7 kinds of animals that you can eat with no factory farm involved

So you want to eat meat, eh? There’s a dilemma.

Ever since the release of Michael Pollan’s seminal book, “The Omnivore’s Dilemma,” more people all over the world have been trying to decide if their lives could use more locally harvested food including meat.

The existing meat production pipeline is flawed. Pollan and many others like Eric Schlosser (of “Fast Food Nation” fame) and the documentary “Samsara” have showed us just how bad it really is. Some folks go vegan or vegetarian, but others have tried to figure out ways to get locally raised animals.

Image of Michael Pollan by Sage Ross/Wikimedia.

Were the walls of our meat industry to become transparent, literally or even figuratively, we would not long continue to raise, kill, and eat animals the way we do.”
Michael Pollan, “The Omnivore’s Dilemma”

Can you eat meat ethically?

What is there to do if you would prefer meat to be a source of protein in your diet but want to have it in an ethical and eco-friendly way?

The answer might be in your backyard. Literally.

If you live in an area that has access to wild game, you may want to consider hunting. Seriously! Many people have turned to personally hunting their meat, and the vast majority of those who are passionate about it harvest game in ways that are safe, clean, and quick.

Ask yourself: Is that more or less ethical than, for example, a cow grown while standing on piles of manure, force-fed antibiotics, and unable to turn around or even move? Or a chicken with its beak cut off, unable to move in its cage or do anything except eat and well, you know. How about what happens when animals reach the “killing floor” where they’re executed en masse and “disassembled” before they make it to the local “Mall*Wart” in your city?

If you do it yourself, it can get you closer to your food supply and in touch with its life cycle.

Even though I’ve hunted since I was a kid, “Omnivore’s Dilemma” got me even more interested in putting wild game into my freezer and onto our table. Knowing a lot more about your food sources is key to understanding why it matters so much to your health and happiness. And, prepared right, wild game is absolutely delicious.

Also, I still thank every animal I take for giving food and sustenance to my family.

Replacing things like factory-farmed cows and chickens with wild game is possible.

You can also look into organic/grass-fed animals on local farms, but that can get pricey. We’ve done it to the tune of $900 for a half cow, and you must have a deep freeze on hand to store it.

But small-game hunting can be cost-effective and good exercise, and it’s not a big lift when it comes to cleaning and cooking.

Some people use a bow and arrow, a small-caliber rifle like a .22, or even a simple single-shot shotgun available for $100. For that matter, there are many people who like to hunt with birds of prey trained
falcons, hawks, and more.

Whatever method you use, once you’ve got your license, it’s time to get out there!

What are some good options to hunt?

Let’s go through some varieties of game that can usually be found in open areas around the United States.

1. Rabbits

Cottontails, hares, and jackrabbits all provide a great meal when you harvest them humanely and ethically. Rabbit season starts in September or October in most parts of the country. The taste? A lot like chicken, but a little stronger flavor. You can really make it tasty with a good ol’ hasenpfeffer recipe (or as Bugs Bunny would call it … rabbit stew).

Thumper … I mean, the cottontail rabbit. Image by Jon Sullivan/Wikimedia.

2. Squirrels

Bushy tail (fox) squirrels, chipmunks, woodchucks, and prairie dogs are all in the same scientific family. As opposed to hoofing it through the woods and grasslands for rabbits, squirrel hunting is more for people who like to sit for a while. The taste is also kinda like chicken, but a lot greasier. Think dark meat.

The common fox squirrel. Photo by Brandon Weber/Upworthy.

3. Upland birds

Pheasant, quail, grouse, Hungarian partridge, and other species are actively eating and preparing for the winter months late in the year, starting around September. Definitely a way to burn some calories because hunting them requires hikes through woods, grasslands, and farm fields, where you can see them flush, often with a great flourish of color.

As you might have guessed, the taste is very much like chicken!

The ring-necked pheasant. Image by USFWS Mountain-Prairie/Flickr.

Bonus: Here’s a pheasant recipe I created years ago, but it’ll work with pretty much any small game.

4. Waterfowl

Waterfowl include geese, ducks, and other birds that stay close to water. At 12 to 15 pounds per bird for an adult goose, they can easily feed a family. It’s very much a dark meat; in fact, goose breasts look as dark as steaks before and after you cook them. The taste is very much like duck, rather than turkey. All are fabulous, on the grill or slow-cooked in the oven or pressure cooker.

“Honkers,” as they’re sometimes called. If you’ve ever been close to a flock, you know why. Image by Alan Wilson/Wikipedia.

5. Deer, elk, and other cervids

This is definitely deep-end-of-the-pool hunting not small game. And it takes a deeper relationship with the local population to really make it ethical.

“The Three Kings.” Image by Brandon Weber/Upworthy.

A word on “trophy” animals (i.e., those with a lot of antlers) versus those intended for food and culinary delights: Though the picture I took here is of bucks, I take the female variety (“does”) too. There’s a reason why.

If the herd gets out of balance from too many does, then bucks can die from food scarcity in the winter months. Read: They starve.

I’ve been regaled with many a tale of winters being so harsh in parts of the country that deer eat tree bark and pine needles to survive. That’s not good, and they suffer, so it’s far better to harvest enough of them each year so that the herd is strong.

“Hiya, human!” Photo of bull elk in Rocky Mountain National Park by Brandon Weber/Upworthy.

In the mountain states, elk and other cervids (ruminant mammals that are members of the Cervidae family) are also frequently harvested. These will supply hundreds of pounds of venison at a time.

I’m a bow hunter myself, and it takes tons of patience, practice, skill, and the ability to sit quietly for hours on end. My 7-year-old wants to go deer hunting in a few years, but I’ve already warned him that he cannot talk for hours at a time a feat I do not think it’s humanly possible for him to accomplish.

The taste is like beef, with much less fat. Cooking venison is a skill unto itself, and you frequently will have to cut the cooking time in half versus beef, or it will be very dry. They’re much like grass-fed beef in that regard. The varying types of cervids produce subtle taste differences. I am fond of whitetail deer and elk, but some folks love caribou and antelope, too.

Bonus: If you want to go full-on mountain person, you can learn how to make a coat or blanket from the hides, as well as other fancy things from other parts. Double bonus: If you have dogs, venison bones are great for them to chew on. (Just be sure to do it safely!)

6. Wild turkey

No, not THAT Wild Turkey

This is another “sit and wait” creature to hunt, and they have extremely acute eyesight and hearing, so they’re not easy. But taste one even if you’ve had “free-range” turkey before and you might just be hooked.

“Hi Tom. Have you met … Tom?” Photo by Brandon Weber/Upworthy.

7. Wild boar/pig

I’ve not yet had the experience of hunting these, but (SPOILER ALERT!) it is the critter that Pollan ends up harvesting at the end of “The Omnivore’s Dilemma,” along with local mushrooms and vegetables. In some parts of the country especially the South they are frequently harvested year-round. The taste is definitely pork, with older animals having a “musky” flavor.

“Oink? Not quite, Bub.” Image of wild boars near Kennedy Space Center by NASA/Wikimedia.

Bonus!

For the pescatarians out there, catching and cooking your own fish can be magical. You only need access to waterways, ponds, or lakes, and a simple cane pole with a hook and night crawler will do. The kids will love it, and cooking fresh catfish or trout over a campfire is a great experience.

The species “Cerveza Metallica,” with the author’s buddy Dave. Photo by Brandon Weber/Upworthy.

There are, of course, tons of other critters in pockets of the country that can also be harvested as well, like alligators, goats, crabs, lobsters, bears, and more.

Hey, it beats store-bought, right? Check with local ethical hunters to see what might be available to you!

What if the whole idea of hunting game yourself is still not for you? That’s fair.

Here’s an idea: Why not trade with someone for locally sourced meat?

If you don’t want to go through with hunting and taking your own animals, you could arrange a trade with someone you know. “Hey, Jane, I’ll prepare the bread from locally raised grain and roast some locally-grown vegetables if you can harvest the venison steaks. Deal?”

Or even get together with friends and family who hunt and make it a feast!

Bon apptit!

Also, for a little taste of what “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” is all about, check this video out:

Source: http://www.upworthy.com/

A nice bit of squirrel: should we chow down a diet of invasive species?

Last year, the Shambala festival made headlines by going meat-free. This year, it relaxed the rules for a feast of grey squirrel skewers and crayfish. Should the rest of us follow suit?

At Shambala festival, during the hottest bank holiday on record, peace and love is about to turn sour. I am standing next to author Louise Gray, who is here to talk about wild alternatives to mass-produced meat. The cricket brownies are baked; we have been skinning squirrels and marinating them in satay, then decided to unwind by checking out a punk-reggae band in a nearby tent. That is when the singer announces his feelings about her presence there. Last year this festival was 100% meat- and fish-free. Now theyre saying we should eat pests and squirrels, he spits. Its 2017. If youre still eating the dead bodies of animals, you need to check your fucking privilege. The crowd cheers. I am worried we are about to be ethically eaten alive.

