and will probably be eating pizza on my deathbed!  I might not be a steak person, but I do love a great hamburger.  And my husband can cook a chicken like nobody’s business.  So…I do eat meat, I have always eaten meat and I will always eat meat.  That’s a given.

But what was I to do about this niggling feeling that I ought to be able to enjoy my food and also be respectful to the animals that died for it?

grass fed cattle

Six Ways You Can Change and Reduce Meat Consumption

Some of you may already have read my review of Dr. Temple Grandin’s book Animals Make Us Human.  In this book, she puts forward an important concept: that if we are going to eat animals as part of our diet, there is no reason the ones we raise for that purpose must be frightened at the end of their lives.  In fact, she designed certain devices used by the meat processing industry today that ensure the animals are calm right up to the end, which is very quick.  And really–that’s all we want too, isn’t it?  Because of Dr. Grandin’s research, meat processing is light years ahead of where it was only a few years ago.  However, according to the World Animal Protection Organization, the treatment of farm animals is the world’s biggest animal welfare issue – and it’s getting bigger. By 2050, livestock production will be twice what it was in 2000. Right now, more than 70 billion animals are farmed for food each year – two-thirds in conditions that mean they can’t move freely or live naturally.  More and more, moral consumers are saying, no more factory farms!

Still, how can you–just you reading this–help to make things even better for the animals that eventually become our food?  Well, there are lots of ways.

1) Reduce meat consumption by trying Meatless Mondays.  Here’s a great video about that.

2.  Buy pastured livestock meats from acceptable sources, where the animals are treated humanely all their lives–such as local farms or farmer’s markets.  Even if you do this only some of the time, you’re ahead of the game.

3.  When shopping for meat other than at these sources, make sure the labels indicate third party certified for animal welfare.  And ask your store to provide humanely raised meats.

4.  Even today, the poultry industry is among the worst violators of treating animals humanely before and during slaughter.  So don’t forget about the eggs you buy.  They should be labeled ‘cage free’ or ‘free range’, indicating the hens were not living in tiny battery cages (about the size of a single piece of paper) all their lives.

5.  If you must eat fast and processed foods, give your business to the chains that are doing the best job of buying pastured livestock from humane producers: Chipotle, Whole Foods, Wolfgang Puck Restaurants, Sara Lee, Krispy Kreme, Hellmann’s, Safeway, Wendy’s, Sonic, Cracker Barrel, Burger King and McDonald’s.  You’ll also want to avoid these brands:  Tyson, Smithfield, Butterball, Pilgrim’s Pride, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Domino’s Pizza.

6.  Take action.  Learn everything you can about eating humanely, and why there should be no more factory farms.  When travelling, avoid local cuisine such as the burgers in the Cayman Islands, which are often made with green sea turtle meat (an endangered species.)

fresh fish stamp


Sadly, Germany and Norway lead the way in the reduction of inhumane methods to slaughter fish.  The largest majority of fish you buy in the US will have died a painful and protracted death.  So please consider reducing the amount of fish you eat, at the very least.

factory farm

Why No More Factory Farms?

Factory farming has been labeled as the biggest cause of animal cruelty in the world. The frenzied pace of breeding, raising and killing required to mass produce meat means that animals suffer the following:

·        Intense confinement and overcrowding.  Over 100,000 animals are forced within a single structure, resulting in trampling, suffocation, cannibalism and starvation.

·        Severe Stress.  Animals are restricted from natural behaviors like grazing, rooting, scratching, foraging, mud wallowing, running and nesting.

·        Routine mutilation without pain relief.

·        Extreme exposure to heat or freezing cold while in transport.

·        Fear and Distress.  They’re subjected to busy, industrialized slaughterhouses designed to be able to kill 200 animals per minute.

