A Real Downer–Do You Know Where Your Food Comes From?


It looks like our government will once again spare us from burdensome regulations. We won’t even be bothered by labels telling us whether that packet of ground beef we are eating comes from a downer cow. That would really ruin your appetite!
According to the Washington Post,
“Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer told Congress yesterday that he would not endorse an outright ban on “downer” cows entering the food supply or back stiffer penalties for regulatory violations by meat-processing plants in the wake of the largest beef recall in the nation’s history.”

Although there are vegetarians in our family, and we respect that, Sonja and I are still carnivores. I don’t object to eating meat provided that,

  1. The animals are raised (and when the time comes, dispatched) in a humane manner.
  2. The whole livestock operation is conducted in a sustainable, environmentally responsible way.
  3. The resulting meat is natural and healthy.

I’m pretty sure animals experience emotions, enjoy pleasure, and suffer pain. I doubt that the spend time worrying about the future or feel the need to accomplish certain tasks before they die. They live life day to day, they don’t see life as a project.

We are all going to die anyway. When a human life is cut short, we feel the loss of a life uncompleted. I don’t think cows suffer from that–although I’m pretty sure they suffer from the conditions in the photographs provided by “Farm Santuary.” (There are worse photographs in their gallery, if you prefer to lose your appetite completely.)

In the Flint Hills where I live, the most sustainable, earth friendly use of the land is for grazing large animals. We enjoy the sight of the cattle on a thousand hills.

Lately we have been buying beef produced by our neighbors in the flint hills. Sometimes, my brother provides us with some of his grass-fed (not corn-fattened) beef. It is lean, fresh, and natural. I also enjoy bison from nearby herds. We are also still enjoying salsa from last year’s home-grown tomatoes and chilies.

It is good to know where your food comes from. They say “local is the new organic.”