I am writing this post out of disappointment with the lack of information and education that is being perpetuated by a particular online community that continues to shame and blame people who choose to eat meat and animal products. Just as the title of this post says, choosing to eat animal products does not mean that you don't love and support animals just as much as, if not more than, people who choose not to eat animal products.
If you are purchasing the cheapest animal products on the shelf at the supermarket, then it is likely that you are supporting an industry that cares very little for the health and wellbeing of animals, the land, and you. However, you don't have to be an expert to know that this is not the only way to purchase animal products. You can still choose to eat animals without supporting harmful farming practices. You can choose to be an informed consumer that puts your money where your morals and values are by finding the local butchers and farmers who are putting in that extra effort to guarantee the health and wellbeing of animals, the land, and you.
There are many farmers out there who actually invite their customers to visit their farms because they are proud of the way they are raising their livestock. They understand the natural processes involved in maintaining the nutrient content of the soils. They understand that cows and chickens and goats thrive best if they are free to roam the pastures and allowed to eat their natural diets. By purchasing meat and animal products from local farmers and butchers who truly LOVE what they do because they are raising and caring for their animals in an ethical, sustainable and beautiful way, you are likely to make far more of a positive impact on the food industry (and the environment) than not purchasing meat and animal products at all.
I have been an animal-lover all of my life. I was raised with two older dog sisters (Kala and Mitzi), one younger dog brother (Simba) and one younger dog sister (Miffy). I am also the proud mother of two fur-babies (Dr Butter and Snow Black) who are gorgeous mini-lop rabbits. I live close to a national park that is home to singing birds, cheeky turkeys, colourful butterflies, fluffy possums and handsome kangaroos. I also love visiting farms and learning all about the nature and proper care of animals that are commonly consumed as part of a healthy diet, like beef, lamb, goat and pork. I urge anyone who doubts the inclusion of animal products as part of a healthy diet to read the book, Primal Body Primal Mind, and to open yourself up to the incredible research on nutrition and physical degeneration that was conducted by Dr Western A. Price.
If you are someone who has chosen to be Vegan or Vegetarian out of pure love and passion for animals, then I respect you. However, if you are consistently shaming and blaming others who choose not to be Vegan or Vegetarian, then that is not okay. Because we can ALL love, adore and support animals just as much as each other, no matter whether or not we choose to eat meat and animal products. As a dietitian, I have found the most nutrient-dense foods to be of animal origin. Oily fish, whole eggs and beef liver, for example, are three of the most nutrient-dense foods we could possibly eat. Does that mean you have to eat these foods to achieve optimal health? No. But it can make it a lot easier for many people.
So please, continue to respect animals, the land and yourselves. However, do not assume that your individual dietary practices are the single best dietary practices for all individuals living on this planet, including the animals!
Here are some links to a few wonderful farms and butchers in NSW who love their livestock and the land. If you know of more that I have not included, please do not hesitate to contact me and let me know (I'll happily expand the list).
1. Ethical Farmers located in Somersby and Mangrove Mountain NSW (https://www.ethicalfarmers.com.au/)
2. The Free Range Butcher (https://www.freerangebutcher.com.au/)
3. Feather and Bone (https://featherandbone.com.au/)
4. Your Farmer (http://www.yourfarmer.com.au/)
5. The Conscious Farmer (https://theconsciousfarmer.com.au/)