In the wake of The Ethical Carnivore, her award-winning account of the year she spent eating roadkill and animals she had killed herself, and investigating abattoirs, Gray received death threats and abuse. Images spring to mind of balaclava-clad activists chucking red paint and righteous invective. If it comes down to it, I am not with you, I tell her, gallantly.

If
If we want to eat meat, the argument to get it from animals such as grey squirrels is persuasive. Photograph: Dan Farrell

The friction is hardly surprising. Shambala is a hippy sort of place, with as many recycling points as there are naked people painted blue, which is a lot. Ravers have to carry their own cups, and food stalls are entirely vegetarian. On the festivals Facebook page, protests over Grays talk quickly escalated into an argument about speciesism, human immigration and genocide. Onstage at the Garden o Feeden the festivals food and debate tent the edginess is palpable.

Lets hear her out and fight afterwards, the host pleads. In a craven attempt to fit in, I am wearing a full-length dress and Carmen Miranda fruit hat; Gray has nowhere to hide.

The debate around eating meat is hard to progress intellectually you either believe on some level that it is a natural part of the cycle of life, or an unnecessary moral wrong. Gray, the daughter of a farmer, is here to argue for an ecological, flexitarian position between the two.

Our current production model is energy-intensive, wasteful, cruel and unsustainable. We should be eating far less meat, and thinking more about it. Her book describes the year she spent eating only animals she had killed herself a common, if hypothetical, answer to the abstraction and scale of the mostly invisible meat industry. She cried after killing the first rabbit, and talks about her ambivalence at stalking and shooting a red stag. The responsibility of taking an animals life bears an emotional cost, she tells the crowd. Its pretty intense. It is also not something one can practically do in a city (unless you maybe fancy the urban equivalent of turducken, eating a fox that recently swallowed a pigeon, which last dined on KFC).

Yet there is a lesser explored alternative to factory meat, besides insects, roadkill or hunting your own: a diet of invasive species. I know whats coming: backstage I watched Gray skinning a bag of grey squirrels, carefully stripping pelts from flesh, cleaning out shot and slicing meat from bone. Several vegan chefs walked past, all of them fascinated, though one declared: Bit Hunger Games, innit? Or Winters Bone. Something with Jennifer Lawrence. Christ, I wish I hadnt seen that. She means the flayed legs of the skinned critter in front of her, rather than the film.

Out front, Grays cousin has been standing sidestage to provide security/hand out brownies. She presents us with a plate of grilled sticky squirrel skewers, which are passed around. I try one, then a few. Surprisingly, many others in the crowd do the same. The plates disappear. The flavour is potently gamey, not a bad accompaniment to the zesty lime and creamy satay. I have certainly eaten worse on a cheap pizza. The hair that sticks to my teeth is off-putting, though.

These squirrels are from Dumfries and Galloway, home to one of the few surviving red squirrel populations in the country, maintained by controlling greys. If we want to eat meat, the argument to get it from animals such as grey squirrels is persuasive. They are wild, organic and definitely free range. As with insects, the ick factor might just be something we have to get past.

This is the part of the message Crayfish Bob Ring has been trying to get out. A grizzled trapper of 15 years experience, I met him earlier at a picnic table outside the tent, smoking a roll-up pensively and squinting like Captain Quint. His passion is removing American crayfish from British waters and selling them at his restaurant pop-ups. The lobster-like signal crayfish were introduced in the 1970s to be a lucrative export to the Scandinavian market (which was soon dominated by cheaper imports of Chinese crayfish). The collapse of the scheme saw them escaping the fisheries, passing a deadly plague on to smaller, native white-clawed crayfish and destroying their numbers. The voracious predators eat fish and amphibian eggs, out-compete other species for habitat and burrow into river banks, causing their erosion and collapse. Crayfish Bob describes how they travel the country using the waterways, by hanging on to barges. I feel very conscious Im wearing a tutu.

Ive gone into this business with the objective of going bust due to lack of stock, he says vehemently. I would get so much satisfaction from getting rid of them. Neither Gray nor Crayfish Bob think eating grey squirrels or signal crayfish would make a dent in their numbers the species are here to stay, and their realistic concern is to level the ecological balance. The EU list 37 alien invasive species, including muntjack deer, Ruddy duck and Siberian chipmunk. Legally, the crayfish have to be controlled anyway, Ring reminds me, so are not being bred or killed primarily to be eaten. After he realised the scale of the problem, he founded the National Institute of Crayfish Trappers, and became Crayfish Bob, selling gumbos and crawfish boil. Ive had vegetarians come up to me and say: What you are doing challenges all the reasons I became vegetarian. They see it as a way they can eat some fish.

In
In a craven attempt to fit in, I am wearing a full-length dress and Carmen Miranda fruit hat; Gray has nowhere to hide. Photograph: Dan Farrell

Of course, vegetarians who feel killing animals for any reason is wrong wont be convinced. Back in the tent, Dr Amelia Roberts, a member of Animal Aid and an animal rights advocate, is pushing back on a number of Grays points. Like many, she believes the American grey has been scape-squirreled. She cites evidence that the decline of their red cousins is mostly due to loss of habitat, a problem caused by people. And the fact is all invasive species were brought here by humans, something the rhetoric of the argument tends to obscure. Nonetheless, she says she agrees with 90% of what Gray has been saying, which seems positive.

After a lot of whoops and applause, Gray is relieved the talk has gone down well, like the satay. I am surprised when she announces that the festival should be totally vegan next year Its the most inspiring thing they could do.

She is all for people eating better meat, speaking to livestock farmers and being more conscientious. But she wryly acknowledges the difficulty in being an ethical meat-eater, especially in a market-led society that makes it difficult. You cant poke around peoples houses when you go around for dinner, or ask them to pick the label out of the bin. It is probably easier to just be vegetarian.

Source: http://www.theguardian.com/us

Farmers must stop antibiotics use in animals due to human health risk, warns WHO

Overuse of antibiotics in animals is contributing to growing drug resistance in humans with serious health implications, says global health body

Farmers must be prevented from using powerful antibiotics on animals reared for food, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned, because of the serious risks to human health that result.

New guidelines from the global body suggest farmers should stop using any antibiotics routinely to promote growth and prevent disease in animals that are otherwise healthy, a common practice in some parts of the world, including Asia and the US. Such routine use is banned in Europe, though campaigners fear the rules are sometimes flouted.

Using antimicrobial medicines on farm animals is one of the leading causes of the rise of superbugs, resistant to all but the strongest antibiotics. Medical authorities warn that the antibiotics available to treat even relatively minor human diseases are running out because of the rapid rise of such resistance.

Dame Sally Davies, chief medical officer for England, has warned repeatedly that, a decade from now, even routine, previously low-risk operations, such as hip replacements, may become dangerous because of the risk of infections resistant to medicines.

The WHO reported on Tuesday that in some countries, as much as 80% of antibiotic use is on farm animals. Even in some countries where routine use for enhancing growth is banned, more antibiotics are used on animals than on humans.

The use of the strongest antibiotics, a last resort for the most deadly infections affecting humans, should be banned altogether in animals, the guidelines advise. This should apply, according to the WHO, even in cases where an illness has been diagnosed in a food-producing animal. Implementing this could require animals to be quarantined, allowed to die, or for herds to be culled in order to halt the spread of a serious disease rather than attempting to cure it.

This recommendation is likely to be unpopular with farmers, who could risk financial loss, but is crucial to protect human health, according to the WHO, because the use of such antibiotics in animals is leading to increased resistance even to last-resort medicines, to the despair of doctors.

However, the WHO has no power to enforce its guidelines, which are up to national governments to accept or reject.

The forthright warning comes as new research, published in The Lancet Planetary Health, showed that restricting antibiotic use on farms reduced the antibiotic-resistant bacteria in farm animals by up to 39%. The WHO said it had used the research to inform its new guidelines.

Restricting our remaining effective antibiotics for human use is crucial because of the lack of alternatives available. There are very few promising options in the research pipeline for new antibiotics to replace those that are becoming ineffective because of overuse and resistance, the WHO warned.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the WHO, said: A lack of effective antibiotics is as serious a security threat as a sudden and deadly disease outbreak. Strong, sustained action across all sectors is vital if we are to turn back the tide of antimicrobial resistance and keep the world safe.

Animal herds treated with antibiotics can develop bacteria resistant to the drugs, and pass this on to humans directly, through contact with farm workers, or through food. A Guardian investigation found that the superbug MRSA was found in a significant sample of pork products on the UKs supermarket shelves, risking humans becoming infected with the strain.

Kazuaki Miyagishima, director of food safety at the WHO, said the links between antibiotic use on farms and risks to human health were clear: Scientific evidence demonstrates that overuse of antibiotics in animals can contribute to the emergence of antibiotic resistance. The volume of antibiotics used in animals is continuing to increase worldwide, driven by a growing demand for foods of animal origin, often produced through intensive animal husbandry.

