As Catholics, are we called to be organic?


#1

Hey all. Due to curiousity, I recently watched a documentry entitled Food Inc. I do not consider myself a particularly “green” person and I enjoy consuming meat regularly.
But after watching the film and seeing the conditions animals are kept in as well as conditions the employees have to work in, I find myself a bit confused, disturbed, and dreading my next grocery shopping trip.

I worked for a large animal vet for 3 years and witnessed my share of disgusting farms where cows probably didn’t know what a blade of grass looked like (and were instead on a corn diet) and were ankle-deep in feces 24/7. Chickens are genetically manufactured to have humongous breasts and they can’t even walk correctly because of it. While I sympathize with the animals, I am also incredibly disturbed by the conditions of slaughter-houses and what exactly lingers in the food I feed my family.

I completely agree with the teaching that we have dominion over the beasts. But that means we also have the responsibility to their well-being. As Christians, aren’t we called to understand what we are buying, where it came from and how it was processed? I would also hate to think my money is going towards any of these mass-producers. The sad part is, organic food is so expensive. At this point in our lives, my husband and I cannot afford to buy all organic meat and veggies. I try here and there to buy it when I can, and only when it’s on sale. But for now, until we can afford to buy organic meat exclusively, I don’t want to even bother with anything else.

Blah I feel like I’m not forming my thoughts very well. Any input, my friends?


#2

The questions of organic meat, humanely-raised meat, and the ethical quantity of meat one can consume are three different issues....maybe more, if you consider that there are several reasons to consider when deciding how much meat to allow ourselves.

Country Natural Beef is a ranching co-op in Oregon that cannot be certified as organic, because the range lands the cattle are on is too far-reaching to certify that it is all sufficiently pesticide-free to meet the official standards of organically-raised meat. It seeks to be humanely-raised and slaughtered and sustainably-raised meat, however. countrynaturalbeef.com/


#3

Yup. Recently Christians in the evangelical movement are starting to think green.

Organic can be expensive. But you can start by buying food produced locally, which if nothing else, doesn’t put your hard earned cash into the pockets of those who abuse animals.

From now until October, farmers markets are almost everywhere! And they are fun to visit.


#4

Since Catholics are unquestionably called to be pro-life (human life, that is) I would rather concentrate on getting Catholics unified on abortion before worrying about this organic food nonsense. Would any of us actually sleep better knowing cows are being treated better, if human babies are still being torn limb from limb, and having their brains sucked out of their crushed skulls with a vacuum?


#5

**I don’t think we are called to be organic, You really can’t do too much about the farm next to yours spraying, and some of the spray is carried by the wind onto your farm making some of your crop not organic. And sometimes with a big infestation, you might just need to use a pesticide.

I do think however, that we are all called to be humane in our treatment of ALL God’s
creatures. Animals should be raised in a humane way, and they should be killed in a humane manner.

There is a farm here in my county run by three sisters. They raise all their animals with love and care. They want to be able to sell their grass fed animals to the public. So they would wait till there are two people that want to buy a side of whichever animal, then the animal would be killed in an unstressed, humane manner. The gov. won’t let them do it. The gov. wants them to ship their animal four hours away to be killed and processed if they want to sell to the public.

The sisters wanted to sell raw filtered milk to people who wanted to buy it. Gov. won’t let them do that either. You can only drink the milk if you own the cow. So 15 people bought a “piece” of the cow so they could have fresh raw milk, gov. won’t let them do that either.

The sisters’ farm is continually checked, it meets all standards, they have humanely raised animals that people want to buy, but the gov. won’t let them.

If the gov. would mostly get out of people’s lives, let them sell a product that people want to support and buy, I think small humane farms would really take off. I think most people, given a choice, would buy humanely raised and killed animals.**


#6

I am not convinced that all things labeled as organic are necessarily grown in the conditions they claim, nor do I think they are necessarily healthier. Also, the last batch of organic cereal I bought was infested with bugs which proceeded to infest my pantry, and I found out this is a problem with organically grown foods, moreso than with others. I had to throw out a lot of infested dry food.

The food is very expensive and often is not of the best quality. I think the best bet for organic food is to grow your own, if you can, but I am not convinced about the stuff in the grocery store.


#7

From chemistry I remember that "organic" refers to carbon compounds.

