|A much younger Motown Maiden helping her Grandpa Doak feed the cows|
(In Loving Memory of Lloyd and Geneva Doak)
Over our summer beach vacation I finished reading The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan. I had actually purchased it over a year ago where it sat unassumingly on my bookshelf, just waiting for me to garner up the motivation and free time to read it. I'm a little sad it took me that long to do so, but as if to make up for lost time, once I picked the book up I did not put it down. During the several days of reading, I'm sure Jonathan was getting tired of me sharing quotes out of the book. But I truly found the entire work completely fascinating (as well as a little embarassing since I discovered just how uneducated I am about where the food I consume comes from...I should have known more given my family history).
I suppose, witnessing cattle on my grandparents' farms as a child, I've blindly always thought all livestock was raised roaming wide open, green pastures. But in reality this is very different than how it works on industrial farms. I had no idea how many hamburgers or slices of ham or chicken breasts I likely consumed that came from animals who were "raised" in extremely crowded and poor conditions, often sick and pumped with antibiotics to keep them "healthy." Or that many industrially raised animals are fed things that we wouldn't consider to be a normal diet - no grass, large quantities of dry corn (something they would have never selected in nature) and even scraps from their fellow sibling's bodies. All to fatten them up to process them much sooner than what we would think to be a mature state. Raising animals the right way is a labor of love and it's really hard work. And unfortunately as Americans many of us have forgotten why that way was the better way to do things. We just see the dollar signs. Why is it we are so focused on buying the cheapest thing when it's something we put into our bodies to nourish ourselves? Isn't it amazing that we often go along our daily lives and if something's always been that way, we never ask why it was that way to begin with? (BTW, as I was writing this entry I noticed a timely article in the Wall Street Journal about antibiotics in pork drawing more scrutiny from inspectors.)