Over the weekend I finally got to watch the documentary Food, Inc. Food, Inc. is produced by the name guy who wrote the book Fast Food Nation and appeared in a special interview at the end of Supersize Me (thought he looked familiar!). His name is Eric Schlosser.
In a word, the documentary was great. It was also eye-opening and disturbing. I’d seen bits and pieces of it over the last year and heard plenty about it so a lot of the content didn’t come as a shock.
Basically this movie took an investigative look at the food we eat and the processes that move it to the store shelves. It looked at:
- Genetically Modified Crops
- The power of the Big AG conglomerates
- Farmers and their growing harassment/victimization by the Big AG conglomerates
- The conflicts of interest within the FDA and USDA and their connections to Big AG
- A family who is convinced that fast food is the only way they can afford to feed (fill) their family of four
- The growth of organics and how they are going mainstream
- How we, as consumers, can vote with our dollars
If you are curious about where our food comes from or want to know what exactly is going into your body, I highly recommend this documentary.
For me, the image that most sticks in my brain, is the segment on the chickens and how they are raised for quick slaughter. They go from baby chicks to meaty chickens in 5 weeks. But because of this rate of growth, their bones can’t keep up and can barely support their weight. So the chickens don’t move around much and some can barely walk, instead spending most of their time laying down in their own feces.
The question at the forefront of my mind is “what are they putting in the chicken feed to make them grow that quickly?” And whatever it is is probably still in the chicken when it’s on my table. Yuck. And the only thing I can think when I look at the package of chicken breasts in my freezer by, according to the movie, the largest poultry processor in the nation, no way in hell do I buy the “all natural” label stamped onto it.
There is NOTHING NATURAL about slaughter ready chickens after 5 weeks, engineered to have larger breasts.
This reminds me of the quote (can’t remember where I heard it) “we were so busy wondering about wether or not we could that we didn’t stop to ask whether or not we should.”
For a while I was teetering on the edge with what to do about the meat I eat. I was debating the necessity of buying grass-fed beef and pastured poultry as the cost is rather prohibitive. But after seeing the way those chickens were treated, I don’t think I can, in good conscience, continue to eat these tortured animals.
I also think these pour animals are nutritionally inferior. I made chicken soup from a whole chicken that came from a big processor. The broth is a strange, bland, milky color and I’m pretty certain it should be a little more colorful and a little more flavorful.
I’m not fan of PETA and think they’re ridiculous about a lot of stuff concerning animals. But (pains me to say this) I think I agree with them on CFO’s and the disgusting treatment these animals receive. I want what ends up on my plate to suffer as needlessly as possible on it’s way there.
I also think there is a disconnect for most Americans regarding the notion that the meat on their plate used to be a living creature. We’re no longer vested in the hunt and lack the respect our “kill” deserves for feeding us. The part in Avatar when Jake makes his first kill is very poignant I think. Taking life, even for nourishment, is a sacred act and treated as such.
So, I’ll be voting with my dollars and buying good, nourishing, humanely raised and slaughtered animals from now on.