Dr Clare Chandler of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine said: This is a welcome set of recommendations from WHO. It will be a challenge for producers to follow these recommendations to reduce antibiotic use, but possible for larger scale producers with good biosecurity. Many smaller scale farmers around the world are dependent upon antibiotics to supplement animal feed, and actions will be needed to support them to make this change which will affect their lives and livelihoods.

The Guardian, in a joint investigation with the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, also found a rapid increase in the number of megafarms in the UK. Megafarms across the globe are on the rise, and they have been linked with antibiotic resistance, as whole herds of many hundreds of animals are often treated at once.

Source: http://www.theguardian.com/us

A nice bit of squirrel: should we chow down a diet of invasive species?

Last year, the Shambala festival made headlines by going meat-free. This year, it relaxed the rules for a feast of grey squirrel skewers and crayfish. Should the rest of us follow suit?

At Shambala festival, during the hottest bank holiday on record, peace and love is about to turn sour. I am standing next to author Louise Gray, who is here to talk about wild alternatives to mass-produced meat. The cricket brownies are baked; we have been skinning squirrels and marinating them in satay, then decided to unwind by checking out a punk-reggae band in a nearby tent. That is when the singer announces his feelings about her presence there. Last year this festival was 100% meat- and fish-free. Now theyre saying we should eat pests and squirrels, he spits. Its 2017. If youre still eating the dead bodies of animals, you need to check your fucking privilege. The crowd cheers. I am worried we are about to be ethically eaten alive.

In the wake of The Ethical Carnivore, her award-winning account of the year she spent eating roadkill and animals she had killed herself, and investigating abattoirs, Gray received death threats and abuse. Images spring to mind of balaclava-clad activists chucking red paint and righteous invective. If it comes down to it, I am not with you, I tell her, gallantly.

If
If we want to eat meat, the argument to get it from animals such as grey squirrels is persuasive. Photograph: Dan Farrell

The friction is hardly surprising. Shambala is a hippy sort of place, with as many recycling points as there are naked people painted blue, which is a lot. Ravers have to carry their own cups, and food stalls are entirely vegetarian. On the festivals Facebook page, protests over Grays talk quickly escalated into an argument about speciesism, human immigration and genocide. Onstage at the Garden o Feeden the festivals food and debate tent the edginess is palpable.

Lets hear her out and fight afterwards, the host pleads. In a craven attempt to fit in, I am wearing a full-length dress and Carmen Miranda fruit hat; Gray has nowhere to hide.

The debate around eating meat is hard to progress intellectually you either believe on some level that it is a natural part of the cycle of life, or an unnecessary moral wrong. Gray, the daughter of a farmer, is here to argue for an ecological, flexitarian position between the two.

Our current production model is energy-intensive, wasteful, cruel and unsustainable. We should be eating far less meat, and thinking more about it. Her book describes the year she spent eating only animals she had killed herself a common, if hypothetical, answer to the abstraction and scale of the mostly invisible meat industry. She cried after killing the first rabbit, and talks about her ambivalence at stalking and shooting a red stag. The responsibility of taking an animals life bears an emotional cost, she tells the crowd. Its pretty intense. It is also not something one can practically do in a city (unless you maybe fancy the urban equivalent of turducken, eating a fox that recently swallowed a pigeon, which last dined on KFC).

Yet there is a lesser explored alternative to factory meat, besides insects, roadkill or hunting your own: a diet of invasive species. I know whats coming: backstage I watched Gray skinning a bag of grey squirrels, carefully stripping pelts from flesh, cleaning out shot and slicing meat from bone. Several vegan chefs walked past, all of them fascinated, though one declared: Bit Hunger Games, innit? Or Winters Bone. Something with Jennifer Lawrence. Christ, I wish I hadnt seen that. She means the flayed legs of the skinned critter in front of her, rather than the film.

Out front, Grays cousin has been standing sidestage to provide security/hand out brownies. She presents us with a plate of grilled sticky squirrel skewers, which are passed around. I try one, then a few. Surprisingly, many others in the crowd do the same. The plates disappear. The flavour is potently gamey, not a bad accompaniment to the zesty lime and creamy satay. I have certainly eaten worse on a cheap pizza. The hair that sticks to my teeth is off-putting, though.

These squirrels are from Dumfries and Galloway, home to one of the few surviving red squirrel populations in the country, maintained by controlling greys. If we want to eat meat, the argument to get it from animals such as grey squirrels is persuasive. They are wild, organic and definitely free range. As with insects, the ick factor might just be something we have to get past.

This is the part of the message Crayfish Bob Ring has been trying to get out. A grizzled trapper of 15 years experience, I met him earlier at a picnic table outside the tent, smoking a roll-up pensively and squinting like Captain Quint. His passion is removing American crayfish from British waters and selling them at his restaurant pop-ups. The lobster-like signal crayfish were introduced in the 1970s to be a lucrative export to the Scandinavian market (which was soon dominated by cheaper imports of Chinese crayfish). The collapse of the scheme saw them escaping the fisheries, passing a deadly plague on to smaller, native white-clawed crayfish and destroying their numbers. The voracious predators eat fish and amphibian eggs, out-compete other species for habitat and burrow into river banks, causing their erosion and collapse. Crayfish Bob describes how they travel the country using the waterways, by hanging on to barges. I feel very conscious Im wearing a tutu.

Ive gone into this business with the objective of going bust due to lack of stock, he says vehemently. I would get so much satisfaction from getting rid of them. Neither Gray nor Crayfish Bob think eating grey squirrels or signal crayfish would make a dent in their numbers the species are here to stay, and their realistic concern is to level the ecological balance. The EU list 37 alien invasive species, including muntjack deer, Ruddy duck and Siberian chipmunk. Legally, the crayfish have to be controlled anyway, Ring reminds me, so are not being bred or killed primarily to be eaten. After he realised the scale of the problem, he founded the National Institute of Crayfish Trappers, and became Crayfish Bob, selling gumbos and crawfish boil. Ive had vegetarians come up to me and say: What you are doing challenges all the reasons I became vegetarian. They see it as a way they can eat some fish.

In
In a craven attempt to fit in, I am wearing a full-length dress and Carmen Miranda fruit hat; Gray has nowhere to hide. Photograph: Dan Farrell

Of course, vegetarians who feel killing animals for any reason is wrong wont be convinced. Back in the tent, Dr Amelia Roberts, a member of Animal Aid and an animal rights advocate, is pushing back on a number of Grays points. Like many, she believes the American grey has been scape-squirreled. She cites evidence that the decline of their red cousins is mostly due to loss of habitat, a problem caused by people. And the fact is all invasive species were brought here by humans, something the rhetoric of the argument tends to obscure. Nonetheless, she says she agrees with 90% of what Gray has been saying, which seems positive.

After a lot of whoops and applause, Gray is relieved the talk has gone down well, like the satay. I am surprised when she announces that the festival should be totally vegan next year Its the most inspiring thing they could do.

She is all for people eating better meat, speaking to livestock farmers and being more conscientious. But she wryly acknowledges the difficulty in being an ethical meat-eater, especially in a market-led society that makes it difficult. You cant poke around peoples houses when you go around for dinner, or ask them to pick the label out of the bin. It is probably easier to just be vegetarian.

Source: http://www.theguardian.com/us

Offended by Koreans eating dog? I trust youve never had a bacon butty | Chas Newkey-Burden

Frightened animals being caged, killed and turned into food wed never dream of such evils in the western world, writes journalist and author Chas Newkey-Burden

Offended by Koreans eating dog? I trust youve never had a bacon butty

Frightened animals being caged, killed and turned into food wed never dream of such evils in the west would we?

Source: http://www.theguardian.com/us

7 kinds of animals that you can eat with no factory farm involved

So you want to eat meat, eh? There’s a dilemma.

Ever since the release of Michael Pollan’s seminal book, “The Omnivore’s Dilemma,” more people all over the world have been trying to decide if their lives could use more locally harvested food including meat.

The existing meat production pipeline is flawed. Pollan and many others like Eric Schlosser (of “Fast Food Nation” fame) and the documentary “Samsara” have showed us just how bad it really is. Some folks go vegan or vegetarian, but others have tried to figure out ways to get locally raised animals.

Image of Michael Pollan by Sage Ross/Wikimedia.

Were the walls of our meat industry to become transparent, literally or even figuratively, we would not long continue to raise, kill, and eat animals the way we do.”
Michael Pollan, “The Omnivore’s Dilemma”

Can you eat meat ethically?

What is there to do if you would prefer meat to be a source of protein in your diet but want to have it in an ethical and eco-friendly way?

The answer might be in your backyard. Literally.

If you live in an area that has access to wild game, you may want to consider hunting. Seriously! Many people have turned to personally hunting their meat, and the vast majority of those who are passionate about it harvest game in ways that are safe, clean, and quick.

Ask yourself: Is that more or less ethical than, for example, a cow grown while standing on piles of manure, force-fed antibiotics, and unable to turn around or even move? Or a chicken with its beak cut off, unable to move in its cage or do anything except eat and well, you know. How about what happens when animals reach the “killing floor” where they’re executed en masse and “disassembled” before they make it to the local “Mall*Wart” in your city?

