GRASS-FED BEEF comes from cattle that are more humanely raised. Some ranchers are also using more labour-intensive "managed grazing" practices, which are better for soil health, as part of their application of principles of regenerative agriculture. If we're going to consume meat or dairy products, we can choose to find and support more humane and sustainable producers near us. Photo: USDA/Ryan Thompson on Flickr
In a recent blog post on why pandemics are poised to strike again, I highlighted the need to eliminate factory farming and decrease the meat and dairy products in our diets. You can choose to go vegetarian or vegan, or you can simply scale back on your consumption of animal products. Even the latter is a smart and worthy contribution to ecology, health, and animal welfare.
Choose ‘better’ rather than ‘more.’
So how can you find meat and dairy that’s sustainably produced? Go for quality of animal proteins over quantity. That’s one reason I’m part of Meatless Monday Global and its Canadian supporters, a powerful community of educators showing people they don’t need to eat animal products every day.
Meanwhile, in almost any city or town you’re in, there are better-quality animal products to be found. I’m talking about foods from livestock animals that were raised on small-scale local ranches and farms using humane practices, fewer drugs and chemicals – therefore doing less harm to environments and promoting animal and human health.
Won’t sustainable animal-source foods cost more? Yes, but by cutting back on meat and dairy, you’ll be able to afford the higher-quality foods.
Consider these retailers.
In metropolitan Vancouver, BC, there are:
- Two Rivers Meats: This business uses animals that were ethically raised, without hormones, antibiotics, or chemical feed additives. While the pandemic has forced this butcher shop to temporarily close its eatery, it’s selling products through its online shop.
- Pasture to Plate:The people behind this organic farm in the Chilcotin Valley raise cattle, sheep, pigs, and poultry. You can buy their meats at their butcher shop and deli at 1420 Commercial Drive, Vancouver.
- Meatme.ca: You can get meat home-delivered as well as ethically sourced by subscribing to this online food delivery platform. The company sells grass-fed, pasture-raised meats free from antibiotics, hormones, and chemicals, and the animals are reared by local farmers. The platform sells boxes of beef, pork, poultry, or a combination, plus sustainably sourced salmon and halibut from Haida Gwaii.
- Avalon Dairy: You can buy organic dairy products, including cows’ and goats’ milk at a range of fat levels, yogurt, ice cream, butter, and cheese, mostly in returnable or recyclable packaging, from this generations-old family business. Avalon was the first dairy in BC to sell milk products fully traceable to local ecological dairy farms with humane animal practices. Their products are sold at multiple Vancouver-area locations. In some, they are deliverable to your home.
- EcoDairy: This Abbotsford-based farm has partnered with Science World to be a demonstration centre. It offers interactive farm tours, u-pick berries, and fresh dairy products. EcoDairy milk products are from free-run cows who live in more pleasant conditions than most industrially-raised cows. A relaxed and happy cow, says EcoDairy, produces lots of milk.