Vegetarians and omnivores debate ‘ethical’ meat

by | Oct 3, 2014 | News

By Vanessa Campbell

The topic of ethically-raised meat and its merits was brought into question this week during Vegetarian Awareness Month.

Barbi Lazarus of the Toronto Vegetarian Association said ethically-raised meat doesn’t make a difference, but she appreciates that people are starting to become more sensitive to the treatment of animals in the meat industry.

“Regardless of whether or not it is better for the animal to be raised on a humane farm, the bottom line is you’re taking a life without any real cause or purpose,” said Lazarus.

Maria Milisavljevic moved to Canada in 2011 from Germany, where they provide more information about the product, including where the meat is from and what the animal was fed right on the label. She temporarily stopped eating meat when she arrived in Toronto until she could find a sustainable, humane and organic meat provider. Milisavljevic said that where her meat comes from does matter and that it makes all the difference; not for humane or ethical reasons, but for health and sanitary reasons.

In part 3 of Canada’s Meat Inspection Regulation there are a number of rules surrounding the treatment of animals including:

  • No food animal shall be handled in a manner that subjects the animal to avoidable distress or avoidable pain.
  • No goad or electrical prod shall be applied to the anal, genital or facial region of a food animal.
Free-range meat chickens seeking shade

Free-range meat chickens seeking shade

“My problem is when all the hormones and antibiotics aren’t being mentioned on the labels. I have a child, and growth hormones are found in almost all meat in the supermarket,” said Milisavljevic.

“My son loves to eat meat so in order to accommodate that I became more informed by becoming part of a food co-op. They have an eye on where my meat comes from and ensures that it’s organic, local and free of antibiotics.”

Milisavljevic said she would consider a vegetarian lifestyle, but her son and husband would not. She also added that because the price of ethical meat is substantially higher than its counterpart, she only eats it in moderation.

“I can make that choice for myself but not for the rest of my family so the least I can do is ensure that the meat they are eating is clean,” said Milisavljevic.