If you do it yourself, it can get you closer to your food supply and in touch with its life cycle.

Even though I’ve hunted since I was a kid, “Omnivore’s Dilemma” got me even more interested in putting wild game into my freezer and onto our table. Knowing a lot more about your food sources is key to understanding why it matters so much to your health and happiness. And, prepared right, wild game is absolutely delicious.

Also, I still thank every animal I take for giving food and sustenance to my family.

Replacing things like factory-farmed cows and chickens with wild game is possible.

You can also look into organic/grass-fed animals on local farms, but that can get pricey. We’ve done it to the tune of $900 for a half cow, and you must have a deep freeze on hand to store it.

But small-game hunting can be cost-effective and good exercise, and it’s not a big lift when it comes to cleaning and cooking.

Some people use a bow and arrow, a small-caliber rifle like a .22, or even a simple single-shot shotgun available for $100. For that matter, there are many people who like to hunt with birds of prey trained
falcons, hawks, and more.

Whatever method you use, once you’ve got your license, it’s time to get out there!

What are some good options to hunt?

Let’s go through some varieties of game that can usually be found in open areas around the United States.

1. Rabbits

Cottontails, hares, and jackrabbits all provide a great meal when you harvest them humanely and ethically. Rabbit season starts in September or October in most parts of the country. The taste? A lot like chicken, but a little stronger flavor. You can really make it tasty with a good ol’ hasenpfeffer recipe (or as Bugs Bunny would call it … rabbit stew).

Thumper … I mean, the cottontail rabbit. Image by Jon Sullivan/Wikimedia.

2. Squirrels

Bushy tail (fox) squirrels, chipmunks, woodchucks, and prairie dogs are all in the same scientific family. As opposed to hoofing it through the woods and grasslands for rabbits, squirrel hunting is more for people who like to sit for a while. The taste is also kinda like chicken, but a lot greasier. Think dark meat.

The common fox squirrel. Photo by Brandon Weber/Upworthy.

3. Upland birds

Pheasant, quail, grouse, Hungarian partridge, and other species are actively eating and preparing for the winter months late in the year, starting around September. Definitely a way to burn some calories because hunting them requires hikes through woods, grasslands, and farm fields, where you can see them flush, often with a great flourish of color.

As you might have guessed, the taste is very much like chicken!

The ring-necked pheasant. Image by USFWS Mountain-Prairie/Flickr.

Bonus: Here’s a pheasant recipe I created years ago, but it’ll work with pretty much any small game.

4. Waterfowl

Waterfowl include geese, ducks, and other birds that stay close to water. At 12 to 15 pounds per bird for an adult goose, they can easily feed a family. It’s very much a dark meat; in fact, goose breasts look as dark as steaks before and after you cook them. The taste is very much like duck, rather than turkey. All are fabulous, on the grill or slow-cooked in the oven or pressure cooker.

“Honkers,” as they’re sometimes called. If you’ve ever been close to a flock, you know why. Image by Alan Wilson/Wikipedia.

5. Deer, elk, and other cervids

This is definitely deep-end-of-the-pool hunting not small game. And it takes a deeper relationship with the local population to really make it ethical.

“The Three Kings.” Image by Brandon Weber/Upworthy.

A word on “trophy” animals (i.e., those with a lot of antlers) versus those intended for food and culinary delights: Though the picture I took here is of bucks, I take the female variety (“does”) too. There’s a reason why.

If the herd gets out of balance from too many does, then bucks can die from food scarcity in the winter months. Read: They starve.

I’ve been regaled with many a tale of winters being so harsh in parts of the country that deer eat tree bark and pine needles to survive. That’s not good, and they suffer, so it’s far better to harvest enough of them each year so that the herd is strong.

“Hiya, human!” Photo of bull elk in Rocky Mountain National Park by Brandon Weber/Upworthy.

In the mountain states, elk and other cervids (ruminant mammals that are members of the Cervidae family) are also frequently harvested. These will supply hundreds of pounds of venison at a time.

I’m a bow hunter myself, and it takes tons of patience, practice, skill, and the ability to sit quietly for hours on end. My 7-year-old wants to go deer hunting in a few years, but I’ve already warned him that he cannot talk for hours at a time a feat I do not think it’s humanly possible for him to accomplish.

The taste is like beef, with much less fat. Cooking venison is a skill unto itself, and you frequently will have to cut the cooking time in half versus beef, or it will be very dry. They’re much like grass-fed beef in that regard. The varying types of cervids produce subtle taste differences. I am fond of whitetail deer and elk, but some folks love caribou and antelope, too.

Bonus: If you want to go full-on mountain person, you can learn how to make a coat or blanket from the hides, as well as other fancy things from other parts. Double bonus: If you have dogs, venison bones are great for them to chew on. (Just be sure to do it safely!)

6. Wild turkey

No, not THAT Wild Turkey

This is another “sit and wait” creature to hunt, and they have extremely acute eyesight and hearing, so they’re not easy. But taste one even if you’ve had “free-range” turkey before and you might just be hooked.

“Hi Tom. Have you met … Tom?” Photo by Brandon Weber/Upworthy.

7. Wild boar/pig

I’ve not yet had the experience of hunting these, but (SPOILER ALERT!) it is the critter that Pollan ends up harvesting at the end of “The Omnivore’s Dilemma,” along with local mushrooms and vegetables. In some parts of the country especially the South they are frequently harvested year-round. The taste is definitely pork, with older animals having a “musky” flavor.

“Oink? Not quite, Bub.” Image of wild boars near Kennedy Space Center by NASA/Wikimedia.

Bonus!

For the pescatarians out there, catching and cooking your own fish can be magical. You only need access to waterways, ponds, or lakes, and a simple cane pole with a hook and night crawler will do. The kids will love it, and cooking fresh catfish or trout over a campfire is a great experience.

The species “Cerveza Metallica,” with the author’s buddy Dave. Photo by Brandon Weber/Upworthy.

There are, of course, tons of other critters in pockets of the country that can also be harvested as well, like alligators, goats, crabs, lobsters, bears, and more.

Hey, it beats store-bought, right? Check with local ethical hunters to see what might be available to you!

What if the whole idea of hunting game yourself is still not for you? That’s fair.

Here’s an idea: Why not trade with someone for locally sourced meat?

If you don’t want to go through with hunting and taking your own animals, you could arrange a trade with someone you know. “Hey, Jane, I’ll prepare the bread from locally raised grain and roast some locally-grown vegetables if you can harvest the venison steaks. Deal?”

Or even get together with friends and family who hunt and make it a feast!

Bon apptit!

Also, for a little taste of what “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” is all about, check this video out:

Source: http://www.upworthy.com/

Farmers must stop antibiotics use in animals due to human health risk, warns WHO

Overuse of antibiotics in animals is contributing to growing drug resistance in humans with serious health implications, says global health body

Farmers must be prevented from using powerful antibiotics on animals reared for food, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned, because of the serious risks to human health that result.

New guidelines from the global body suggest farmers should stop using any antibiotics routinely to promote growth and prevent disease in animals that are otherwise healthy, a common practice in some parts of the world, including Asia and the US. Such routine use is banned in Europe, though campaigners fear the rules are sometimes flouted.

Using antimicrobial medicines on farm animals is one of the leading causes of the rise of superbugs, resistant to all but the strongest antibiotics. Medical authorities warn that the antibiotics available to treat even relatively minor human diseases are running out because of the rapid rise of such resistance.

Dame Sally Davies, chief medical officer for England, has warned repeatedly that, a decade from now, even routine, previously low-risk operations, such as hip replacements, may become dangerous because of the risk of infections resistant to medicines.

The WHO reported on Tuesday that in some countries, as much as 80% of antibiotic use is on farm animals. Even in some countries where routine use for enhancing growth is banned, more antibiotics are used on animals than on humans.

The use of the strongest antibiotics, a last resort for the most deadly infections affecting humans, should be banned altogether in animals, the guidelines advise. This should apply, according to the WHO, even in cases where an illness has been diagnosed in a food-producing animal. Implementing this could require animals to be quarantined, allowed to die, or for herds to be culled in order to halt the spread of a serious disease rather than attempting to cure it.

This recommendation is likely to be unpopular with farmers, who could risk financial loss, but is crucial to protect human health, according to the WHO, because the use of such antibiotics in animals is leading to increased resistance even to last-resort medicines, to the despair of doctors.

However, the WHO has no power to enforce its guidelines, which are up to national governments to accept or reject.

The forthright warning comes as new research, published in The Lancet Planetary Health, showed that restricting antibiotic use on farms reduced the antibiotic-resistant bacteria in farm animals by up to 39%. The WHO said it had used the research to inform its new guidelines.

Restricting our remaining effective antibiotics for human use is crucial because of the lack of alternatives available. There are very few promising options in the research pipeline for new antibiotics to replace those that are becoming ineffective because of overuse and resistance, the WHO warned.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the WHO, said: A lack of effective antibiotics is as serious a security threat as a sudden and deadly disease outbreak. Strong, sustained action across all sectors is vital if we are to turn back the tide of antimicrobial resistance and keep the world safe.

