Happy Hug A Vegetarian Day 2011!!

Today is Hug a Vegetarian Day thanks to PETA2 so go out there and find your favorite vegetarian and thank them for being so kind to animals and the environment!

I will welcome hugs all day if we happen to cross paths!

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My Thoughts…Fast Food Nation by; Eric Schlosser

I just finished reading Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation.  I found it to be a fascinating look into how the fast food industry came to be and how it has managed to influence food culture in America and across the globe.

I could also say after reading this book I could say that McDonald’s is the reason I became a vegetarian.  The company seems to have a overwhelming influence on the chicken and beef industries and the way in which food gets from the farm to your kitchen table. Schlosser describes the inhumane conditions that the cattle and chickens are raised in and how their lives come to and end.  He also describes the extremely dangerous working conditions of these slaughter houses.  Long hours of fast paced work with no break and while operating dangerous machinery leads to many injuries that require hospital attention.  Often unable to receive workers comp benefits they return to work when they should be taking time to heal.

Other aspects discussed include food-borne illnesses and how the involved industries have influenced the ability to track the source and stop it from spreading, working conditions at fast food locations, and in chapter 5 “why the fries taste so good.”

The fries apparently “taste so good” because of their unique ingredient list.  Originally they were fried in oil and beef tallow but in 1990 they were switched to being cooked in 100% Vegetable oil.  So that means they became a vegetarian option then? Wrong, the natural flavoring added to McDonald’s fries is derived from beef! Something I did not know until reading this book.

I’d recommend that everyone go out and read this book, learn a little bit about where you food comes from and how it gets to your table.  The book is not biased towards vegetarianism as one may think it would be, alternatives to the typical beef factory are described and if you want to eat meat that was treated more humanely options do exist.

McDonald’s and the other fast food companies could demand that the products they sell came from free range, properly fed, and humanely treated animals, they could always demand better working conditions for the workers involved in getting the products to the stores.  The only way I can see these powerful companies begin to buy from companies that do what I just mentioned was if the consumer demand drastically shifted to wanted more humane choices in their meals.

My Favorite Cruelty Free Product

For me going cruelty is not simply about giving up eating  meat and fish, I made this choice because I don’t believe animals should be treated in the manner that they are.  I am slowly but surely converting to the use of all cruelty free (no animal tested) products.

The first product I switched was Burt’s Bees lip balm, and I couldn’t survive a  day without it!

Burt’s Bees makes products that make you feel good when you use them; and not just because their lip balm helps those dry chapped lips.  Their products are on average 99% natural, this beeswax lip balm is 100% natural, they do not test their products on animals, the packaging of the products is made in part from recycled materials, and they use a portion of the profits to give back to the community.

You can see right on each tube of lip balm, and all their other products the percent natural, and the portion of the packaging that is recycled.  Additionally, you will find the “Leaping Bunny” which easily informs consumers on which cosmetic, personal care, and household products are cruelty free.  (Check out their website for more information on how to shop cruelty free and to learn what companies have joined the program.)

When you find Burt’s Bees on the Leaping Bunny site you will see that it is a “Cruelty-free subsidiary of parent company that does not comply with the Leaping Bunny Standard.” Clorox (a non-cruelty free company) purchased Burt’s Bees a few years back but their commitment to the mission the produce all natural products with no animal testing seems to remain intact.

Please share any cruelty free products that you use, I’d love to discover more cruelty free addictions!!