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Humane Slaughter

The first step to fixing a food system is understanding not only how a food system works but that everything you eat tells a story, including some you might prefer not to know about. -- Douglas Gayeton

Factor farming represents the biggest challenge to raising animals ethically, respecting them in life and death. There are solutions, of course. After all, industrial agriculture is a work in progress. In this edition of Food List, we are introduced to methods and traditions that respect life even in death.

The proof of forward motion in industrial livestock operations can be found walking the halls of Colorado State University’s Department of Animal Sciences, where giant posters announce the school’s most recent research, which features the contribution of Temple Grandin, a CSU professor who actually sees things from an animal’s point of view. She explains that to make a different in the sustainable management of livestock, we must focus on one aspect at a time. Rather than searching for the magic bullet, we need to isolate the different elements of our food processing and slaughterhouse facilities and work through the accomplishments and struggles.

The rapid consolidation and dissociative nature of our meat industry as encouraged farmers across the country to pursue more sustainable and humane practices. One farmer recognizes the need for innovation on his remote island off the coast of Washington where most livestock is , and has created a mobile slaughterhouse. Another farmer works to connect consumers to their thanksgiving turkeys, and invites patrons to participate in the process of bringing the much loved bird to the dinner table. And yet another rancher respects his pigs’ lives by eating them from nose to tail.

Humane treatment and animal welfare are becoming a more common discussion being held amongst ranchers and farmers. Explore the innovative ways that local communities are sharing space and respect for their livestock, and think about how you can support your sustainable, local meat industry.

This week's terms

Animal Welfare

Based on demonstrable and measurable outcomes that impact an animal's welfare in terms of its overall well-being, its access to clean water and pasture, the health of its environment, the feed it consumes, and the animal's day to day care from birth to death.

Humane Slaughter

"We need to make sure to give animals a good life and a calm death that is free from pain." - Temple Grandin

Humane Treatment

Raising livestock with a nutritious diet, access to a ashelter and resting area, sufficient space to graze, raised without the use of subtherapeautic antibiotics, and the ability to engage in instinctive behaviors.

Nose to Tail

"Respect for the animal. Using every cut and offal (internal organs and entrails) from an animal, that has been treated with respect, to feed a community." - Chef Matt Palmerlee

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