Well, really, the choices you make for your companion animals can save the world. You know many of them and have shared many with me – sustainably raised food ingredients, locally sources beds and toys, visiting the ill/infirm/aged and so many more.
Here is a different slant on how your feeding choices (and maybe others you will share here) make a difference for the life of our planet. You may be overwhelmed be the choices I cover in this article – if so, skip to the very end for a few specific steps you can take.
Dr. Becker interviewed Alison Holloran of the Audubon Conservation Ranching Initiative about restoring the grasslands of the prairies which will improve our ecosystem as the lives of many endangered species.
I have known of the Central Flyway for a long time, and there are many organizations working to provide birds/Monarch butterflies (toll roads in Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota are planting milkweed)/ contiguous lands to fly from Canada to Mexico or further. Wikipedia, Flyways, There are other flyways that need the same type of help, such as the Mississippi, Atlantic and Pacific. This interview sparked more interest in how our choices for our companion animals affect all life on the planet.
Audubon is requesting that ranchers in the central flyway area make changes to benefit local wildlife and migrating species. One problem of ranchers is keeping their offspring on the ranch, as prices plummet for meats and the degraded environment makes it harder to make a profit (my comment). Allison says, ”
You have organic, you have non-GMO. But there really isn’t a stamp on any beef that says, ‘You’re doing good things for grasslands,’ or ‘You’re not only doing organic, you’re not only doing GMO-free, hormone-free, or whatever you want to call it, but you’re also doing something for the environment’.”
“Organic doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good for the environment, hormone-free is good for you as a consumer [and for your carnivores]. Eating the beef, you know you’re not eating any chemicals and hormones. But the habitat piece is missing. That’s what we’re trying to bring to the market and see the benefit to the rancher in higher prices for their beef.”
So you can help by telling farmers and ranchers that you are willing to pay more for the meat that is raised in ways to help the flyways (and this is true for all areas, not just there). Make your own toys rather than buying them and spend that on food – other ideas?
Allison goes on to show the other benefits to you –
“When you buy beef that has habitat sustainability, you know that our protocols will also have some animal husbandry protocols with them to see that the animal was treated fairly its whole life.”
“And you know that this cow is healthier than, say, a feedlot cow that’s been injected with hormones, and left at a feedlot for the last months of its life to finish out and fatten. In contrast, this cow you’re eating has been pasture-raised or grass-finished.”
“If we have healthy grasslands, we’ll have healthy ecosystems, which means healthy populations of people. You can’t have dirty air and dirty water and think our human population is going to cope with it well. We’re just not.”
“You’re part of this. If we have a healthy ecosystem, your children are going to be healthy, and so are your grandchildren.”
I am excited for another way to have our food selection criteria help the planet. We already have talked about the mental/emotional health (humane certified), organic (multiple certifiers but best is to visit the farm/talk with the farmer), free range (great article on what this really means for beef) and I was astounded to learn that the free range chickens were mostly fed grains which mostly were GMO/glyphosate, origin of the meat label requirement was recently stopped (buy local and avoid this), Animal Welfare approved, cage free, etc. Labels are confusing (this article helps) because producers find ways to get around the requirements as the language may all loopholes and following guidelines can be expensive to no real benefit.
Recently I read Last Stand, a book about Ted Turner’s deep environmental commitment in both the West and the East and was thrilled to see the many ways he is working to restore the grasslands, even bringing back bison and prairie dogs (took some heavy convincing of the neighboring ranchers for that one). Anything we can do to help our planet be healthier and more spiritually well will help our cherished companions be healthier. They are the “canaries in the mine” and the cancer and other chronic diseases that kill them at young ages are merely a preview of what we see now in people.
This is why I so recommend making your dogs, cats, ferrets and other mammals part of your wholesome fresh food ingredient shopping. For all life in your house, shop at the farms so you can see how the animals are raised. Are they happy? Are they slaughtered humanely? One farm in Georgia where I taught a 3 day homeopathy class made sure that when their cows were slaughtered there were no other cows present, and they energetically cleaned (I think smudged) the facility to remove the “fear” hormone smell. There is no “right” way, there is the intent to live consciously – for all our decisions.
What we feed our omnivores/carnivores/ourselves is totally under our control. If you live in the city, or you are short on money, or limited in mobility…you can still carefully shop in a store (though not the best) or ask a friend to shop for you at the farm/farmer’s market (Have to ask lots of questions there – especially of the other vendors – once, in an Amish market I was chatting with the horseradish seller, then said I needed to find offal for my cats and asked him who treated their cows the best. He laughed, saying they all got their cows from the auction house then butchered them in their own way…oh no, there is one farmer who raises his own. That was an education for me!).
If you are buying ingredients in a store, take time to get in a meditative frame of mind, then look for the “happy vegetable and meat packages”, according to Dr. Bill Pollack of Iowa. What is important is to be in a grateful, reverential frame of mind.
One more thing you can do – if you do not have access to the farmer to assure your meat was raised in the most sustainable way – is to offer Reiki (or pray, or bless, or thank) to the food when unpacking, then when preparing, and finally when serving.
www.Eatwild.com (Jo Robinson’s site) is a good resource for healthy foods, though being listed there does not say if the meat was raised in a way to restore the grazing landscape. Joel Salatin’s, Holy Cows and Hog Heaven, and Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable and Miracles are good books on farming in ways that honor the vegetables and meats raised on a farm in sustainable ways.
You can and do make an environmental difference every time you make a purchase. We, not merely Audubon, Sierra Club or other organizations, are the drivers of how companies run their businesses.
- Buy local to make your own and ask a lot of questions, even visiting the farm if possible. State department of agricultures have good websites. www.EatWild.com has good listings, as do other sites.
- Visit a local holistic pet store (or call one who is too far away but still in your area, or people health food store may know, too) to ask about local food sources and quality.
- If still feeding processed, call the company and the local holistic pet store.
- Save money to spend on higher quality pet foods by feeding fresh as much as you can, making your own toys and bedding, buying used bedding, vaccinating less, not using expensive flea/tick chemicals (that hurt the planet), being thoughtful about heartworm preventative and having FUN with your companions rather than worrying about every detail.