Aren't we already born (and not just called) to be organic? :D


#8

[quote="Krakatoa, post:4, topic:249713"]
Would any of us actually sleep better knowing cows are being treated better...

[/quote]

As a Catholic who grew up in a family of Catholic dairy farmers, who's milked and nursed and birthed and fed and fretted over and slaughtered any number of dairy cows (and hogs and chickens and goats), yeah, I'd sleep a lot better knowing that every single farm animal is living and dying in humane conditions.


#9

[quote="Erich, post:7, topic:249713"]
From chemistry I remember that "organic" refers to carbon compounds.

Aren't we already born (and not just called) to be organic? :D

[/quote]

Well, that terminology came from the belief that organic compounds couldn't be artificially synthesized. That turned out to be a rather large misconception!


#10

[quote="Krakatoa, post:4, topic:249713"]
Since Catholics are unquestionably called to be pro-life (human life, that is) I would rather concentrate on getting Catholics unified on abortion before worrying about this organic food nonsense. Would any of us actually sleep better knowing cows are being treated better, if human babies are still being torn limb from limb, and having their brains sucked out of their crushed skulls with a vacuum?

[/quote]

Yeah, but you know, they pass laws against cruelty to animals because experience shows that people who end up as serial killers usually start by torturing animals. It isn't a stretch to believe there is a connection between having empathy for babies in the womb and having sympathy for animals whose welfare is entirely dependent upon their keepers. One of the strongest pro-life avocates I know takes care to buy eggs from farmers whose chickens are treated at least a little better than the others. It makes this all worth considering.

"He said cruelty was the devil's own trade-mark, and if we saw any one who took pleasure in cruelty we might know who he belonged to, for the devil was a murderer from the beginning, and a tormentor to the end. On the other hand, where we saw people who loved their neighbors, and were kind to man and beast, we might know that was God's mark."
— Anna Sewell (Black Beauty)

"My doctrine is this, that if we see cruelty or wrong that we have the power to stop, and do nothing, we make ourselves sharers in the guilt."
— also Anna Sewell


#11

Since organic foods are sometimes shipped great distances, it has been argued that buying local produce that is not certified can consume less and leave less of an environmental mark than buying something certified organic that had to be shipped. It is not a simple equation.


#12

As far as a call for Catholics, I think there is much to be said about urging people to buy local. It fits with the whole principle of subsidiarity. Organic doesn’t seem to be an issue, especially when it comes to produce. I do try to buy organic dairy products but that is more for the concern about hormones than as a faith issue.


#13

[quote="EasterJoy, post:11, topic:249713"]
Since organic foods are sometimes shipped great distances, it has been argued that buying local produce that is not certified can consume less and leave less of an environmental mark than buying something certified organic that had to be shipped. It is not a simple equation.

[/quote]

That was my point, actually: buying locally may not be organic, but it's LOCAL and directly helps your community, as well as the rest of the planet.


#14

[quote="Krakatoa, post:4, topic:249713"]
Since Catholics are unquestionably called to be pro-life (human life, that is) I would rather concentrate on getting Catholics unified on abortion before worrying about this organic food nonsense.

[/quote]

The world is an incredibly big place, you know. There are all sorts of different things we can do to make it better.


#15

Exactly. In terms of the welfare of the entire planet, it may accomplish more good.


#16

[quote="lo_amo87, post:1, topic:249713"]
Hey all. Due to curiousity, I recently watched a documentry entitled Food Inc. I do not consider myself a particularly "green" person and I enjoy consuming meat regularly.

But after watching the film and seeing the conditions animals are kept in as well as conditions the employees have to work in, I find myself a bit confused, disturbed, and dreading my next grocery shopping trip.

I worked for a large animal vet for 3 years and witnessed my share of disgusting farms where cows probably didn't know what a blade of grass looked like (and were instead on a corn diet) and were ankle-deep in feces 24/7. Chickens are genetically manufactured to have humongous breasts and they can't even walk correctly because of it. While I sympathize with the animals, I am also incredibly disturbed by the conditions of slaughter-houses and what exactly lingers in the food I feed my family.

I completely agree with the teaching that we have dominion over the beasts. But that means we also have the responsibility to their well-being. As Christians, aren't we called to understand what we are buying, where it came from and how it was processed? I would also hate to think my money is going towards any of these mass-producers. The sad part is, organic food is so expensive. At this point in our lives, my husband and I cannot afford to buy all organic meat and veggies. I try here and there to buy it when I can, and only when it's on sale. But for now, until we can afford to buy organic meat exclusively, I don't want to even bother with anything else.

