Years of study has led us to the following rule: Whether it’s a feather hair extension or grass-fed bison you’re buying, whenever and wherever animals are exchanged for money, you can bet it’s dirty business. Switching from factory-farmed meat to grass-fed bison, for example, doesn’t eliminate environmental degradation, water and energy waste, water-deprived truck rides to the butcher, slaughter, or lowlife politics. Switching meats often just changes the set of problems.
•Many bison ranches are adjacent to natural parks where wild bison and wild elk roam. When wild animals carrying brucellosis (an infectious bacteria transmittable to humans and other animals) cross park boundaries during their winter migratory routes, they can infect ranched herds—the common consequences being that the rancher must kill his entire stable. So in the interest of cattle farmers, the state of Montana, under, for example, the Interagency Bison Management Plan, drives back its wild bison herds using helicopters, hazing, slaughter, and penning. In 2004 at Yellowstone National Park, 264 wild bison were rounded up and slaughtered in order to protect 180 cows grazing on land nearby. Another 198 were rather corralled until the following season, but for lack of space in the pen, 57 were killed without even testing for brucellosis. In 2008, 1,616 bison were driven from park borders and slaughtered.
•North America used to be home to 50 million bison. Now, the last free-roaming, genetically pure herd—descendents of 23 wild bison that survived mass slaughter— exist in Yellowstone National Park, numbering 3,000. Wildlife advocates have been working to restore Yellowstone’s bison populations for relocation onto protected areas nationwide, but ranch lobbyists around the country stand in the way. Because of ranchers’ fear of brucellosis spreading to their cattle, wild bison may never be allowed to repopulate public land again, especially because the competition against livestock owners for cheap grazing land is fierce.
•Even if your grass-fed bison is “organic” today, it still may have been genetically modified and bred in the past. Being that the only pure herd exists in Montana, the many ranched bison across America are not as natural as a consumer might hope, but rather mixed with cattle genes.
So think about it: Are organic grassfed bison farmers the people you want to be giving your money to? What side of politics do you want to be on?
Sources: LA Times1, LA Times2, and Save the Buffalo Campaign.
Photos from: Photos from www.buffalofieldcampaign.org
Whether animals are "free-range" organic or raised on a factory farm, there's no such thing as humane slaughter. Even most small, local farms must "process" their animals at USDA slaughterhouses in the end. Check this short overview of standard practices in the pork, poultry, dairy, beef, and seafood industries. If you eat meat and dairy, you've had this in your belly:
2. FOOD & HEALTH:
We know that on a plant-based diet, Diabetes is being reversed (1) and people are living healthfully into their 100s (2); we know that an average MD gets less than 20 hours of nutritional training (3, 4), that Big Pharma literally has hires cheerleaders to rep their meds (5) and provides their loyal doctors with trips to Hawaii (6, 7); we know that the masses fighting for healthcare plans—eating the way they do, will continue to be sick unless they aim for health instead. We're over getting played. We now have access to the most innovative information and the best foods and natural medicines on Earth...and it turns out, the keys to health and longevity are simple.
3. POLITICS: What we eat is linked to every major political issue there is: world hunger, environment and climate change, energy, water waste, civil and labor rights, healthcare, oppression, wildlife and endangered species, and more. By going vegan, you push and pull your support of these issues more directly and more often than you can at the voting booth. Put your money where you mouth is and use the most powerful political tool we have to influence change.
4. ENVIRONMENT: The U.N. reported in 2006 that animal agriculture causes more pollution than all forms of transportation combined. Both eating and wearing animals is dirty business, directly contributing to global land degradation, climate change and air pollution, water waste and contamination, and loss of biodiversity. This is not the trail we wish to leave behind.
5. CONSCIOUSNESS: If we hear one more animal-eating yogi utter "Loka samasta sukhino bhavantu" (May all beings everywhere be happy and free); if we are solicited by one more Greenpeace street-volunteer who still eats fish; if we're invited to one more hot-dog barbeque in celebration of Juneteenth...you get the picture.
In several places around the world, termed "blue zones," people live with mobility and vigor into their 100s. And in the "cold spots" of the world, there is little to none of the disease or chronic conditions that "plague" the West.
No, these areas are not full of the rich who can pay for the best food and medicine. In fact, most of these people are financially poor. They can't afford a herd of animals and they don't have refrigerators. So they eat plant-based diets and bury their food (before the age of appliances, fermentation was a standard way of preserving food). They commune with their families and neighbors, they feel a sense of connectedness and purpose, and they've made moving their bodies a priority in life.
Sounds rich to us—this is about quality of life. What do people from the blue zones and cold spots have in common? Here's what we can learn:
•Eat a plant-based diet:
These people eat little to no meat. Instead, the bulk of their diet is simple whole foods, deep greens, healing herbs, and spices.
•Eat small portions:
it's a documented fact that the less one eats, the longer one lives. The heavier your meals—especially food unnatural to the human system, the more wear, tear, and burden on your energy and every cells in your bod.
•Eat good raw fats:
Coconut, olive oil, chlorella, avocado, raw cacao (omega-6), omega-3 (hempseed, chia, flax, AFA blue green algae). Healthy fats seem more important than protein in these diets, demonstrating a few interesting things.
A) If you eat food, you get enough protein.
B) Fats contain more calories than protein (9:4 cal/g), which means longer sustaining energy.
C) When you think you're craving protein, you're most likely in need of good fat.
•Eat fermented foods:
Kimchee, coconut kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, these foods contain billions of "good bacteria" (probiotics) that promote health in the gut—thought to be the core of the immune system.
Be part of a community. Show up, have someone's back, and let others get yours, too.
•Keep it movin':
Dance, walk, garden, shake it...at least sit on the floor and stretch while you're watching TV!