Animal herds treated with antibiotics can develop bacteria resistant to the drugs, and pass this on to humans directly, through contact with farm workers, or through food. A Guardian investigation found that the superbug MRSA was found in a significant sample of pork products on the UKs supermarket shelves, risking humans becoming infected with the strain.

Kazuaki Miyagishima, director of food safety at the WHO, said the links between antibiotic use on farms and risks to human health were clear: Scientific evidence demonstrates that overuse of antibiotics in animals can contribute to the emergence of antibiotic resistance. The volume of antibiotics used in animals is continuing to increase worldwide, driven by a growing demand for foods of animal origin, often produced through intensive animal husbandry.

Dr Clare Chandler of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine said: This is a welcome set of recommendations from WHO. It will be a challenge for producers to follow these recommendations to reduce antibiotic use, but possible for larger scale producers with good biosecurity. Many smaller scale farmers around the world are dependent upon antibiotics to supplement animal feed, and actions will be needed to support them to make this change which will affect their lives and livelihoods.

The Guardian, in a joint investigation with the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, also found a rapid increase in the number of megafarms in the UK. Megafarms across the globe are on the rise, and they have been linked with antibiotic resistance, as whole herds of many hundreds of animals are often treated at once.

Source: http://www.theguardian.com/us

A nice bit of squirrel: should we chow down a diet of invasive species?

Last year, the Shambala festival made headlines by going meat-free. This year, it relaxed the rules for a feast of grey squirrel skewers and crayfish. Should the rest of us follow suit?

At Shambala festival, during the hottest bank holiday on record, peace and love is about to turn sour. I am standing next to author Louise Gray, who is here to talk about wild alternatives to mass-produced meat. The cricket brownies are baked; we have been skinning squirrels and marinating them in satay, then decided to unwind by checking out a punk-reggae band in a nearby tent. That is when the singer announces his feelings about her presence there. Last year this festival was 100% meat- and fish-free. Now theyre saying we should eat pests and squirrels, he spits. Its 2017. If youre still eating the dead bodies of animals, you need to check your fucking privilege. The crowd cheers. I am worried we are about to be ethically eaten alive.

In the wake of The Ethical Carnivore, her award-winning account of the year she spent eating roadkill and animals she had killed herself, and investigating abattoirs, Gray received death threats and abuse. Images spring to mind of balaclava-clad activists chucking red paint and righteous invective. If it comes down to it, I am not with you, I tell her, gallantly.

If
If we want to eat meat, the argument to get it from animals such as grey squirrels is persuasive. Photograph: Dan Farrell

The friction is hardly surprising. Shambala is a hippy sort of place, with as many recycling points as there are naked people painted blue, which is a lot. Ravers have to carry their own cups, and food stalls are entirely vegetarian. On the festivals Facebook page, protests over Grays talk quickly escalated into an argument about speciesism, human immigration and genocide. Onstage at the Garden o Feeden the festivals food and debate tent the edginess is palpable.

Lets hear her out and fight afterwards, the host pleads. In a craven attempt to fit in, I am wearing a full-length dress and Carmen Miranda fruit hat; Gray has nowhere to hide.

The debate around eating meat is hard to progress intellectually you either believe on some level that it is a natural part of the cycle of life, or an unnecessary moral wrong. Gray, the daughter of a farmer, is here to argue for an ecological, flexitarian position between the two.

Our current production model is energy-intensive, wasteful, cruel and unsustainable. We should be eating far less meat, and thinking more about it. Her book describes the year she spent eating only animals she had killed herself a common, if hypothetical, answer to the abstraction and scale of the mostly invisible meat industry. She cried after killing the first rabbit, and talks about her ambivalence at stalking and shooting a red stag. The responsibility of taking an animals life bears an emotional cost, she tells the crowd. Its pretty intense. It is also not something one can practically do in a city (unless you maybe fancy the urban equivalent of turducken, eating a fox that recently swallowed a pigeon, which last dined on KFC).

Yet there is a lesser explored alternative to factory meat, besides insects, roadkill or hunting your own: a diet of invasive species. I know whats coming: backstage I watched Gray skinning a bag of grey squirrels, carefully stripping pelts from flesh, cleaning out shot and slicing meat from bone. Several vegan chefs walked past, all of them fascinated, though one declared: Bit Hunger Games, innit? Or Winters Bone. Something with Jennifer Lawrence. Christ, I wish I hadnt seen that. She means the flayed legs of the skinned critter in front of her, rather than the film.

Out front, Grays cousin has been standing sidestage to provide security/hand out brownies. She presents us with a plate of grilled sticky squirrel skewers, which are passed around. I try one, then a few. Surprisingly, many others in the crowd do the same. The plates disappear. The flavour is potently gamey, not a bad accompaniment to the zesty lime and creamy satay. I have certainly eaten worse on a cheap pizza. The hair that sticks to my teeth is off-putting, though.

These squirrels are from Dumfries and Galloway, home to one of the few surviving red squirrel populations in the country, maintained by controlling greys. If we want to eat meat, the argument to get it from animals such as grey squirrels is persuasive. They are wild, organic and definitely free range. As with insects, the ick factor might just be something we have to get past.

This is the part of the message Crayfish Bob Ring has been trying to get out. A grizzled trapper of 15 years experience, I met him earlier at a picnic table outside the tent, smoking a roll-up pensively and squinting like Captain Quint. His passion is removing American crayfish from British waters and selling them at his restaurant pop-ups. The lobster-like signal crayfish were introduced in the 1970s to be a lucrative export to the Scandinavian market (which was soon dominated by cheaper imports of Chinese crayfish). The collapse of the scheme saw them escaping the fisheries, passing a deadly plague on to smaller, native white-clawed crayfish and destroying their numbers. The voracious predators eat fish and amphibian eggs, out-compete other species for habitat and burrow into river banks, causing their erosion and collapse. Crayfish Bob describes how they travel the country using the waterways, by hanging on to barges. I feel very conscious Im wearing a tutu.

Ive gone into this business with the objective of going bust due to lack of stock, he says vehemently. I would get so much satisfaction from getting rid of them. Neither Gray nor Crayfish Bob think eating grey squirrels or signal crayfish would make a dent in their numbers the species are here to stay, and their realistic concern is to level the ecological balance. The EU list 37 alien invasive species, including muntjack deer, Ruddy duck and Siberian chipmunk. Legally, the crayfish have to be controlled anyway, Ring reminds me, so are not being bred or killed primarily to be eaten. After he realised the scale of the problem, he founded the National Institute of Crayfish Trappers, and became Crayfish Bob, selling gumbos and crawfish boil. Ive had vegetarians come up to me and say: What you are doing challenges all the reasons I became vegetarian. They see it as a way they can eat some fish.

In
In a craven attempt to fit in, I am wearing a full-length dress and Carmen Miranda fruit hat; Gray has nowhere to hide. Photograph: Dan Farrell

Of course, vegetarians who feel killing animals for any reason is wrong wont be convinced. Back in the tent, Dr Amelia Roberts, a member of Animal Aid and an animal rights advocate, is pushing back on a number of Grays points. Like many, she believes the American grey has been scape-squirreled. She cites evidence that the decline of their red cousins is mostly due to loss of habitat, a problem caused by people. And the fact is all invasive species were brought here by humans, something the rhetoric of the argument tends to obscure. Nonetheless, she says she agrees with 90% of what Gray has been saying, which seems positive.

After a lot of whoops and applause, Gray is relieved the talk has gone down well, like the satay. I am surprised when she announces that the festival should be totally vegan next year Its the most inspiring thing they could do.

She is all for people eating better meat, speaking to livestock farmers and being more conscientious. But she wryly acknowledges the difficulty in being an ethical meat-eater, especially in a market-led society that makes it difficult. You cant poke around peoples houses when you go around for dinner, or ask them to pick the label out of the bin. It is probably easier to just be vegetarian.

Source: http://www.theguardian.com/us

Very Ethical: This Slaughterhouse Lets The Animals Get A Few Shots In Before They Kill Them

Whether or not you eat meat, one thing everyone can agree on is that when animals are slaughtered for food, it should be done in an ethical manner that minimizes suffering and preserves the creatures dignity. Thats why one Nebraska-based farming company is introducing a humane new approach to slaughtering animals that could change the industry forever: letting the cows get in a few shots before they kill them.

Yup. Fairview Farms Inc., an Omaha slaughterhouse that raises and processes hundreds of cattle a year, is earning the praise of animal rights organizations and the meat industry alike for its unique new approach to ethical killing. Shortly before a cow is slaughtered, the animal is brought into a small outdoor pen where a Fairview employee in a padded protective bodysuit is waiting. There, the animal is permitted to kick or headbutt the employee as much as it pleases during a two-minute window. If the cow doesnt immediately seem interested in doling out punishment to its human handler, its encouraged to do so through a couple whacks to the ribs with a Wiffle ball bat, or, if that fails, a firm pinch on the tail with a pair of pliers.

