Eating Meat, Eggs, And Dairy The Ethical Way – A Helpful Guide

If you want to play a part in off-setting these negative effects, finding ways to eat meat, dairy and eggs in a more ethical fashion can be a big help. You don’t have to give up your favorite foods altogether - but making some sensible changes can help to make a difference.

Over the last few years, research has revealed that Americans are making a concerted effort to eat more ethically, especially when it comes to meat and dairy. Approximately 1 in 4 Americans are striving to reduce their meat consumption, in response to revelations about the harmful nature of the meat industry – not only when it comes to animal welfare, but also its detrimental environmental effects.

What’s more, growing numbers of Americans are giving Veganuary a try each year. However, for those of us who simply can’t resist the allure of a juicy steak, succulent burger or roast chicken, the good news is that there are ways to eat meat ethically – and the same goes for dairy and eggs.

Not only will becoming better informed about your food help you take a step back from an often deeply unethical industry, but it can also result in a healthier diet, free from the hormones, antibiotics and other unknown nasties which factory farmed animals are fed on a regular basis.

Keen to kickstart your new, more informed diet? To begin making more ethical shopping choices today, read on for top tips on how to find ethically reared and produced meat, eggs and dairy products for you to feed to your family each week. But first, let’s take a quick look at the major problems associated with the global meat industry, so you can see what you would be saying ‘no’ to.

The Grim Reality Behind The Food On Your Plate

As you probably already know, there are a number of significant ethical issues revolving around the meat industry, and its offshoots of eggs, dairy, and seafood. These issues include:

  • Animal welfare abuses e.g. battery hens and pigs kept in tiny cages with no room to turn around; cruel methods of slaughter; and manipulations such as the forced moulting of hens which involves them being forcibly starved.
  • Carbon emissions caused by producing and transporting animal products.
  • The cutting and clearing of trees to grow crops to feed the animals involved in the industry. The demand for beef, in particular, is responsible for a shocking 41% of global deforestation.

Get To Grips With The Language Of Labels

While you may think that shopping more ethically is simply a matter of reading labels and choosing the most appealing – such as ‘cage-free’ or ‘naturally raised’ – the truth is that producers can often be misleading with their labelling in a bid to sound more ethical than they actually are. Check label even with halal meat delivery.

For instance, if you spot a package of chicken with the label ‘cage-free’ plastered on it, you may imagine that the animal in question was reared in an open meadow and slept comfortably each night in a spacious chicken coop with its companions. However, the truth behind this label may be a great deal less appealing. While the chicken may not have been kept in a cage before it was slaughtered, that doesn’t mean that it was kept in conditions that the average citizen would deem to be humane.

As for the term ‘naturally raised’, this is an attractive-sounding term but it’s also purposefully vague. While it used to indicate, pre-2016, that an animal had not been fed antibiotics and hormones when it was alive, this kind of label is no longer regulated, and so may not actually mean anything at all. It certainly doesn’t guarantee that the animal whose products you are eating was kindly or ethically raised.

So, if some labels can be misleading, what labels should you be looking for?

For example, when it comes to beef, it’s important to look for terms such as ‘grass-fed’ and ‘Regenerative Organic Certified’. Animals whose meat has been labelled in this way should have been reared on lush pastures, like the grass-fed beef produced by Meadow Run Farm, and should not have been fed a steady diet of hormones or antibiotics.

By doing your homework and researching what all of the different labels really mean, you have a much better chance of choosing ethically raised beef, pork and poultry, as well as eggs and dairy products.

Choose Meats With A Lower Carbon Footprint

As well as searching for animal products that come from ethical producers, it’s also a good idea to be more selective about what kinds of meat you consume.

For instance, did you know that beef contributes the highest amount of carbon emissions, at 50kg per 100 grams of protein? Meanwhile lamb and mutton produce less than half this amount, pork produces just 7.61kg and chicken produces 6kg.

As a result, if you are serious about wanting to eat more ethically, then you may want to think about considerably reducing the amount of beef and lamb that you eat, and opting for much more planet-friendly pork and poultry.

Cutting Down Your Overall Meat Consumption

Of course, the most effective way to lower your dietary carbon footprint, without switching entirely to vegetarianism, is to eat less meat altogether. This method of eating may be most appealing to those who simply can’t bear to do without fried chicken or the smell of bacon in the mornings, but who want to do their part for the planet.

No matter how fond you are of meat, making this kind of change doesn’t have to be traumatic to your palate. In fact, there are plenty of ways to reduce how much meat you eat on a weekly basis, without having to compromise the flavor and quality of your family meals. Here are some helpful tips to get you started.

  • Don’t make meat the main event. Focus on loading your plate with delicious veggies, and make meat the side dish instead.
  • Introduce more stews and casseroles. These types of dishes require much less meat and can include your choice of veggies and other nourishing ingredients. There are also plenty of mouth-watering vegetarian casserole recipes that you may just find become your new favorite weekly staples.
  • Try ‘meat-free Mondays’. Or any other day of the week – whichever works for you. You may even be able to build it up over time so that you end up eating meat just three or four times a week instead of every day.


There’s no denying that, in many cases, the meat industry is detrimental to our planet, and to large numbers of animals caught up in its machinations.

If you want to play a part in off-setting these negative effects, finding ways to eat meat, dairy and eggs in a more ethical fashion can be a big help. You don’t have to give up your favorite foods altogether – but making some sensible changes can help to make a difference.

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