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Global Skywatch

liberated abhorence

pork factory

pork factory

I had been able to keep these thoughts locked up in some dark corner, but one recent day in the grocery store something snapped and I lost that ability. The images and understanding of their implications turned me against the lower priced meats in front of me.
free range pigs

free range pigs

This isn’t about feel-good sympathies with sentient beasts, like how much time the pigs get hugged, petted and watch TV ;). NO, I’m simply thinking about the selfish, personal, physical effect it has on the meat consumers themselves.

factory pigs

factory pigs

Pigs kept in packed, filthy squalor are not happy, healthy vibrant individuals. They get no exercise, cannot nibble on green grass, never breathe fresh air, do not see or feel sunshine at any time in their lives.

You don’t have to know much to realize they are not well; not healthy. However, wonders of modern chemistry can keep them alive on drugs and life support until they are turned into the bacon, ham and pork chops you find in plastic wrap.

cattle feed lot

cattle feed lot

range beef

range beef


While this is a cost-effective way to produce meat, it is not a healthy way. Consumers of the factory farm product are first off, not eating a healthy food.

At least as important, all the antibiotics, hormones, GMO feed and unnatural chemical abuses in the growing system undoubtedly leaves residual in the meat.

factory beef herd

factory beef herd

Are you really okay eating steroids? Growth hormones? Antibiotics? GMO corn? – every time you decide that beef is what’s for dinner? – or pork? – or chicken?

By the way, most of these pictures I posted are in the form called “thumbnails”, meaning you can click on them and get a much bigger, clearer view – if you are up to it.

I spent 20 years providing custom ag services, meaning a LOT of trips to dairies in Sonoma County picking up loads of cow manure. Those are some of the images I have kept sequestered in the dark corners of my brain. Teats that will soon be milked dragging in a swamp of manure. Factory dairy cows live on antibiotics to keep the mastitis infections in their udders at bay … Yummy stuff.

organic dairy

organic dairy

milk factory

milk factory

By contrast, to legitimately claim “Organic”, the animals have to be healthy enough to NOT require antibiotics. The food the animals eat has to come from nature rather than the labs at Monsanto. Dairy cows must come in from the pasture to a clean milking barn, then return to a rotationally-grazed pasture immediately thereafter. Otherwise they get sick, then get antibiotics that eliminate their right to the “organic” label.

That all takes a lot more time, space, effort and money. But the results are from a whole different world. It’s not just the meat, but the milk, butter, cheese, eggs, and all that is different depending on how it was breed and raised. Cheap food-like products are not without their hidden costs.

If you think about it a bit, the farmers and the animals live in whole different worlds.

Which one do you want to support with your food budget?

factory farm chickens

factory farm chickens

range chickens

range chickens

Factory chickens are de-beaked as chicks to spend their whole lives with virtually no room to move. If you’ve ever know the fun of raising a chicken flock yourself, you know they peck at their neighbors to establish space and are the very source of our commonly used phrase “pecking order”.

Look at the multi-story “apartment complex” on the left these spend their lives in. Maybe the chicken you bought in the frozen food section was raised on the top floor where they didn’t get pooped on all day, every day of the 7-13 weeks they lived … maybe not. We will never know, but I doubt I’d get excited enough to pay a premium for “top floor chicken” anyway.

GMO chicken

GMO chicken

The far left chick is the result of old fashioned rooster/hen breeding. The one next to it is the “improved” version of the same age … custom designed to put on weight fast, but with no requirement that it be able to move, in fact a preference that it not really want to. For the GMO chick, it’s off with it’s head and into the styrofoam at 7 weeks. The other takes twice as long to reach that size.

In a real feat of genetic engineering, the wizards of food substitutes have eliminated a costly, messy step in delivering packages of chicken-like product from their USDA approved friendly factory to your grocery store’s freezer case.

featherless chicken

featherless chicken

Here we have grow fast, mostly breast, live chicken meat beings that have none of those pesky feathers. Seven weeks from egg cracking to a package that can be called “frozen chicken breasts” … sadly, not only with a straight face, but no ensuing criminal charges.

factory VS range egg

factory VS range egg

And now clearly having decided which came first,
I move on to the egg.

The surprising differences with fresh, small-farm eggs begin when you try to crack your first one. The shells are quite sturdy by comparison – being fragile doesn’t work in nature. Then you see SO MUCH COLOR. . They act different in recipes and take longer to hard boil. The big one you really notice, just like organic vegetables, lies in taste.

organic VS caged

organic VS caged

WOW! I had no idea that eggs had flavor. Back off the salt and pepper to taste real egg. Use more subtle herbs and spices with great results. Mix in green onions, mushrooms and more without losing track of the egg flavor. Add some excitement to your egg dishes.

I am reminded of Bob Cannard who opened up the world of natural foods to me 25 years ago. He and two helpers, using primarily hand tools, worked WITH nature to produce 27 acres of vegetables. His food was the foundation of a restaurant in Berkley, California whose food was so spectacular that reservations were required one year in advance!

Great raw materials are the primary ingredients in great food.

Good human health is built on healthy diet and lifestyle.

Neither Monsanto nor Obamacare will deliver either.

By design.

Victim or self ownership. Your call.

I can hear my daughter in law already, “I can’t afford fancy food, Mr. Organic Hippie.”

Look at the contents of your grocery cart. Look at others. How much of those $150 loads of freight is REAL FOOD?

I am an ingredient reader. I carry reading glasses with me shopping primarily for that purpose. Read the ingredients on the packages in your cart. Imagine yourself creating a meal in your kitchen with what is listed there. Ridiculous, eh? Why is it okay when someone does it FOR you in an FDA-approved facility?

Buy sacks of real beans, rice, wheat, cans of real vegetables, fruit and as much local, in season produce as you can. Add in half as much real meat as you would have the above mentioned meat like products. The cart goes out the door for the same price. One is mostly food. The other is a whole lot of non food sneaking into your food budget.

There is nothing but you deciding between healthy diet and the easy, comfortable alternative you are accustomed to.