After the cow has knocked around its handler for a while, the employee lies down on the ground in faux defeat, and enthusiastic mooing sounds play over a loudspeaker to give the animal the illusion that its being cheered on by its bovine peers. Then, the cowstill blissful from having battered a humanis led into a metal squeeze chute where a heavy steel bolt is driven into its brain with a powerful blast of compressed air, killing the animal instantly and painlessly.

It slows down our facilitys output a bit, but we just want to make sure the cows get to have a little fun before they die, says Fairview Farms CEO Ben Jacobson about the humane new slaughtering practice. When theyre kicking you around, theyre like little kids on Christmas. And we think thats the least we can do for them to make their final moments special.

Wow! Even if you dont eat meat, youve got to admit that this is a pretty awesome and thoughtful way to show these animals respect before theyre slaughtered. Truly, theyre going out on a high note!

Source: http://www.clickhole.com/features/news/

7 kinds of animals that you can eat with no factory farm involved

So you want to eat meat, eh? There’s a dilemma.

Ever since the release of Michael Pollan’s seminal book, “The Omnivore’s Dilemma,” more people all over the world have been trying to decide if their lives could use more locally harvested food including meat.

The existing meat production pipeline is flawed. Pollan and many others like Eric Schlosser (of “Fast Food Nation” fame) and the documentary “Samsara” have showed us just how bad it really is. Some folks go vegan or vegetarian, but others have tried to figure out ways to get locally raised animals.

Image of Michael Pollan by Sage Ross/Wikimedia.

Were the walls of our meat industry to become transparent, literally or even figuratively, we would not long continue to raise, kill, and eat animals the way we do.”
Michael Pollan, “The Omnivore’s Dilemma”

Can you eat meat ethically?

What is there to do if you would prefer meat to be a source of protein in your diet but want to have it in an ethical and eco-friendly way?

The answer might be in your backyard. Literally.

If you live in an area that has access to wild game, you may want to consider hunting. Seriously! Many people have turned to personally hunting their meat, and the vast majority of those who are passionate about it harvest game in ways that are safe, clean, and quick.

Ask yourself: Is that more or less ethical than, for example, a cow grown while standing on piles of manure, force-fed antibiotics, and unable to turn around or even move? Or a chicken with its beak cut off, unable to move in its cage or do anything except eat and well, you know. How about what happens when animals reach the “killing floor” where they’re executed en masse and “disassembled” before they make it to the local “Mall*Wart” in your city?

If you do it yourself, it can get you closer to your food supply and in touch with its life cycle.

Even though I’ve hunted since I was a kid, “Omnivore’s Dilemma” got me even more interested in putting wild game into my freezer and onto our table. Knowing a lot more about your food sources is key to understanding why it matters so much to your health and happiness. And, prepared right, wild game is absolutely delicious.

Also, I still thank every animal I take for giving food and sustenance to my family.

Replacing things like factory-farmed cows and chickens with wild game is possible.

You can also look into organic/grass-fed animals on local farms, but that can get pricey. We’ve done it to the tune of $900 for a half cow, and you must have a deep freeze on hand to store it.

But small-game hunting can be cost-effective and good exercise, and it’s not a big lift when it comes to cleaning and cooking.

Some people use a bow and arrow, a small-caliber rifle like a .22, or even a simple single-shot shotgun available for $100. For that matter, there are many people who like to hunt with birds of prey trained
falcons, hawks, and more.

Whatever method you use, once you’ve got your license, it’s time to get out there!

What are some good options to hunt?

Let’s go through some varieties of game that can usually be found in open areas around the United States.

1. Rabbits

Cottontails, hares, and jackrabbits all provide a great meal when you harvest them humanely and ethically. Rabbit season starts in September or October in most parts of the country. The taste? A lot like chicken, but a little stronger flavor. You can really make it tasty with a good ol’ hasenpfeffer recipe (or as Bugs Bunny would call it … rabbit stew).

Thumper … I mean, the cottontail rabbit. Image by Jon Sullivan/Wikimedia.

2. Squirrels

Bushy tail (fox) squirrels, chipmunks, woodchucks, and prairie dogs are all in the same scientific family. As opposed to hoofing it through the woods and grasslands for rabbits, squirrel hunting is more for people who like to sit for a while. The taste is also kinda like chicken, but a lot greasier. Think dark meat.

The common fox squirrel. Photo by Brandon Weber/Upworthy.

3. Upland birds

Pheasant, quail, grouse, Hungarian partridge, and other species are actively eating and preparing for the winter months late in the year, starting around September. Definitely a way to burn some calories because hunting them requires hikes through woods, grasslands, and farm fields, where you can see them flush, often with a great flourish of color.

As you might have guessed, the taste is very much like chicken!

The ring-necked pheasant. Image by USFWS Mountain-Prairie/Flickr.

Bonus: Here’s a pheasant recipe I created years ago, but it’ll work with pretty much any small game.

4. Waterfowl

Waterfowl include geese, ducks, and other birds that stay close to water. At 12 to 15 pounds per bird for an adult goose, they can easily feed a family. It’s very much a dark meat; in fact, goose breasts look as dark as steaks before and after you cook them. The taste is very much like duck, rather than turkey. All are fabulous, on the grill or slow-cooked in the oven or pressure cooker.

“Honkers,” as they’re sometimes called. If you’ve ever been close to a flock, you know why. Image by Alan Wilson/Wikipedia.

5. Deer, elk, and other cervids

This is definitely deep-end-of-the-pool hunting not small game. And it takes a deeper relationship with the local population to really make it ethical.

“The Three Kings.” Image by Brandon Weber/Upworthy.

A word on “trophy” animals (i.e., those with a lot of antlers) versus those intended for food and culinary delights: Though the picture I took here is of bucks, I take the female variety (“does”) too. There’s a reason why.

If the herd gets out of balance from too many does, then bucks can die from food scarcity in the winter months. Read: They starve.

I’ve been regaled with many a tale of winters being so harsh in parts of the country that deer eat tree bark and pine needles to survive. That’s not good, and they suffer, so it’s far better to harvest enough of them each year so that the herd is strong.

“Hiya, human!” Photo of bull elk in Rocky Mountain National Park by Brandon Weber/Upworthy.

In the mountain states, elk and other cervids (ruminant mammals that are members of the Cervidae family) are also frequently harvested. These will supply hundreds of pounds of venison at a time.

I’m a bow hunter myself, and it takes tons of patience, practice, skill, and the ability to sit quietly for hours on end. My 7-year-old wants to go deer hunting in a few years, but I’ve already warned him that he cannot talk for hours at a time a feat I do not think it’s humanly possible for him to accomplish.

The taste is like beef, with much less fat. Cooking venison is a skill unto itself, and you frequently will have to cut the cooking time in half versus beef, or it will be very dry. They’re much like grass-fed beef in that regard. The varying types of cervids produce subtle taste differences. I am fond of whitetail deer and elk, but some folks love caribou and antelope, too.

Bonus: If you want to go full-on mountain person, you can learn how to make a coat or blanket from the hides, as well as other fancy things from other parts. Double bonus: If you have dogs, venison bones are great for them to chew on. (Just be sure to do it safely!)

6. Wild turkey

No, not THAT Wild Turkey

This is another “sit and wait” creature to hunt, and they have extremely acute eyesight and hearing, so they’re not easy. But taste one even if you’ve had “free-range” turkey before and you might just be hooked.

“Hi Tom. Have you met … Tom?” Photo by Brandon Weber/Upworthy.

7. Wild boar/pig

I’ve not yet had the experience of hunting these, but (SPOILER ALERT!) it is the critter that Pollan ends up harvesting at the end of “The Omnivore’s Dilemma,” along with local mushrooms and vegetables. In some parts of the country especially the South they are frequently harvested year-round. The taste is definitely pork, with older animals having a “musky” flavor.

“Oink? Not quite, Bub.” Image of wild boars near Kennedy Space Center by NASA/Wikimedia.

Bonus!

For the pescatarians out there, catching and cooking your own fish can be magical. You only need access to waterways, ponds, or lakes, and a simple cane pole with a hook and night crawler will do. The kids will love it, and cooking fresh catfish or trout over a campfire is a great experience.

The species “Cerveza Metallica,” with the author’s buddy Dave. Photo by Brandon Weber/Upworthy.

There are, of course, tons of other critters in pockets of the country that can also be harvested as well, like alligators, goats, crabs, lobsters, bears, and more.

Hey, it beats store-bought, right? Check with local ethical hunters to see what might be available to you!

What if the whole idea of hunting game yourself is still not for you? That’s fair.

Here’s an idea: Why not trade with someone for locally sourced meat?

If you don’t want to go through with hunting and taking your own animals, you could arrange a trade with someone you know. “Hey, Jane, I’ll prepare the bread from locally raised grain and roast some locally-grown vegetables if you can harvest the venison steaks. Deal?”

