Monday 23 February

Meat Free Monday:  Boycott unsustainable products, do not buy products from endangered animals. Know the best and worst products

 In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of every human being.” [Job 12:10] 

All living beings are all precious to God – not just humans.  “ . . . even the hairs of your head are all counted.”  And, likewise, not even a single sparrow “is forgotten in God’s sight.” [Luke 9:6-7]   “Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your judgments are like the great deep; you save humans and animals alike, O Lord.” [Psalm 36:6]

Given God’s great love for all creatures, we need to reflect on our practice of eating meat farmed in factory farms. Conditions in these operations unlike organic farms are unhealthy and cruel. Animals who are intended by nature to forage for food are fed corn and soybeans instead of grass. To prevent the inevitable spread of disease from stress, overcrowding and lack of vitamin D, animals are fed a steady diet of antibiotics.  Animals often develop antibiotic-resistant bacteria in their guts, which contaminates the food chain and poses a threat to human health.

Pigs: Sows spend each pregnancy confined to a sow stall only slightly larger than her body, making it impossible for her to lie down comfortably. The slatted flooring of a sow stall causes foot injuries. Sow stalls have been banned in Europe. Shortly before piglets are born, sows are moved to ‘farrowing crates’ where the piglets will be nursed. The crates are so small that the mother pig cannot turn around to see her piglets. At three weeks, the piglets are taken from their mothers and undergo castration and tail docking without any sort of pain relief. They spend the next 6 months of their lives confined to pens until they reach ‘market weight’; when they are trucked to slaughter.

Chickens: in factory farms most of the egg-laying hens  spend their lives in an area less than the size of an A4 piece of paper; routinely de-beaked and de-clawed, without anaesthetic.  In nature, a hen can live for up to 8 years, but egg-laying hens are considered ‘spent’ at less than 2 years of age.  They are then sent to slaughter, or sold to informal traders. Male chicks, considered wasteful by-products by the poultry industry, are normally ground up alive -.

Chicken raised for meat (broilers) are crammed into indoor sheds – over-crowding results in filth and disease, and causes aggressive behaviour, weakened immune systems, and ammonia burn.  Genetically bred to reach slaughter weight in 6 weeks; unnaturally large, they often cannot support their own weight – many crippled chickens on factory farms die when they can no longer reach the water nozzles.

Cows: On factory farms cows are regularly impregnated in order to produce milk, but are prevented from expressing their mothering instincts: calves are removed before they are weaned – often within 24 hours – causing  psychological distress..  Once a cow’s milking days are over – normally when she is about 4 years of age – she is sent to slaughter. 

Can we eat meat from animals who have treated like this? Switch to free range. It is more expensive but rather buy less…

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