Plenty of us blot out the appalling reality of modern factory-farming practices when we buy meat and poultry products.

Plenty of us blot out the appalling reality of modern factory-farming practices when we buy meat and poultry products. Photo: Getty

I love food. And like many Australians, I enjoy the odd excursion into the world of flashy restaurants and snazzy gourmet dishes. But that’s an occasional thing. Regular readers of this column will know that, deep down, I’m a Newcastle girl – and the Hunter runs rich in my veins. I tell myself that is why I love the basics of life: a nice home, a good husband, a friendly dog and a cup of tea in front of the telly. Oh, and a good feed of whole food.

Food for me is a bit spiritual. Now that’s a big statement, because I’m not a spiritual kind of person. But looking at fresh produce laid out on the bench waiting to be prepared and transformed into a nutritious meal actually makes me feel good before I eat it.

There’s a fundamental purity about this, the most basic of human activities to sustain ourselves: eating. It’s what I call “conscious” eating – taking the time to gather and prepare a meal, rather than picking at high-kilojoule, low-nutrient-value snacks.

But even conscious eating ceases to feel good when it fails the “conscience” eating test, something we should all apply to the animals whose bodies we are using for food. When the answers to questions such as, “Where did this animal come from?” “How did it live?” and “How did it die?” remain unanswered, we should be concerned.

I’m not vegetarian – but I’m not a heartless omnivore, either. Deep down, I don’t think many of us are. Yet plenty of us blot out the appalling reality of modern factory-farming practices when we buy meat and poultry products. Most of us can’t even look at images of factory farms because they are too disturbing.

Yet every time we buy factory-farmed food, we are enabling these pitiful, disgraceful places to exist. Worse still, we are supporting them and what they do. And every time we don’t purchase such food, we are one step closer to closing down factory farms forever.

We should never ignore the fact we can all play a part in closing these cruel, shameful places by virtue of the day-to-day choices we make as individuals. The power to change the situation is very much in our hands. Try it: ask the waiter, your butcher, your supermarket any of the three questions above. Insist on grass-fed beef, free-range chickens and eggs, and free-range pork. With increased nutrient value and fewer chemicals, such foods are not only better for our physical health, they’ll also improve our spiritual well-being.

Michelle's tip
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