Blah I feel like I'm not forming my thoughts very well. Any input, my friends?

[/quote]

My husband and I recently bought a half cow and half pig from a local farm that raises free-range, grass-fed animals that are free from hormones, antibiotics, etc. They are allowed outside and live a HUMANE life and eat what God intended them to eat (grass, go figure!) and since we bought in bulk it's cheaper than buying the individual cuts of organic meat from the store. Yes, I could still have saved money by buying abused, hormone-filled, antibiotic injected meat from the supermarket that comes on sale, but grass-fed meat not only tastes better, it is better for you! I could go on this topic for a while, but research grass fed meat and you will learn a lot and maybe find a farm nearby where you can buy bulk meat like we did. I feel so much better knowing I'm not giving my money to tycoons like Tyson that have a rep for raising chickens in very inhumane conditions that are filthy and disgusting.

Also, I believe as Christians we are called to do our best to ensure humane treatment of animals as they are precious creatures also created by God. Organic is ridiculously expensive so it is hard. Just do what you can with what resources you have available, that's all really any of us can do.


#17

I am not saying that we should spend any less time concentrating on getting rid of abortion. Since we are Catholic, we are called to try and live up to our Catholic lifestyle in all ways. When I am at the grocery store picking out what to feed my family, I’d like to know what I’m buying. You won’t see me protesting outside Tyson. But if I have the knowledge not to buy from certain companies, I feel that not only ensures a safer meal for my family, but makes me feel better knowing my money isn’t going in the pockets of those who would have animals penned together without sunlight and stuffed with hormones and antibiotics.

Being Pro-life is a no-brainer (or at least it should be for all Catholics). Of course abortion is horrible. But that doesn’t mean I can’t worry about animals living in their own feces, that then bring such contamination to a filthy slaughterhouse and therefore fascilitates the spread of e-coli which could end up on my dinner table and harm my family. I think we should care about where our food comes from and how it was prepared as well as support our local farmers.


#18

The largest profit possible motive that results in large confinement also leads to plenty of human misery. Certainly examine you budget and look for a local farm to support as much as you can. Since "organic" is now so trendy and profitable lots of big farms bend the rules and manipulate the USDA to get that premium. I would focus on local. But organic will not save the world, all non-organic farmers are not evil reckless profit mongers, etc. I happen to work on an organic farm and we get young volunteers all the time that are looking for something meaningfull in life and think an organic farm is utopia (these are not usually people who believe in God and their desperation to find something to devote themselves to is often evident) It is simply a counter-swing of the pendulum, a possible tool, unfortunatly you probably need to evaluate every farm on its own merits and ask if the people are employed fairly, are the animals treated humanly, etc. Don't loose sight of our real goal-heaven.


#19

[quote="EasterJoy, post:11, topic:249713"]
Since organic foods are sometimes shipped great distances, it has been argued that buying local produce that is not certified can consume less and leave less of an environmental mark than buying something certified organic that had to be shipped. It is not a simple equation.

[/quote]

I've been on non-organic dairy farms where the cows are doused in pesticides from planes spraying neighboring cotton farms. Some might argue that this has no detrimental effect on the animals, to which I always reply, "Fantastic, you drink the milk that comes from them then. This leaves more of the organic stuff for me and my family." :)


#20

I think what they do to animals in the food industry is evil, and I think those that torture animals have their own special place in Hell. I don’t think anyone can convince me otherwise.

Yes, it bothers me. That’s why we grow our own beef. And we try to patronize our local farmers. If it bothers you and you want to make a difference, try to patronize your local farmer for your meat and chicken. Maybe go halves on a steer with someone. A lot of farmers don’t need the whole steer and look for people to split one with. I think it’s a lot cheaper than you might think. Same thing for pork.

Some animals are really easy and cheap to raise. The slaughter cost makes the cost per pound to be cheaper than what we pay in the store.

Chicken is more tricky. Sometimes you can’t beat big brother’s sales on chickens. But if you go in on it with someone, and do it correctly, you can do almost as well.

Tuscany, are you talking about cow-shares, farm-shares? Where do you live that shares are illegal? Cow-shares, goat-shares, farm-shares are an excellent way for people to get in touch with their food…some kids think milk was born in those cartons :eek:


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