Over the past few weeks we have been really diving into what constitutes green washing and why we should be aware of it. Something we have yet to cover though in this arena is the greenwashing of meat and animal products.
The first part of this I want to address is with brands of eggs that are free-range, pasture-raised and cage free. Their is no regulation over these terms. Now aside from that, the terms are misleading. They all sound the same right? Well, free-range actually just means the chickens can “have access” to pasture, and access constitutes literally a hole in a wall that they may not even fit out of, just that they have access to look outside qualifies them for this tier of labeling. Cage-free just means they quite literally don’t live in cages, but they still have inhumane conditions, living with only 1-2 ft of space per chicken, indoors for their entire lives. Pasture-raised is the only decent term in this which states they must have outdoor conditions for some portion of their lives, but since there are no standards in place, we don’t know as consumers how long or how often they are outdoors.
Grass-fed meat gives us the impression that it is not contributing to factory farming which is to blame for loads of methane in the atmosphere as well as endless amounts of grain which takes up space to grow. But grass-fed meat unless it is raised and purchased locally, is not a viable alternative for the environment to survive through. The animals that are grass-fed are being raised in places like the amazon, which means rainforests are destroyed at a constant rate all so that cattle can graze there, be slaughtered and then be shipped to us which is another contributing factor to climate change. Organic meat is no better. The meat and dairy industry has found a way to reach people who used to be vegetarian by pretending to be concerned with animal welfare and our environment, but like all greenwashing schemes, it is a facade. Locally-raised eggs, meat and dairy are the only somewhat-sustainable options for our planet.