Letters to the Editor

Raising meat to slaughter is a step backward:Letter to the Editor

Factory farming is terrible for the environment, for human health and for animals. Last week, The Beachcomber ran a front-page story about local backyard butchers who provide an alternative — a step back to when we knew where our food (meat) came from. (“Raising meat, living well,” Aug. 3)

But why step backward? Meat is inefficient. Only a fraction of the total mass of an animal is used for meat. That fraction can be increased slightly, but seriously, how many goat pelts do we each need?

It takes up to 16 pounds of grain to produce a single pound of flesh. The grain used to produce meat (and all that excrement, bone, hair, hooves, teeth, feathers and other guts we don’t use) could better be used to end starvation around the world. On a global scale, less reliance on meat means more land can be left uncultivated to retain more forests. We all agree that oxygen really is essential, right? Water is  also consumed and polluted in great quantities by livestock both locally and globally. Finally, whispering “thank you” to a trusting, intelligent animal while you put a bullet in his head or slit her throat for your own purposes is at best disingenuous and an appalling misuse of the word “respect.”

I’ve thought about this issue for the past 25 years while I’ve cared for a wide variety of farm animals and especially the past 15 years while our farm sanctuary has spent a large percentage of our resources cleaning up after countless so-called back-to-the-earth projects, pet fads, hobby farms and other wrong-headed businesses that exploit animals here on Vashon.

Instead of this romanticized step backward, why not take a step forward by reducing or eliminating meat from our diets? Our reward will be a greener planet, better health and a clear conscience.

— Karen Eliasen, BaaHaus Animal Rescue Group

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