Don’t Buy the ‘Free-Range’ Lie
There’s a local market near my house where I like to buy fruits and vegetables every Saturday morning. A small market, it has just the right amount of glorious tropical fruit and imported Korean persimmons for a hungry herbivore like me. But in between the rows of fresh flower bouquets and Himalayan rock salt lies a gruesome sight—slabs of “free-range” animal flesh. The sound of the butcher hacking violently through a cow femur is unbearable—it’s enough to give anyone, human or animal, the urge to run for his or her life.
When “free-range” meat started to become trendy, I remember thinking, “But the chicken is still dead, right?” I’m baffled by the moral and ethical satisfaction derived from eating “free-range,” “free-roaming,” “grass-fed,” or “organic” but nevertheless quite dead animals. With greater access to knowledge than ever before in history, we are becoming more conscious of the effects of the choices that we make. We all know that animal suffering is not OK, and that’s why the farming industries try so hard to trick us.
The meat, dairy, and egg industries have been campaigning hard to convince people that there is an “ethical” way to eat animals and animal products. They’ve come up with countless meaningless labels, developed worldwide marketing schemes, and misled many people into believing that animals on “free-range” and organic farms are treated well.
Most free-range farms aren’t much different from factory farms. Animals are often crammed by the thousands into filthy sheds to maximize profits. Cattle are dehorned, hens have their beaks cut off, and chicks and calves that happen to be born male are still killed almost immediately. The same slaughterhouses kill both free-range and factory-farmed animals. The animals’ deaths are identically horrific, as they are hung upside down and their throats are cut, often while they are still conscious and struggling to escape. Some chickens and turkeys are still conscious when they are immersed in the scalding-hot water of defeathering tanks.
Posted by Edwina Baier