·        Frequent improper stunning and slaughter methods.  Factory farm animals routinely have their throats cut, are boiled and dismembered alive – and while fully conscious – by workers under extreme pressure to produce a high output. Sadly, with cost and convenience as main drivers of consumer decisions, most of us are supporting this type of farming.

factory farm not fresh

Factory farmed meat instead of using that from pastured livestock is also a danger to human health.  Factory farms selectively breed animals and inject them with growth hormones to grow as big and as quickly as possible.  Because animals live together is such close quarters, factory farms pump animals full of antibiotics to prevent the spread of disease. But overuse of antibiotics has caused microbes to become resistant, and future infections cannot be treated.  Despite the widespread use of antibiotics, factory farmed animals are still susceptible to contract many diseases such as salmonella, mad cow disease and tuberculosis, which can be passed on to humans through eating their products.

anti biotics on factory farms

When you consider the amount of growth hormones & drugs we are using and consuming through factory farmed meat, it is no wonder diseases such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes and cancer are increasing. Rates of new infectious diseases are rising like never before. Most scientists agree that factory farming plays a leading role in these increasing threats to human health.

dollar sign

But Why Is Meat From Pastured Livestock So Expensive?

The feed and processing for pastured livestock is more costly.  Herbicides and pesticides are often not used, so more labor is needed to take care of the fields where these grains grow.  Properly certified processing plants and farms are regularly inspected and humane handling training for the workers is expensive.  When pastured animals feed, they don’t put on weight as quickly as those being pumped full of hormones and restricted from moving around.  So it’s more costly to bring them to market.

I hear many people say, “How can I afford to eat humanely?”  But the question really is, “How can you afford not to?”

 helpful links

America For Animals.Org


Farmer’s Market Online Directory

Certified Humane


Joy Jones

Joy Jones, our Editor In Chief, is a syndicated columnist living with her husband Dave in Las Cruces, New Mexico. When not working on Your Pet Space, she writes a metaphysical column, as well as urban fantasy and humor. You can e-mail her at as well as follow her on Facebook or Twitter.



Product Review: Cat In The Bag

two cats travelling

Cash (the cat in black) and Little Dingle saying, “We be trippin!”

A Cross Country Trip With Cats

My wife and I drove 1600 miles across the country – a twenty four hour trip – with three dogs and two cats.  The plan was to drive three or four hours, take a break to give the dogs a chance to run, then back on the road for another three or four hours before stopping for the night.  Managing the dogs seemed like an easy task.  They would ride just behind the front seats of the Honda Pilot in the cargo area.  Getting the dogs in and out of the vehicle without losing one seemed pretty easy, too; we would simply put them on a leash before opening the door.

But What About Cat Travel Safety?

The cats were another story.  They would be in a 24 x 36 dog crate for the journey.  This would give them enough room to lay about and still fit a litter box in the same crate.   Getting them from the vehicle to the hotel room would be a challenge, though.  They might dash when the crate door opened, or squirm out of our arms while being carried to the hotel room.  This is where Cat in the Bag came in handy for a cat travelling in a car.

Cat in the Bag is a fabric bag with a large opening at one end that can be zippered closed, and a smaller opening at the other end for the cat’s head.  Using it is a snap!  With the zippered end wide open the cat walks into the bag and puts his head through the smaller opening at the other end.  You zip up the large opening, then tighten the Velcro around the cat’s neck so he can’t slip out.  The Velcro acts as a collar and you adjust it as such.  That is, leave room for one finger so it isn’t too tight around the cat’s neck.  Once the cat is in the bag you can pick the bag up by the convenient sewn-in handle and away you go.  Viola!  It is just that easy.

Okay, maybe not that easy.  When we tested it on Cash, (our “cat in black”), he did not want to go in.  It was a bit of a struggle and he was scared until he realized his feet were under him and his head was free.  After that he did not mind going into the bag.  Our other boy, Dingle, was another story.  It wasn’t until his very last trip in the bag that he went in willingly.

A Cat Travelling In A Car Is Like…Well, Nothing Else You’ve Tried!

