How Did Factory Farming Become So Prevalent In America?
Just how did it happen that eating meat somehow became synonymous with Freedom in America? Somewhere along the way, being carnivorous became associated with the pursuit of happiness. Americans are known worldwide for consuming more meat than most other cultures.
July 4th and Thanksgiving, the two most popular American holidays, are traditionally celebrated with meat. Americans have never elected a vegetarian into the White House. The red blooded American obsession with meat has more to it than one might first guess.
In the time before colonialism in the New World, Europeans were living life under the thumbs of their kings. In many countries, the land, and everything on it - including the animals - belonged to the king. This caused a tremendous disparity between availability of meat for the rich compared to the poor. In fact, according to legend, Robin hood became an outlaw after killing one of the king’s deer. There is a long history on this planet of the elite eating meat while peasants ate none at all.
When European colonists began arriving in the New World, there was no king to stop them from hunting and keeping livestock. Of course, this land was stolen from the Native Americans. The newfound freedom to consume meat was especially intoxicating because of the exclusivity it had held in their homelands.
Along with the native animals that were roaming the lands, the lush climates of the Eastern United States were ideal for raising imported livestock from overseas. By the time the American Revolution started, people living in the New World were consuming almost as much meat as the yearly average for US citizens today.
As time passed and more waves of immigrants made their way to America, the reputation of the New World as a carnivore’s paradise began to spread. Affordable cuts of meat were available to even the poorest newcomers. For nearly everyone arriving to a new life as an American, this was an amazing luxury.
It was a veritable Golden Age for meat eating in America. Local butchers were a focal point of communities, and offered every part of the animal for sale. Eating organ meat was far more acceptable than it is today and recipes to cook it with were included in cookbooks.
It didn’t take long industrialization to reach the meat industry. Unfortunately, it also took next to no time before farming practices became unethical and harmful to the environment. Meat started to be imported from across the country rather than coming from the neighborhood butcher shop, and farmers began focusing on maximizing profits by raising as many animals as possible in small spaces.
Many people were horrified at these new developments in the meat industry. There was a wave of public objections and Upton Sinclair’s iconic novel The Jungle.
Industrial farming began to pollute the surrounding neighborhoods. Most people’s response was simply to source their meat from further away. As time has passed, the problems with factory farming have only gotten worse. Profit margins are the only focus. The treatment of animals, quality of meat and environmental pollution have increasingly suffered.
To say that this industry is a scourge on the earth is no exaggeration. Things got out of control and only in recent times are people beginning to have an awareness about just how much of a problem this industry is. Some people decide to eat less meat or go vegetarian as a solution. In fact, many of our team here at Beck & Bulow have been vegetarian at some point in the past.
However, what is truly the best for the health of our soil - which is quite literally our lifeline for the future - is grazing animals. Before colonial times in America, approximately 60 million bison roamed the land. The migration of their massive herds was said to make the earth rumble. Sadly, their numbers were decimated by settlers. This had a massive effect on soil health and American ecosystems.
At Beck & Bulow, we’re passionate about getting as many people as possible away from factory farming. We believe that eating meat is sacred and we care very much where ours comes from. The more we can decrease the demand for corporate meat, the more we can return to producing food in ways that align with the planet’s natural rhythms.
Responsibly sourced meat is far more delicious, better for you and doesn’t carry the vibration of fear and greed. We envision a future where sustainably raised meat is the norm, not the exception. Change can happen with surprising swiftness, as long as we each make the choice to do things differently.