Cheese again - mozarella this time
I just came across this:
Cruel Italian buffalo farms that'll put you off mozzarella for life* | Daily Mail Online
Appalling, isn't it?
Next time I want some mozarella, I'll look around for a locally-made product. I don't think farmers would be allowed to get away with that in England: animal husbandry standards are quite high here, as I think they are for our neighbours in Ireland. This just won't do.
It's not even so much the "health" questions here - the possible health questions for consumers eating the product when the animals are kept in insanitary conditions and, if the old lady in Italy who was interviewed is to be believed, there's a "toxic dump" nearby, too. It's the treatment of the animals that distresses - indeed, annoys - me.
And this is what POD status in the EU amounts to? Who cares where it comes and how "authentic" it is supposed to be in face of that suffering.
I want to say a couple more things. Maybe others won't agree with me, but here goes:
1. I think we have to be prepared to pay more for food. So in this case if I were to get mozarella from the happy free-range buffalo at Laverstock Park in England I'd probably have to pay rather more. So be it. And I think this goes in general. I fully appreciate that "do the best you can with the money you've got" is a good approach and people shouldn't be put off buying less than ideal raw ingredients if that's all their budgets allows and lapse into packaged food-like-substances. But there are limits to that. I think "be prepared to spend more on food and less on other things" might be a good motto, too. I think we're in the state we're in as a culture partly because food producers/supermarkets have concentrated on driving down prices before anything else.
2. I don't think we can separate human health, care for farm animals and care for the land. I think it's all tied together. I haven't got space or time to try to prove that, and someone like Joel Salatin would do it so much better than me that it's not worth my trying. But is it worth saying again?
I think that what goes round comes round. So take the example of farmers who feed antibiotics to their cows not for any medical reason but merely to promote fattening - or arsenic to chickens (for the same reason), which incredibly happens in some parts of the world. Maybe that puts a little more money in a farmer's pocket, but he and his family have to eat the food with the harmful residues in. And if he's savvy enough to avoid his own food, like enough it's getting in his drinking water. What goes round comes round. It's just short-sighted. And when you've degraded your land far enough, what do you do then?
I think that people don't realise this because they have a wrong conception of the nature of the world. They see everything as a zero-sum game - and it's not. They would probably see their cynicism as intelligent, as realistic - and it's not.