Or even get together with friends and family who hunt and make it a feast!

Bon apptit!

Also, for a little taste of what “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” is all about, check this video out:

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/7-kinds-of-animals-that-you-can-eat-with-no-factory-farm-involved?c=

Very Ethical: This Slaughterhouse Lets The Animals Get A Few Shots In Before They Kill Them

Whether or not you eat meat, one thing everyone can agree on is that when animals are slaughtered for food, it should be done in an ethical manner that minimizes suffering and preserves the creatures dignity. Thats why one Nebraska-based farming company is introducing a humane new approach to slaughtering animals that could change the industry forever: letting the cows get in a few shots before they kill them.

Yup. Fairview Farms Inc., an Omaha slaughterhouse that raises and processes hundreds of cattle a year, is earning the praise of animal rights organizations and the meat industry alike for its unique new approach to ethical killing. Shortly before a cow is slaughtered, the animal is brought into a small outdoor pen where a Fairview employee in a padded protective bodysuit is waiting. There, the animal is permitted to kick or headbutt the employee as much as it pleases during a two-minute window. If the cow doesnt immediately seem interested in doling out punishment to its human handler, its encouraged to do so through a couple whacks to the ribs with a Wiffle ball bat, or, if that fails, a firm pinch on the tail with a pair of pliers.

After the cow has knocked around its handler for a while, the employee lies down on the ground in faux defeat, and enthusiastic mooing sounds play over a loudspeaker to give the animal the illusion that its being cheered on by its bovine peers. Then, the cowstill blissful from having battered a humanis led into a metal squeeze chute where a heavy steel bolt is driven into its brain with a powerful blast of compressed air, killing the animal instantly and painlessly.

It slows down our facilitys output a bit, but we just want to make sure the cows get to have a little fun before they die, says Fairview Farms CEO Ben Jacobson about the humane new slaughtering practice. When theyre kicking you around, theyre like little kids on Christmas. And we think thats the least we can do for them to make their final moments special.

Wow! Even if you dont eat meat, youve got to admit that this is a pretty awesome and thoughtful way to show these animals respect before theyre slaughtered. Truly, theyre going out on a high note!

Read more: http://www.clickhole.com/article/very-ethical-slaughterhouse-lets-animals-get-few-s-3445

190,000 ducks destroyed at six Dutch farms after bird flu outbreak

Officials check for avian flu at farms surrounding original site as outbreaks of disease reported in Denmark, Finland, Germany and Sweden

Some 190,000 ducks were destroyed on Saturday at six farms in the Netherlands following an avian flu outbreak, the countrys first cull in response to an epidemic sweeping northern Europe.

Outbreaks of avian flu, primarily the highly pathogenic H5N8 strain, have been reported in Denmark, Finland, Germany and Sweden over the past week.

Dutch authorities did not say what strain of the virus had been discovered at a poultry farm in the village of Biddinghuizen, 70km (43 miles) east of Amsterdam.

The cull was implemented at four other sites owned by the same company and at a sixth farm less than a kilometre from the site of the confirmed outbreak.

Officials said they were checking for bird flu at farms within three kilometres of the original site and imposed a ban on transporting poultry products within a 10km radius.

The worlds second largest agricultural exporter, the Netherlands has more than 100 million hens, pigs, cows and sheep on high-intensity farms. The density makes the animals more vulnerable to disease outbreaks.

Since 1997, 40 million hens, cows, goats, pigs and sheep have been slaughtered to contain outbreaks including swine flu, foot-and-mouth disease and BSE.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/nov/26/190000-ducks-destroyed-at-six-dutch-farms-after-bird-flu-outbreak

World on track to lose two-thirds of wild animals by 2020, major report warns

Living Planet Index shows vertebrate populations are set to decline by 67% on 1970 levels unless urgent action is taken to reduce humanitys impact

The number of wild animals living on Earth is set to fall by two-thirds by 2020, according to a new report, part of a mass extinction that is destroying the natural world upon which humanity depends.

The analysis, the most comprehensive to date, indicates that animal populations plummeted by 58% between 1970 and 2012, with losses on track to reach 67% by 2020. Researchers from WWF and the Zoological Society of London compiled the report from scientific data and found that the destruction of wild habitats, hunting and pollution were to blame.

The creatures being lost range from mountains to forests to rivers and the seas and include well-known endangered species such as elephants and gorillas and lesser known creatures such as vultures and salamanders.

The collapse of wildlife is, with climate change, the most striking sign of the Anthropocene, a proposed new geological era in which humans dominate the planet. We are no longer a small world on a big planet. We are now a big world on a small planet, where we have reached a saturation point, said Prof Johan Rockstrm, executive director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre, in a foreword for the report.

Marco Lambertini, director general of WWF, said: The richness and diversity of life on Earth is fundamental to the complex life systems that underpin it. Life supports life itself and we are part of the same equation. Lose biodiversity and the natural world and the life support systems, as we know them today, will collapse.

He said humanity was completely dependent on nature for clean air and water, food and materials, as well as inspiration and happiness.

The report analysed the changing abundance of more than 14,000 monitored populations of the 3,700 vertebrate species for which good data is available. This produced a measure akin to a stock market index that indicates the state of the worlds 64,000 animal species and is used by scientists to measure the progress of conservation efforts.

The biggest cause of tumbling animal numbers is the destruction of wild areas for farming and logging: the majority of the Earths land area has now been impacted by humans, with just 15% protected for nature. Poaching and exploitation for food is another major factor, due to unsustainable fishing and hunting: more than 300 mammal species are being eaten into extinction, according to recent research.

Pollution is also a significant problem with, for example, killer whales and dolphins in European seas being seriously harmed by long-lived industrial pollutants. Vultures in south-east Asia have been decimated over the last 20 years, dying after eating the carcasses of cattle dosed with an anti-inflammatory drug. Amphibians have suffered one of the greatest declines of all animals due to a fungal disease thought to be spread around the world by the trade in frogs and newts.

Rivers and lakes are the hardest hit habitats, with animals populations down by 81% since 1970, due to excessive water extraction, pollution and dams. All the pressures are magnified by global warming, which shifts the ranges in which animals are able to live, said WWFs director of science, Mike Barrett.

Some researchers have reservations about the reports approach, which summarises many different studies into a headline number. It is broadly right, but the whole is less than the sum of the parts, said Prof Stuart Pimm, at Duke University in the US, adding that looking at particular groups, such as birds, is more precise.

The report warns that losses of wildlife will impact on people and could even provoke conflicts: Increased human pressure threatens the natural resources that humanity depends upon, increasing the risk of water and food insecurity and competition over natural resources.

However, some species are starting to recover, suggesting swift action could tackle the crisis. Tiger numbers are thought to be increasing and the giant panda has recently been removed from the list of endangered species.

In Europe, protection of the habitat of the Eurasian lynx and controls on hunting have seen its population rise fivefold since the 1960s. A recent global wildlife summit also introduced new protection for pangolins, the worlds most trafficked mammals, and rosewoods, the most trafficked wild product of all.

But stemming the overall losses of animals and habitats requires systemic change in how society consumes resources, said Barrett. People can choose to eat less meat, which is often fed on grain grown on deforested land, and businesses should ensure their supply chains, such as for timber, are sustainable, he said.

Youd like to think that was a no-brainer in that if a business is consuming the raw materials for its products in a way that is not sustainable, then inevitably it will eventually put itself out of business, Barrett said. Politicians must also ensure all their policies – not just environmental ones – are sustainable, he added.

The report is certainly a pretty shocking snapshot of where we are, said Barrett. My hope though is that we dont throw our hands up in despair – there is no time for despair, we have to crack on and act. I do remain convinced we can find our sustainable course through the Anthropocene, but the will has to be there to do it.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/oct/27/world-on-track-to-lose-two-thirds-of-wild-animals-by-2020-major-report-warns

7 kinds of animals that you can eat with no factory farm involved

So you want to eat meat, eh? There’s a dilemma.

Ever since the release of Michael Pollan’s seminal book, “The Omnivore’s Dilemma,” more people all over the world have been trying to decide if their lives could use more locally harvested food including meat.

The existing meat production pipeline is flawed. Pollan and many others like Eric Schlosser (of “Fast Food Nation” fame) and the documentary “Samsara” have showed us just how bad it really is. Some folks go vegan or vegetarian, but others have tried to figure out ways to get locally raised animals.

Image of Michael Pollan by Sage Ross/Wikimedia.

Were the walls of our meat industry to become transparent, literally or even figuratively, we would not long continue to raise, kill, and eat animals the way we do.”
Michael Pollan, “The Omnivore’s Dilemma”

Can you eat meat ethically?

What is there to do if you would prefer meat to be a source of protein in your diet but want to have it in an ethical and eco-friendly way?

The answer might be in your backyard. Literally.

If you live in an area that has access to wild game, you may want to consider hunting. Seriously! Many people have turned to personally hunting their meat, and the vast majority of those who are passionate about it harvest game in ways that are safe, clean, and quick.

