Omnivore in a Vegetarian Conundrum

September 26, 2008 at 6:48 am 5 comments

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I find myself in a bit of a vegetarian conundrum…. I love the meat.  It is delicious… and juicy… and… meaty.  Mmmmm….  My problem is that the more educated I become on organic and cruelty free practices, the more aware I become of traditional livestock conditions, which definitely do NOT sit comfortably with either my deep love and respect for animals, or my burgeoning holistic approach to life.  I’m beginning to wonder whether, without alternatives, I may be forced to vegetarianism in short order.  There are several organizations now providing certification of humane animal treatment, and each has its own label for food packaging:







 The first is American Humane Certified, which protects bison, chickens, cows, pigs, sheep, and turkeys.

The second is Certified Humane Raised and Handled, which protects chickens, cows, pigs, and sheep.

The third is Animal Welfare Approved, which protects chickens, cows, ducks, geese, pigs, rabbits, sheep, and turkeys.


I’ve been looking for these when I shop, as I think they may solve a good bulk of my moral issues, but so far I’ve been unsuccessful in finding them!  Until I do, I find myself cutting back drastically on my meat consumption.  Does anyone else grapple with this issue, and how are you dealing with it?  Has anyone seen these labels, and if so, at what stores? 

(If you are interested, all of these sites take donations.)


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Entry filed under: Food and Nutrition, Going Green. Tags: , , , , .

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5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Brigid Sweeney  |  September 26, 2008 at 10:39 am

    Thanks for writing about these different types of food labels. In addition to the species you mentioned above, Animal Welfare Approved also accredits Beef cattle, Dairy cattle and Pigs. To find Animal Welfare Approved products you should visit our online database of vendors at If there are no vendors in your area we have several farmers that sell their products online for mail order delivery. In order to get more Animal Welfare Approved products in more stores consumers like yourself should ask their grocers, farmer’s markets and restaurants to buy from Animal Welfare Approved farmers. Or they can contact Animal Welfare Approved directly with a list of their farmers and we can see if they would qualify for the program. Please feel free to contact me with any questions you have.

  • 2. averagegoddess  |  September 27, 2008 at 8:19 am

    Brigid – Thank you so much for the helpful information and clarifications! I will absolutely be in touch soon!

  • 3. cashlessncr  |  September 28, 2008 at 9:52 am

    A number of the farms in my area host open barn events on their own or through our local food co-op. I feel more secure purchasing products from the farms that open themselves up to the public on a regular basis.

  • 4. averagegoddess  |  September 28, 2008 at 10:21 am

    That’s an excellent point – I suppose if a farm is willing to let people see how the animals are treated, it can’t be as bad as some of the horror stories you hear. I would never have thought of that! Thanks!

  • 5. Paintandsoul  |  October 5, 2008 at 7:43 pm

    This gets to me too, I feel so limited where I live. Even finding the basic organic veggies and fruits is a chore. Forget labels on the meat!! I have seen these labels once or twice at particularly conscious stores in Houston when I visit home. I remember being interested in them since I had not seen them before, but I don’t remember where I was in the city! Sorry dear! Having been on more farms than any city girl should have been probably, I can say they aren’t all that bad – cashless had a great point! I can also say that cows have been bred for this for generation on generation now… and really no longer serve any other purpose. It’s sort of sad the level of domestication many of our meat animals have reached, they are entirely useless in terms of planetary contribution to anything but human consumption at this point. At least in our country. That doesn’t make abusing them or inethical treatment acceptable, but it does alleviate some of the social pressures to become a vegetarian to ‘save the animals’.


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