“Michael Pollan likens consumer choices to pulling single threads out of a garment. We pull a thread from the garment when we refuse to purchase eggs or meat from birds who were raised in confinement, whose beaks were clipped so they could never once taste their natural diet of worms and insects. We pull out a thread when we refuse to bring home a hormone-fattened turkey for Thanksgiving dinner. We pull a thread when we refuse to buy meat or dairy products from cows who were never allowed to chew grass, or breathe fresh air, or feel the warm sun on their backs.
The more threads we pull, the more difficult it is for the industry to stay intact. You demand eggs and meat without hormones, and the industry will have to figure out how it can raise farm animals without them. Let the animals graze outside and it slows production. Eventually the whole thing will have to unravel.
If the factory farm does indeed unravel – and it must – then there is hope that we can, gradually, reverse the environmental damage it has caused. Once the animal feed operations have gone and livestock are once again able to graze, there will be a massive reduction in the agricultural chemicals currently used to grow grain for animals. And eventually, the horrendous contamination caused by animal waste can be cleaned up. None of this will be easy.
The hardest part of returning to a truly healthy environment may be changing the current totally unsustainable heavy-meat-eating culture of increasing numbers of people around the world. But we must try. We must make a start, one by one.”
― Jane Goodall, Harvest for Hope: A Guide to Mindful Eating
Jane Goodall gives a very good analogy of how we can have a positive impact on animal welfare and the environmental impacts based on our food choices. I would add that we should also extend these consumer choices to every aspect of our lives. Whether it is in choosing used clothing over cheap fast-fashion options, or local or handmade products over mass-produced products, or my own very special goal which is to choose cruelty-free, sustainable skincare products over the glitzy, youthful promising cosmeceuticals which are generally packaged in plastic.
Sometimes they like to promote their “greenness” by claiming their plastic is recyclable. Whether it be Hefty Orange Bag recyclable or tossing your properly rated plastic into the general recycling bin, it is always better to choose a no plastic option than it is to recycle as is evidenced by the microplastics in our oceans which then end up in our seafood.
Sometimes they also promote their “greenness” by saying they don’t test their products on animals, though the ingredients they use were already tested on animals in order to be used by countries that have regulations requiring it. This is why small-batch products are inherently a greener and more compassionate alternative.
I assert that no amount of animal testing is appropriate for the sake of our skincare or cosmetic products. Not only is it cruel and torturous to the animals, but it is not a valid comparison so renders the practice ineffective and wasteful of the very gift of these creatures in our world.