I’ve had animals for as long as I can remember. I grew up eating not just locally, but really locally with fresh fruits and vegetables from our own garden. I also remember my grandparents cooking from their garden as well as animals raised on their land. Personally experiencing how well (and how badly) animals can be treated as well as having a interest in helping my family be healthy this information from the ASPCA is one which all families need to know. The message about animal cruelty and adopting a #ShelterPet is one that has gained ground in recent years, but the ASPCA is concerned with the welfare of farm animals as well.
Here are five simple ways to become a more aware and welfare-conscious consumer when shopping for your family’s groceries.
Eat Seasonally – Eating foods in season means that you’re able to buy from a more local economy and avoid having your food ship from other countries. This means fresher foods picked at peak ripeness too!
Shop Locally – CSA’s and local farmers’ markets help support local, often smaller scale, farmers and ranchers who are producing outside of the traditional factory-farm system. If you aren’t sure where to start, visit your local farmers’ market and start asking some questions – this guide will get you started. https://www.aspca.org/shopwithyourheart/consumer-resources/how-shop-farmers-market
Conquer Labeling Confusion – Marketers create confusion with their flashy labels and clever catch-phrases. But unfortunately, sometimes they care more about finances than transparency. Words like “natural” or “humane” often don’t have any oversight to actually tell you as a consumer anything concrete. However, some phrases and labels do have regulations associated with their use, and that’s what you can start to look for as a savvy shopper. Here’s a guide to labeling to get you started. https://www.aspca.org/shopwithyourheart/consumer-resources/meat-eggs-and-dairy-label-guide
Be Careful to Minimize Waste – One of the ways we can treat the animals used for food respectfully and humanely is by making the most of the food we purchase. Purchase only what you know you’ll use and serve the right sized portions to avoid wasting what your family buys. https://www.aspca.org/sites/default/files/the_good_groceries_guide_final_version.pdf
Look for Certifications That Mean Something – Unlike marketing gimmicks there are certain certifications and awards that have true meaning. For example the USDA Organic label shows that the produce grown (or fed to the animal) didn’t use banned pesticides. Others include Animal Welfare Approved or Certified Humane
We have also included 2 or more vegetarian meals a week in our diet. Last night was a cheese and spinach tortellini pasta with chunky tomato and basil sauce. It was so good to have a “meatless meal” for a change. The family is even interested in me bringing back or “Meatless Monday” so we remember to take a break.
See The Good Groceries Guide for more information about how our shopping habits impact the lives of those around us – animals included. https://www.aspca.org/sites/default/files/the_good_groceries_guide_final_version.pdf
Find more resources for savvy shoppers at the ASCPA Shop With Your Heart website! https://www.aspca.org/shopwithyourheart/consumer-resources
And don’t forget to enter to win some fun items from the ASPCA!