While I was in China, I became a little (!) educated about factory farming. And I vowed that when I came back to the U.S., I would become an ethical meat eater (well, as ethical as you can be as a meat eater) — which would not be an easy option while living in China.
So now that I am back in the US of A, I’ve been seeking out free range chickens and eggs and all that good stuff. I often wonder if companies with clever packaging and liberal interpretation of words like “organic” and “no cage” are pulling a fast one on me. Because I am an ideal target for manipulative marketing: I’ve read and heard enough nightmare stories to know that the likes of KFC and Tyson are no good, but I’m too lazy to do thorough research on brands that claim to be better. I imagine there are a lot of consumers like me out there.
I’m taking the lazy approach and trusting Whole Foods for now. I’ve noticed that WF has this new (well, it’s new for me, maybe not for the rest of you) Animal Welfare Rating that tells you how the animal you’re about to consume has been raised, handled, and transported. You can read all about it here and here — it appears that the the ratings range from 1 through 5+, and higher is better. I do wish they made more of an effort to educate the consumers about the significance of these ratings, because I had to come home and use Google to figure out what the whole thing meant. Couldn’t they put up a sign or something near the meat section of the store? Why does everything need to be Googled these days?