Posted: March 5th, 2009 | Author: Peter | Filed under: culture, introspection, vegetarian | No Comments »
We all use labels. They help us identify. They keep life simpler (or try to). It’s often an innate survival tactic:
Baptist, Methodist, Catholic, emerging, Emergent, Pentecostal, non-denominational, Bible-believing, Born-Again, Evangelical, Agnostic, Buddhist, Star Trek Fan…
A friend showed me a great website on both humane and green, eco-oriented certifications for consumer goods. It’s a service from Consumer Reports.
It’s amazing how many “claims” from companies are really unfounded, or exploitations of technicalities and loopholes.
Did you know: The “free-range” label doesn’t necessarily mean the animals ever went outdoors.
Free range (or free roaming) is a general claim that implies that a meat or poultry product, including eggs, comes from an animal that was raised in the open air or was free to roam. Its use on beef is unregulated and there is no standard definition of this term. Free range is regulated by the USDA for use on poultry only (not eggs) and USDA requires that birds have been given access to the outdoors but for an undetermined period each day. USDA considers five minutes of open-air access each day to be adequate for it to approve use of the free range claim on a poultry product. “Free range” claims on eggs are not regulated at all.
I had dinner with a friend last night who didn’t know I was practicing vegetarianism (I did admit to a few exceptions I had made… ). He asked if I thought he was a bad person or would be horrified if he ordered steak. I answered, “Of course not. This is my conviction. And it took me 29 years to even begin to think I needed to make a change. I don’t expect this to occur to everyone, overnight.” He had the steak, which was fine. And looked tasty.
I’m glad Consumer Reports has this site. It makes me think of so many churches out there (as well as Christian books and magazines) that claim to be “progressive” or [ahem] “relevant.” An editor from one of those magazines once reminded me, “You have to realize, most of our readers are fundamentalists in liberal clothing.”
We all like to attain to something “higher” or “better” or “beyond” ourselves. That’s part of following Jesus. But when we claim something that we aren’t genuinely, authentically working toward (like compassion, or kindness) and just like the idea of the idea… then it’s a load of B.S. and the words are meaningless. That’s when labels become confusing, unhelpful, and downright deceiving.