A few years ago I read a book called My Year of Meats by Ruth Ozeki. The novel follows a documentary filmmaker, Jane Takagi-Little, who is hired by the American beef industry to create a show for Japanese housewives called “My American Wife.” She travels the United States and films women cooking with meat (the producers tell her to keep in mind while choosing material that “Pork is Possible, but Beef is Best!”). However, as Jane gets more involved in the project, she gets more concerned about the product she’s selling to Japan, and starts investigating. She researches how the animals are raised, the antibiotics used, the slaughtering process. Needless to say, it is not a pretty picture. And although this is a novel, the research Ozeki did was based on current practices in the US meat industry.
Growing up, I always thought veal was the only animal that wasn’t humanely raised. As it turns out, in some cases veal can actually be raised humanely and that chicken, beef, and pork are just as inhumanely raised as traditional veal. Basically, there is no winning. Other than knowing where your food comes from.