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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Deciding to Eat Humane

My eating habits have been as varied and fickle as my life choices... From childhood to adulthood (if that is what you can call the time when someone is 29 and sang 8 songs at karaoke last night), I went from being an omnivore to a pescetarian to a vegetarian to a humane-omnivore to a vegetarian. And now, as more undercover videos are released that detail the rampant abuse at dairy farms (thanks to the courageous work of leaders at The Humane Society, PETA, and especially Mercy for Animals), I have found it harder and harder to eat factory-farmed dairy.

Except that I love dairy products. I am a foodie at heart, and my friends (some who have meat daily) often marvel at the fact that a vegetarian can cook really good food.

So, how do I make my mom's neighborhood-favorite spanakopita or my brother's gourmet eggplant parm? Easy: I go the farmer's market and get mozz, parmesan and eggs from farmers who don't allow their animals to live a tortured existence, as Jonathan Safran Foer eloquently detailed in his book Eating Animals.

But how do you know if the farmers are actually humane? The USDA criteria for "humane" does not meet the standards of how we would classify "humane." And by humane, I mean if we saw a video of how the animals spend their day, we would not turn our eyes away in shame and agony. (That is an entire blog post for an entirely different time, but it is something that I consider every time I eat or buy an animal product.)

This blog is going to chronicle my journey from being a vegetarian to being a humane vegetarian. While I have already found some amazing farmers (like Keswick Creamery) and delicious restaurants (like Java Green) in DC, I want to find many more. This blog will include farmers who are humane, restaurants that have humane dairy and eggs (and those that don't), and how one goes about eating humane without wasting food or being rude to beloved hosts who don't buy humane dairy and eggs.

Many thanks to my friends who asked me to share the ongoing humane vendors and restaurants I have found, and to the animals rights groups who have inspired this exciting choice. And thanks in advance to those who won't judge me when I fail on both accounts and grab a jumbo-slice on a late Saturday night/Sunday morning.


  1. Good luck! Costco sells cage free eggs. Not sure if they meet the right standards, but if they do, you can buy a whole lot of them. They're across from the wild-caught pacific salmon...and the mass-produced standard veal.

    Maybe I should go buy the eggs for you.

  2. That picture of you and Winston is too cute for me to handle. Can't wait to hear more about humane dairy (I'm a veg, but can't bring myself to go vegan)- especially during the winter when farmers markets are harder to come by.

  3. Cage Free---- What exactly does that mean, Joe? Will delve into it later, but not much...

  4. I'm excited to follow this blog. I love to rip into fatty bloody meat and consume mass amounts of cheese; however, I do have some guilt everytime I purchase said items. This blog is going to be encouraging and hopefully will push me in making food choices that are a bit more humane and suitable for consumption.