Vol. 1, Issue #23 Dec. 8th - Dec. 21st, 2006

Red or Blue: Which Will You Choose?
By: Aharen Richardson

I recently had the opportunity to choose the red pill and so can you at www.themeatrix.com. Many like me already have: over 15 million in fact. Besides being an amusing parody, the Meatrix is also a very real expose on factory farming. Everyday consumers like you and I can learn the truth behind the food we eat by watching the flash animation series on the World Wide Web and just like the real Matrix movies, the truth s ugly.

There is no doubt about it; factory farming has become a nightmare, a reoccurring nightmare that penetrates nearly every aspect of the American diet. Only vegans can claim to be blissfully uninvolved in the Meatrix. The rest of us just keep the whole industry thriving each and every time we drink milk in our coffee lattes from Starsucks, eat a grilled chicken panini from our favorite local bistro, or chow down on some good ol’ fashion pork, beef or eggs for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It’s an inevitable reaction to our society’s ever increasing need to consume. The demand for more and more meat as our population grows both in waist size and in actual size is causing a frightening situation behind barn doors, and there seems to be little we can do about it.

But, aha! What evil out there cannot be conquered by a little good? This is a rhetorical question, and one I beg you not to answer, but I will ask to you to consider that our individual actions may not seem like much, but, when combined together, make one super awesome power punch that just might kick the whole factory farming industry on its ass.

Right on! This means that the next time you make a meat, egg or dairy purchase the choice you make actually will make a difference. Did you realize that you even had a choice? The average American does not, that is because they are still in the Meatrix. You on the other hand can choose to take the red pill and wake up from the nightmare.

Believe it or not, Oklahomans are in a position to say no to factory farmed foods because we have retained a small but thriving population of family farms that farm their animals using practices that maintain product quality and maintain the integrity of the animal through the better part of its life. By and large, animals still have to be killed to be eaten and the “processing” or “finishing” aspect of most meat includes a trip to the slaughterhouse. But they do not have to suffer needlessly during their lives, and the meat they produce does not have to be tainted with antibiotics, hormones, or even pesticides.

Many of these farms can be found online through the Oklahoma Food Cooperative at www.oklahomafood.coop. Mike Walters manages one such farm. Walters Hatchery in Stillwell Oklahoma raises heritage turkeys, turkeys on the brink of extinction due to the factory farming practices of the US. The turkeys are hatched and raised in a natural, free range environment and are “free from growth hormones and stimulants” and “are not chemically dependent on medication to survive.” They are also in the process of becoming certified as humane by PETA. Besides turkeys Walters Hatchery raises free range chickens that live a life as close as possible to the way they would on your own farm if you had one. For example, their chickens are not debeaked, a practice rampant in factory farming done so that chickens can’t injure each other. Because the chickens at Walters Hatchery are taken care of they do not have problems with fighting or cannibalism which is often the result of cramped cages and poor breeding practices. For more information on how to order or where to buy your next turkey or free range chicken, check out their website at www.historicalturkeys.com or order online through the Coop.

Another local Oklahoma small farm is run by Don McGehee, owner of PH&D Farms. Don raises and sells about forty pigs a year providing them with an all grain ration and never giving them growth hormones or meat byproducts. His hogs are given access to the outside natural world during their 15 week lives unlike their factory farmed brothers and sisters who live in cramped cages and never see the real world until they’re loaded onto the truck for a trip to the slaughter house. Once processed the cuts are nitrate free. You can buy natural pork directly from PH&D by calling 405-944-5940 or by ordering through the Coop.

Keep reading NONzine for more information about how you can support Oklahoma’s small farms and participate in sustainable and healthy agriculture.

NONzine Articles Main Page

©2006 NONCO Media, L.L.C.