Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Thank You Oprah

I am not an Oprah watcher. That is not to say that I will not watch her, that is unless she has a show that interests me, or a guest I am interested in. Well, Tuesday October 14ths show was just such a show. I was getting ready to take a little afternoon siesta when my phone rang. It was a good friend and she said in a hurried breath, "Turn on Oprah, you will want to see this." Now, you have to know that my friend does not watch much frivolous TV, so if she said watch it, then it must be of some interest to me. And right she was.

The episode was about Factory Farming. If you do not know what factory farming is, then may I make a suggestion and do some research and see for yourself. Now, there are those in the industry that will say there is nothing wrong with how we raise our animals for slaughter. I have a tendency to disagree. Isn't that like someone form Phillip Morris(a cigarette company) telling us that it is OK to smoke, or someone from Budweiser(a beer brewery) telling us that consuming alcohol is fine and dandy?

I am a vegetarian and I will not stand on a soapbox and try to convert anyone over. You all know that consuming less meat is a plus, but do you really make that extra effort? How many of you can say that you could plan a dinner with no meat involved and have plenty of dishes. I did not for quite a long time. When I was a vegetarian the first time around I think I lived on macaroni and cheese and that was the boxed version. So it took many quite a long time to fill my recipe book with meatless meals. I got so good at it that I put on a vegan Christmas and trust me when I tell you there was no lack of food on that table.

What Oprah's show was trying to tell you...and she did it in an extremely diplomatic way(probably due to her incident with the beef industry with the Mad Cow thing) was that we as educated Americans, was to make ethical and moral choices about where your meat comes from. Most children have no idea that there is such a thing as a 'Farm'. they think their food comes from the grocery store. And it does, but many children cannot trace their food back to its origin.

I think people need to be in formed about what choices are out there and see what battles you want to choose. I myself am in such a financial way that free range, cage free, and organic are out of my reach...for now. I would give my eye teeth to be able to put better quality food on my family's table. Do not misunderstand me, I am an extremely good and healthy cook. there is no boxed food on our table or in our pantry. I do keep an occasional can of canned beans in the pantry for emergencies. Luckily those are few and far between.

I am not asking people to give up meat. But just know where your dollars are going. Can you afford to go all organic, or all cage free? If you are like most Americans right now...probably not, but how about a dozen eggs that are hormone free this week. And maybe next week your milk is organic(and do you really need to drink all that milk) and the week after that it is a free range chicken. The more we let the factory farmers know we will not put up with the conditions these animals are kept in, our animals will still live in horrid conditions(and Oprah's show did not show the more graphic version of how many, if not most of our animals are treated.

Do the research and make your own call. Is meat, pumped up on hormones, steroids and heaven knows what else, something you want going into your body? Would you put that stuff into your body without the middle man of the meat itself? I think not. But you have to make that call all on your own. And if these animals are willing to have their lives taken for us, then I think they deserve the best treatment possible while they are here.

You are what you eat. All I am asking is to keep that in ,mind when making choices for your dinner table tonight.


Tara B. said...

Great post!! I preach the same often, if you're going to eat meat, at least try free range, grass fed, cruelty free, etc...

Prop. 2 is on the ballet here in California for this November. I am hoping and praying people really consider passing this. It is calling for kinder treatment of farm animals. Not asking they be shut down, just kinder methods be practiced. Hoping people will take time to research this and give it serious consideration.

Bummed I missed the Oprah episode. Like you I don't often watch it.

Evita said...

Wow what a great article!

And we seem to have so much in common :)

For starters I too only watch Oprah when something interests me.

Secondly I too wrote about Oprah's show this past Tuesday because she raised an issue that I think we should all become way more aware about.

Three, I too am a vegetarian.

And four, I too do not try to convert people as it is everyone's choice to eat or not to eat meat, however I do educate to those who want to listen or want to be informed happily!

Wow I feel like I could have written this post about myself :)

J said...

I'm putting a blindfold on, stuffing my ears yelling YA YA YA YA YA so I don't have to think about your post or hear it in my brain.

I *love* beef. I buy frozen chicken breasts.

I know, it's baaaaad.

In my defense, for the first time ever I bought a side of beef from a local farmer. My freezer is full. BUT the beef is so laden with fat, that we've only had a few good meals from it. I complain 50% of the time about the fat.

My husband is a meat and potatoes man. Every meal has to have something that was once alive as the center course.


I'll work on it, okay? =)

I will say this. The county I live in is in the top 10 of pork producers in the nation. I don't like it, and you just have to drive by one of the places and get a wiff and gag. Then it's very typical to see a dead hog on the outside of the building.

It's gross, and my son and I have discussed the condions that those poor animals live under many times.

DS has wanted to be a vegetarian all his life, but he hates vegetables.

I see a blog post about that long story in the near future.

Red said...

J: I think you are safe here in that the vegetarians I know are not going to try and convert you.

I was born and raised in a meat eating family and married into a bigger meat eating family(No vegetables in his house, unless you consider pink,not ripe' tomatoes laden with salt and oil vegetables).

I was a vegetarian when I was carrying my daughter and went back to meat eating for lack of a support system.

I am older now and have given up meat for a varied amount of reason, but as I grow older and see what people put into their bodies and what is being pumped into our poor animals, I am glad I stepped away from meat.

This time I felt more free, not like thee entire world has to be a vegetarian. I just want people to make informed decisions. Oprah sent a powerful message to the meat industry. And your average commoner would never be able to do what she did in one episode.

Will every viewer run out and buy organic everything? I highly doubt it. I am on a fixed budget, and inasmuch as I would love to go completely organic, cafe free(And yes our meat as well, for my husband and son still consume plenty of meat), I would not be able to financially do it. I hope to someday be able to purchase hormone free food, but not today.

If everyone out there did what they could that would be an enormous help to the plight of these animals and help the environment.