Welcome to Ethical Meating: a site for carnivores (okay, omnivores) who are also animal lovers and want to know that the meat they eat was treated humanely.
My name is Kat Firestone. I am an animal lover and a former vegan, who loves to eat meat. I am here to document my journey to discover farms that ethically raise their animals and the restaurants and groceries to which they sell their meat, so that I can eat meat guilt-free.
I’m a woman whose only motive is wanting to do the right thing in this world and one of those things is eating ethically raised animals.
In 2008, I read Skinny Bitch and, horrified at the terrible treatment of animals as they are raised and slaughtered, became a vegan. I am a lover of animals! My parents have two dogs, two doves, and we have had numerous fish, four chinchillas, five gerbils, a rabbit, two snakes, a dwarf hamster, and mice. We love animals.
By 2011, after numerous dates with my now-husband whose plate was typically covered by food I could not eat, I gave in and decided to eat grass-fed, free range, and organic meat, milk, eggs, and cheese. As the years passed, while that was my gold standard, I would just eat whatever meat the restaurant had or whatever meat my wonderful mom had prepared, not asking about the meat’s origins.
Right before Thanksgiving this past year, my cousin posted an article on Facebook, “12 Reasons You May Never Want to Eat Turkey Again”. It worked. I never want to eat turkey, from a factory farm especially, again.
But I do still want to eat meat.
But I do not know who to trust.
Thankfully, I do trust myself!
So, I am going around visiting farms to see for myself how the animals are treated. I am following the guidelines set out by the Five Freedoms (depicted in the picture below) as well as common sense as I visit the farms. I also like the rules set by Animal Welfare Approved, a non-profit certification program that requires farmers to abide by the highest standards of animal welfare and environmental sustainability in order to be certified. (I do not have the resources to do what they do, but I do find their work very helpful in this process!)
At dinner the other night at Caseus, a wonderful wine and cheese restaurant (and cheese shop), the waitress told my husband and me about the amazing pork dishes they had for dinner that night. The pork was from a Walden Local Meat that produces “local, sustainable and honest meat right here in New England” by finding the farms that “do it right”. That sounds great, but I did not know this company. So my husband and I sat at the table trying to decide whether or not I could eat the pork. I really wanted to – it sounded delicious! But I also really want to stick to being a truly ethical eater. And these days companies are trying to trick you into thinking you can eat their products by calling them “organic”, “free-range”, and “grass-fed”. Those are all great characteristics, but it is hard to trust such labels these days. It was during this conversation at Caseus that my husband suggested I share my farm visits online so that others might join me in my quest to eat ethically. One day soon I will check out some of the Walden Local Meat farms and report back to you!
If one person is moved to eat ethically raised meat by this blog, it will have been worth it.