Ask yourself: Is that more or less ethical than, for example, a cow grown while standing on piles of manure, force-fed antibiotics, and unable to turn around or even move? Or a chicken with its beak cut off, unable to move in its cage or do anything except eat and well, you know. How about what happens when animals reach the “killing floor” where they’re executed en masse and “disassembled” before they make it to the local “Mall*Wart” in your city?

If you do it yourself, it can get you closer to your food supply and in touch with its life cycle.

Even though I’ve hunted since I was a kid, “Omnivore’s Dilemma” got me even more interested in putting wild game into my freezer and onto our table. Knowing a lot more about your food sources is key to understanding why it matters so much to your health and happiness. And, prepared right, wild game is absolutely delicious.

Also, I still thank every animal I take for giving food and sustenance to my family.

Replacing things like factory-farmed cows and chickens with wild game is possible.

You can also look into organic/grass-fed animals on local farms, but that can get pricey. We’ve done it to the tune of $900 for a half cow, and you must have a deep freeze on hand to store it.

But small-game hunting can be cost-effective and good exercise, and it’s not a big lift when it comes to cleaning and cooking.

Some people use a bow and arrow, a small-caliber rifle like a .22, or even a simple single-shot shotgun available for $100. For that matter, there are many people who like to hunt with birds of prey trained
falcons, hawks, and more.

Whatever method you use, once you’ve got your license, it’s time to get out there!

What are some good options to hunt?

Let’s go through some varieties of game that can usually be found in open areas around the United States.

1. Rabbits

Cottontails, hares, and jackrabbits all provide a great meal when you harvest them humanely and ethically. Rabbit season starts in September or October in most parts of the country. The taste? A lot like chicken, but a little stronger flavor. You can really make it tasty with a good ol’ hasenpfeffer recipe (or as Bugs Bunny would call it … rabbit stew).

Thumper … I mean, the cottontail rabbit. Image by Jon Sullivan/Wikimedia.

2. Squirrels

Bushy tail (fox) squirrels, chipmunks, woodchucks, and prairie dogs are all in the same scientific family. As opposed to hoofing it through the woods and grasslands for rabbits, squirrel hunting is more for people who like to sit for a while. The taste is also kinda like chicken, but a lot greasier. Think dark meat.

The common fox squirrel. Photo by Brandon Weber/Upworthy.

3. Upland birds

Pheasant, quail, grouse, Hungarian partridge, and other species are actively eating and preparing for the winter months late in the year, starting around September. Definitely a way to burn some calories because hunting them requires hikes through woods, grasslands, and farm fields, where you can see them flush, often with a great flourish of color.

As you might have guessed, the taste is very much like chicken!

The ring-necked pheasant. Image by USFWS Mountain-Prairie/Flickr.

Bonus: Here’s a pheasant recipe I created years ago, but it’ll work with pretty much any small game.

4. Waterfowl

Waterfowl include geese, ducks, and other birds that stay close to water. At 12 to 15 pounds per bird for an adult goose, they can easily feed a family. It’s very much a dark meat; in fact, goose breasts look as dark as steaks before and after you cook them. The taste is very much like duck, rather than turkey. All are fabulous, on the grill or slow-cooked in the oven or pressure cooker.

“Honkers,” as they’re sometimes called. If you’ve ever been close to a flock, you know why. Image by Alan Wilson/Wikipedia.

5. Deer, elk, and other cervids

This is definitely deep-end-of-the-pool hunting not small game. And it takes a deeper relationship with the local population to really make it ethical.

“The Three Kings.” Image by Brandon Weber/Upworthy.

A word on “trophy” animals (i.e., those with a lot of antlers) versus those intended for food and culinary delights: Though the picture I took here is of bucks, I take the female variety (“does”) too. There’s a reason why.

If the herd gets out of balance from too many does, then bucks can die from food scarcity in the winter months. Read: They starve.

I’ve been regaled with many a tale of winters being so harsh in parts of the country that deer eat tree bark and pine needles to survive. That’s not good, and they suffer, so it’s far better to harvest enough of them each year so that the herd is strong.

“Hiya, human!” Photo of bull elk in Rocky Mountain National Park by Brandon Weber/Upworthy.

In the mountain states, elk and other cervids (ruminant mammals that are members of the Cervidae family) are also frequently harvested. These will supply hundreds of pounds of venison at a time.

I’m a bow hunter myself, and it takes tons of patience, practice, skill, and the ability to sit quietly for hours on end. My 7-year-old wants to go deer hunting in a few years, but I’ve already warned him that he cannot talk for hours at a time a feat I do not think it’s humanly possible for him to accomplish.

The taste is like beef, with much less fat. Cooking venison is a skill unto itself, and you frequently will have to cut the cooking time in half versus beef, or it will be very dry. They’re much like grass-fed beef in that regard. The varying types of cervids produce subtle taste differences. I am fond of whitetail deer and elk, but some folks love caribou and antelope, too.

Bonus: If you want to go full-on mountain person, you can learn how to make a coat or blanket from the hides, as well as other fancy things from other parts. Double bonus: If you have dogs, venison bones are great for them to chew on. (Just be sure to do it safely!)

6. Wild turkey

No, not THAT Wild Turkey

This is another “sit and wait” creature to hunt, and they have extremely acute eyesight and hearing, so they’re not easy. But taste one even if you’ve had “free-range” turkey before and you might just be hooked.

“Hi Tom. Have you met … Tom?” Photo by Brandon Weber/Upworthy.

7. Wild boar/pig

I’ve not yet had the experience of hunting these, but (SPOILER ALERT!) it is the critter that Pollan ends up harvesting at the end of “The Omnivore’s Dilemma,” along with local mushrooms and vegetables. In some parts of the country especially the South they are frequently harvested year-round. The taste is definitely pork, with older animals having a “musky” flavor.

“Oink? Not quite, Bub.” Image of wild boars near Kennedy Space Center by NASA/Wikimedia.

Bonus!

For the pescatarians out there, catching and cooking your own fish can be magical. You only need access to waterways, ponds, or lakes, and a simple cane pole with a hook and night crawler will do. The kids will love it, and cooking fresh catfish or trout over a campfire is a great experience.

The species “Cerveza Metallica,” with the author’s buddy Dave. Photo by Brandon Weber/Upworthy.

There are, of course, tons of other critters in pockets of the country that can also be harvested as well, like alligators, goats, crabs, lobsters, bears, and more.

Hey, it beats store-bought, right? Check with local ethical hunters to see what might be available to you!

What if the whole idea of hunting game yourself is still not for you? That’s fair.

Here’s an idea: Why not trade with someone for locally sourced meat?

If you don’t want to go through with hunting and taking your own animals, you could arrange a trade with someone you know. “Hey, Jane, I’ll prepare the bread from locally raised grain and roast some locally-grown vegetables if you can harvest the venison steaks. Deal?”

Or even get together with friends and family who hunt and make it a feast!

Bon apptit!

Also, for a little taste of what “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” is all about, check this video out:

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/7-kinds-of-animals-that-you-can-eat-with-no-factory-farm-involved?c=

Very Ethical: This Slaughterhouse Lets The Animals Get A Few Shots In Before They Kill Them

Whether or not you eat meat, one thing everyone can agree on is that when animals are slaughtered for food, it should be done in an ethical manner that minimizes suffering and preserves the creatures dignity. Thats why one Nebraska-based farming company is introducing a humane new approach to slaughtering animals that could change the industry forever: letting the cows get in a few shots before they kill them.

Yup. Fairview Farms Inc., an Omaha slaughterhouse that raises and processes hundreds of cattle a year, is earning the praise of animal rights organizations and the meat industry alike for its unique new approach to ethical killing. Shortly before a cow is slaughtered, the animal is brought into a small outdoor pen where a Fairview employee in a padded protective bodysuit is waiting. There, the animal is permitted to kick or headbutt the employee as much as it pleases during a two-minute window. If the cow doesnt immediately seem interested in doling out punishment to its human handler, its encouraged to do so through a couple whacks to the ribs with a Wiffle ball bat, or, if that fails, a firm pinch on the tail with a pair of pliers.

After the cow has knocked around its handler for a while, the employee lies down on the ground in faux defeat, and enthusiastic mooing sounds play over a loudspeaker to give the animal the illusion that its being cheered on by its bovine peers. Then, the cowstill blissful from having battered a humanis led into a metal squeeze chute where a heavy steel bolt is driven into its brain with a powerful blast of compressed air, killing the animal instantly and painlessly.

It slows down our facilitys output a bit, but we just want to make sure the cows get to have a little fun before they die, says Fairview Farms CEO Ben Jacobson about the humane new slaughtering practice. When theyre kicking you around, theyre like little kids on Christmas. And we think thats the least we can do for them to make their final moments special.

Wow! Even if you dont eat meat, youve got to admit that this is a pretty awesome and thoughtful way to show these animals respect before theyre slaughtered. Truly, theyre going out on a high note!

Read more: http://www.clickhole.com/article/very-ethical-slaughterhouse-lets-animals-get-few-s-3445