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Dec 27, 2009 05:41 PM

humane meat for human consumption

Today I started reading a book that I thought was going to be about balanced nutrition and small portions, and exercise, and funny. It turned out to be a diatribe about being a vegan. Not gonna happen here. In my opinion, that constitutes deprivation. PLEASE DO NOT MAKE THIS THREAD INTO A DEBATE ABOUT VEGAN OR OMNIVOROUS EATING!!!! To me all food groups, good wine and good coffee, all in moderation, are among the simple pleasures of life. You are welcome to disagree, but please not here.

That said, the book did go on about the hellish nature of slaughter houses-- how animals are skinned and their brains boiled alive; how animal flesh falls to the ground, into excrement (human and animal) and roaches and gets picked up and passed on to the public, etc. The authors so much as said that neither Kosher, nor free range slaughtering can be trusted to be either humane or hygenic.

Bearing all of that in mind, here is my question. Does anyone know the truth FOR CERTAIN, because you know for SURE about slaughtering? is there some source for meat that is killed humanely? What about raised humanely? Can Whole Foods market be trusted in this regard?


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  1. I would certainly not trust WF. You need to find a local meat producer in your area with a farm that you can visit. Ask what the animals are fed, and what measures are taken to ensure that they are humanely slaughtered. I live in a small town in the midwest, and can do this.

    5 Replies
    1. re: pikawicca

      That's a really lovely suggestion, but I live in the Pasadena area of California. I don't think there are any nearby farms. (the produce people hold local farmers markets, but not meat as far as I know) I should have said that to begin with. Why wouldn't you ( or anyone else out there) not trust Whole Foods? I'm not saying we should; I'm just asking why not?

      1. re: withabandon

        There are definitely meat producers at local LA Farmer's Markets. Healthy Family Farms comes to mind:

      2. re: pikawicca

        I actually would trust WF, because there are SO many people and organizations that love to find fault with them, that I don't think they can get away with much. People are ready to pounce. (Along the same lines, a local natural food cooperative that always made a big deal out of selling only sustainable fish once ended up on the front page of a Seattle daily after someone did an expose and found one of the fish they were selling was not caught according to guidelines. The front page! People loooove to take down organizations that they think are holier-than-thou).

        That said, I'd still trust my farmer's market guy more, and like others said, you should be able to find meat producers there. I think there have been similar instances at markets, where people who claimed to be growing organically weren't, etc. So can we know "the truth for certain"? Probably not. But can you know it about anything? Were your clothes made in a sweatshop by 8 year olds? Is someone back in the kitchen of your favorite Chinese restaurant a vicitim of human trafficking? Those of us that are concerned about this kind of stuff do the best we can to find out info, make judgments, and spend our money accordingly.

        1. re: christy319

          WF now has an animal welfare rating system for their meat department. everything is ranked and labeled - from 1 to 5+ - according to how the animals were housed, fed, raised/treated and slaughtered. as far as transparency goes, it's the best you'll get outside of interacting directly with the farmers. obviously there's never a guarantee - no system is infallible - but i like the fact that the one at WF is run by the Global Animal Partnership.

          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

            Agreed. A while back I was looking to buy a rabbit. I checked with WF and they said they haven't found a supplier who measures up to their requirements. I don't buy much there but when I do, I like them.

      3. I do not have any recommendations but I do know that renowned animal behaviorist and author, Temple Grandin, has designed (and I believe patented) chutes and various other equipment to ensure efficient, non-threatening passage of cattle into slaughterhouses, and humane dispatching of the animals. A partial answer might be to search around online for info as to what packing houses use her equipment and what brands their meat is sold under.

        1. This is not FOR CERTAIN, but I did read somewhere that slaughterhouse animals are killed instantly because if they're stressed it makes the meat taste gamey. I have noticed it occasionally in bought beef (tastes a bit like liver). Wild game tastes like that, apparently due to adrenaline produced when they're being hunted/shot at but not killed right away. I've only ever had venison, though.

          1 Reply
          1. re: hsk

            The 'Gameyness" that you refer to in hunted meat is a product of diet and post mortality handling of the meat, not due to adrenaline. Something about managing a carcass in 90 degree temperatures in the field...

          2. Sadly, I think the only answer is to get personally involved with your meat while it's still on the hoof, so to speak, and to know who's doing what to it and when while it's in the interim peroid between slaughter and table.

            Otherwise, nothing's for sure. Paying a premium for organic this or free-range that might ease one's mind, but it does nothing to guarantee the animal was humanely treated and its meat hygenically handled...

            I've read about Temple Grandin's designs and while I guess they seem unconventional (not that I know much about cattle) I can certainly see how they'd make for a far less stressful environment.

            Grandin or not, though, there is always going to be a large amount of stress placed on any animal that goes to a slaughter plant -- from the shipping (often in double-decker trucks) to the feedlots to the queue-up line for the deed itself.

            I know with horses they're required to stun with a captive bolt before the animal is actually killed. Not sure about cattle.

            1. i like meat ,but i did a sandblasting job at the local meatmarket .on the wall above the kill room was about a hundred 22 bullet holes.thats alot off misses or near misses(bad shot anyways)big slaughterhouses are usually more humain as thay use bolts