I want to invest in my future. I want to know where my food comes from and know that it's healthy. I want to know that the products I choose to buy are from local vendors and are supporting MY community. I want to know that everyone involved in producing my food and material goods are being treated fairly and are not facing harsh chemical exposure every day they are at work. I don't think this is too much to ask. Not at all!
In India, the sacred cow is a big deal. I'm sure you've heard about this. Cows are only grass/hay fed - no corn. They have a lot of land to wander on and it's rotated so that the land isn't wasted or all barren at the same time. Cow will be in one spot for a few months eating the grass and pooping there and then he is moved along to another section. The old section will now regrow grass because the poop acts as fertilizer for the grass. See the rotation here? Nothing is wasting, it is sustaining itself. Once the cow has been milked for life and is ready for slaughter, it is not a slice and dice to get the fattest piece of meat and discard the rest. The cow parts are all used for something. The bones, the horns of bulls, the hide, everything. Cow dung can even be used to make energy! Why aren't we doing this? Ok, let me back up.. thinking even simpler.. These cows need caring for, right? They obviously can't milk themselves or rotate themselves into the next field when it's time. Women did this work, they are/were the nurturers and caregivers for the cows. See where I'm going with this?
In recent decades, in a move to get more meat to satisfy the needs of carnivores, cows are being fed corn in a trough and are being held in one spot for days on end. They are standing ankles deep in their dung eating corn all day. #1 corn is not meant to be ingested by cows. It causes all sorts of intestinal issues. #2 the dung stays on the rear and the feet until slaughter = infection spreading. Corn fattens cows up faster so that they can go to slaughter sooner. There is job creation here. Women have lost their nurturing jobs and now there are men in the slaughter house with lots of jobs. The new method of managing cattle has created some jobs but has hurt women in this sector. There is also much waste when using this process. The remaining parts of the cow are fed to the other cows and the sheep. You read that, the nasty poop stained cow parts are fed to other animals to spread infection and grossness between species. (Hello mad-cow disease!)
Why does this matter? Because the US and UK are the biggest importers of meat when their own supplies are low. When the cows all had to be slaughtered in the 1990s because of mad-cow, the demand was insane. Meat was imported from everywhere. The Western ideals were being pushed on other countries that have better methods for dealing with their meat. Our way is not the good way. Let the small farmers manage their cows in a humane way that gives them a good, clean quality of life before they become our product for consumption. I'm lucky enough to live in an area where getting local meat and produce isn't very difficult. I know that for some folks this is probably extremely difficult though.
We could create farming jobs and put more people to work tending the cattle and distributing the parts appropriately after slaughter. That wouldn't be so bad, right? Oh wait, this is the USA and everyone thinks that farming is low status and lame. Psht, someone has to farm so that you can eat, so stop being a bitch about it. Everyone wants to make so much money but what good is the money if you are treating animals poorly and wasting resources - not to mention poisoning yourself with chemicals and corn-fed cows. (OMG I'm a nut case, aren't I?)
The short version: try to buy local and try to expand your mind to think about all the things that we are wasting by not using them to their full potential. Try NOT BUYING anything until what you have is broken. No new cell phone until the current one doesn't work. No new tv until yours is not functional. How about furniture? If it isn't failing you, why replace it every year? We don't have to buy buy buy all the time!