You may be asking why we didn’t use a traditional cat carrier.  There are two reasons.  One reason was  where to put it?  We knew that storage space would be limited.  Cat carriers would never fit in the Pilot with the dog crate and the dogs.  And our moving truck was full to bursting!  The biggest reason we did not want to use a traditional crate style cat carrier, though, was comfort.  This trip would be stressful on the cats as it was.  Can you imagine trying to get them in a cat carrier twice a day?  My cats, like most cats, hate carriers because they have a fear of forced confinement. They will brace, struggle and scratch in a desperate attempt to avoid being put in a crate.  I didn’t need that stress any more than they did. Getting the cats from the house to the car, then car to hotel, hotel to car, until at last car to house would have been a total of eight trips.  Can you imagine putting a squirming cat into a cat carrier eight times in four days?  Torture for both man and beast!

cat in the bag

The Cat in the Bag took the stress out of the equation of cat travel safety.  A cat does not fight the bag carrier like he fights a crate. When your cat is in his Cozy Comfort Carrier, his head stays outside the bag so you can hold him, pet him and calm him. He doesn’t feel isolated or trapped. The loose, soft cotton bag gives him plenty of room to stretch, sit up, stand up, lay down and curl up.  And with his head outside of the bag he does not feel confined.

But, once you have properly fastened the adjustable Velcro collar around his neck, he is secured in the bag and it is safe to take him outside. You will be able to carry him without him scratching you or getting away and getting hurt.

I mentioned earlier that Cash went into the bag with no problem, but Dingle resisted. So how do you get the cat into the bag?  Start by seeing that the small opening with the Velcro is fully opened.  You need enough room at that end for the cat to easily stick its head through the opening.  Unzip the other end so that the bag is fully open.  Gather the material together and slip the cat’s head through the small opening.  He may able to get a paw out but there is no getting its whole body through that hole.  Pull the bag over the cat’s body and zip shut.  (watch the tail!)   It is just that easy. At least it was with Cash.  Dingle wasn’t so willing.  To get Dingle into the bag I had to kneel, and hold him against my legs.  Using my forearms to hold him in place, I put the bag over his head and he quickly stuck his head through the small hole.  He thought it was a way out and kept going which helped me to draw the rest of the bag over him and zip it up.  You would think he would figure that out, but it worked this way every time I needed him in the Cat in the Bag.  Eight times!  So it really wasn’t all that hard after all.  And as corny as it is, once you arrive at your destination you will not be able to resist letting the cat out of the bag.

Dave Jones, the cat man

Dogfather…or Catman?

The bag is made of tightly woven cotton, is soft on the cat, and it will not rip or tear.  The cloth handle attached to the bag is solid and long enough to put over your shoulder.  This made carrying multiple cats easy for me. The bag carrier does not add any weight to the cat and is not as awkward to carry as the crate. The cat does not slide or scrabble back and forth like he would in a crate — the hammock-like bag keeps him in one spot-which made it easy for me.

A Cross Country Trip With Cats Can Be A Snap

The Cat in the Bag is a great way to move cats without the stress of a traditional cat carrier, and the Cat in the Bag can be used for so much more.  Giving your cat medicine, dental care, nail trimming, and even baths are much easier when the cat is in the bag.  Have you ever given a cat a bath?  In my experience – they don’t like it.  Cat in the Bag makes the process easy.  You can soap them up, wash them, and rinse them thoroughly while they are in the bag.  And you get the job done without getting scratched!

Go to the Cat In The Bag website for more detailed information on the product.

I am Cash, and I approve this message. Cash 300

dave-with-castle 300

Dave Jones, our Video Editor, is president of Your Pet Space by day and a professional magician by night. He lives with his wife Joy in Las Cruces, New Mexico, but grew up on a farm with pigs, chickens and cows as well as dogs and cats in Ohio. You can e-mail Dave at as well as follow him on Facebook.