The ML and MOA are Moral Carnivores

The Maximum Leader has provided a link to Keith Burgess-Jacksonvvs discussion of the morality of eating turkeys. I suspect he was trying once again to prompt a post on organic farming from his Minister of Agriculture.

I havenvvt posted on agriculture before because I will have a terrible time achieving closure on any discussion of farming. I know this will shock those of you who have read my invariably short, remarkably reticent posts on gay marriage and guns, but the Minister of Agriculture is not always the soul of brevity. When talking about the soil, the MOA becomes downright voluble.

<< And yes Air Marshal, the Minister of Agriculture has once again succumbed to referring to himself in the third person. Oops! I did it again! Since this is the Maximum Leadervvs site, I have adopted to the prevailing style. >>

However, since the end of my lunch period artificially constrains me today, I will address KBJvvs theory that eating turkey makes one responsible for all the suffering that animal has suffered throughout its life.

I concur.

However, most consumers do not make their choice about meat products based on the treatment of their dinner. They look for cheap meat.

Due to the economies of scale and a remarkably asinine United States agricultural policy, most animals in America are raised inhumanely.

This is bad for the animals.

More importantly, it is bad for farmers and bad for the environment.

Ivvll leave that assertion alone for now; when time permits Uncle Mark will gather all of his children around and tell them the story of how dairy farming changed from families who cared for 20 milk cows to corporations that hire workers from Mexico to industrially manage 1400 genetically modified milk factories on the hoof. Milk is cheap, but family farms are gone, the animals suffer, and the erosion and pollution that inevitably result from large-scale grain monoculture rape the environment. This paradigm shift has been so productive that the government pays farmers (read: corporations) to produce less milk and buys milk to destroy. Excellent work, you %^&*(@ Washington bureaucrats. But going into the transformation of the milk vv industryvvp is a multi-page post. This is about eating meat.

For those of you who want to know how your beef is raised, Michael Pollan wrote an excellent article in the magazine section of the New York Post:

http://www.nehbc.org/articles.html

This is very well done. It doesnvvt buy into the whole PETA hysteria and judgmentalism. It just lays out how the industry works. It will take a while to read, but I highly suggest following that link.

I raise beef a little differently.

I raise Holstein calves that would otherwise go for veal (donvvt even get the animal rights people started here). They donvvt have a lot of value for beef producers because they grow more slowly and take more grain than a beef breed would vv but that is okay since my animals eat a natural grass-based diet. The extra cost of grain they would have in a traditional operation is irrelevant to me. They are also relatively cheaper than beef-breed feeders largely due to the tremendous marketing success of the Angus breed association (100% Angus beef!).

The Holstein beef is indistinguishable from the Angus beef, no matter what Madiosn Avenue tells you. State Ag Extensions have conducted several consumer tests that have shown that consumers cannot distinguish between Holstein and Angus steaks. Meat quality is much more directly influenced by the condition in which the animal is reared than the particular cattle breed.

I rear my claves entirely on grass. They lead a natural life and are well-treated. I take the time to offer them treats (apples and pears from the orchard) and to scratch their chins. This does make it a bit harder on me when it comes time to send them to the butcher, but it does make them happier and certainly easier to handle. For example, when a tree came down and punched a hole in my perimeter fence, my lads escaped. For many farmers this would lead to a long afternoon of excitement and frustration. I just stood at the gap and called them. They came right back for their chin scratches.

The Maximum Leader might have had one other reason to put up a link to a philosopher attacking the cruelty generally applied to meat animals: He will be able to eat steaks and hamburgers with a clean conscience this December. He is one of my customers. One side of one of my boys will fill the Maximum Leadervvs freezer.

Bon apetit, supreme commander!

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