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I watched the chilling undercover footage recorded during an investigation exposing Conklin Dairy Farms workers sadistically abusing cows and young calves. The owner, Gary Conklin, isn’t taking responsibility as he himself is shown 1:25 minutes in the video taking part in the abuse, but one worker has been fired and is currently in jail awaiting trial. As horrific and disturbing as the video footage is, I think it’s important to watch– at least whatever you can stomach– because turning a blind eye doesn’t help the situation. More disturbing are the varied abuses running rampant in factory farms across the country.

The video combined with the book that i’m reading called ‘Eating Animals’ are changing my life. Although, I eat meat rarely– always teetering on vegetarianism– this is officially my last day as a “meat-eater”. Two generations ago, our food came from family farms. Today, upwards of 99% of the meat consumed in this country is from factory farming– it’s a corrupt, inhumane, sad, disgusting industry that deserves absolutley *NONE* of our support.

Choose wisely.

My Top 5 focuses on humane choices for your pantry. I’ve done a bit of research and whether or not you choose to go vegetarian, you can still make better choices and support the less than 1% of farmers who are working hard to do the right thing. Although, this list is fairly San Francisco-centric, I found all the resources through Google, so use this as a stepping stone to find similar farms and establishments in your area:

  1. The Cornucopia Institute, a nonprofit small farm advocacy group, showcases ethical family farm producers and exposes factory farm producers and brands that threaten to take over organic dairying. The dairy report, a web-based rating tool, includes a scorecard that rates 68 different organic dairy brands against a set of criteria to true organic standards.
  2. Rainbow Grocery in San Francisco focuses on local, organic, and non-genetically modified food.
  3. Truly Free-Range Eggs: Pasture-Raised.

    The author of Eating Animals, Jonathan Safron Foer, states that if there’s one thing you can do to get started in the right direction of not allowing these corporate factory farms and the abuses to proliferate– it’s to not eat chicken or eggs. Chickens are the most abused of all farmed animals, and yet they are completely unprotected under US federal law. Confined to live in areas no larger than a sheet of 8 1/2 x 11 printing paper; no food in the nation produces more suffering than poultry.

  4. The Institute for Fisheries Resources has started a Web site called Local and Seasonal Seafood Program that lists local fishermen by region. IFR acts as a conduit to connect the seafood eating public with local commercial fishermen who can provide fresh, high quality, healthy, sustainable seafood.
  5. Visit Farmers markets. Get to know the farmers in your community and support them.

+1 Resistance to the destructive trend in modern meat, dairy, egg, and seafood production is mounting. Factory farms may once again become farms.

Incorporated in 2007, Farm Forward is a nonprofit advocacy group at the forefront of pragmatic efforts to transform and implement innovative strategies to promote conscientious food choices, reduce farm animal suffering, and advance sustainable agriculture. Confused as to what type of meat to buy? The Farm Forward website has plenty of information to get you started in making informed food choices.

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