Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Stage 2: Enriched indoor environment

Procrastinating on a project I am supposed to deliver to a client this morning (its complete, but I don’t like it; therefore, I am stirring up some better options for them) I took the chicken I am going to make for dinner out of the freezer. The logo is of a horse drawn carriage and underneath it says, “Raised in Amish Country, Pennsylvania.” I remember checking out this logo at the Whole Foods where I bought it. It says nothing on the label about whether or not growth hormones have been added, or if they add other things to plump them up. So, I asked a meat guy who happened to be standing there. He said, “Oh no, the Amish don’t add anything to anything. Its good.” I dismissed my fleeting thought of, Amish, yeah right, they have a plastic wrapping and shipping company? Its not really Amish. I don’t care if the chickens are Amish or not, just that they aren’t pumped full of stuff that will give my 5 year old boobs.

This morning I noticed something new. On the pricing label it says, “Animal welfare rating. Step 2 - Enriched Indoor Environment.” It made me chuckle a little and wonder what rating my life would be given.

Enriched Indoor Enviroment. That sounds pretty good, right? Probably better than than the average chicken - an enriched life. Really though, do I really care? I mean the thing just got pulled out of my freezer, dead, so I can cook it for dinner. Do I REALLY give a care about how enriched its pathetic life was? What kind a scale is this anyway? SOOOOO, I goggled it and here is what I found out:


The Global Animal Partnership is a non-profit organization dedicated to continually improving the lives of farm animals raised for meat. They have developed the 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating™ that rates how pigs, chickens and cattle are raised. Ratings for other species (turkeys, lamb, and others) are in development, so stay tuned.

Step 1: No crates, no cages, no crowding. Like people, animals need a little "personal space" to be comfortable.

Step 2: Enriched environment. It's the simple things that keep animals active and engaged — like a bale of straw for chickens to hide behind and climb on, a bowling ball for pigs to manipulate and shove around, or a few sturdy objects for cattle to rub against when they need a good scratch.

Step 3: Enhanced outdoor access. Pigs and chickens still live in buildings but they all — yes, each and every one of them — have access to outdoor areas where they can catch a few rays.

Step 4: Pasture centered. Chickens need to forage, pigs need to wallow and cattle need to roam. They can do all of these things when they live outdoors and have shelter — and of course, a view!

Step 5: Animal centered; all physical alterations prohibited. Animals get to live their lives with all the parts they were born with, and nothing else! No nose rings, no clipping, no snipping and no branding.

Step 5+:Animal centered; entire life on same farm. Animals are born and live their entire lives on one farm. Pigs and cattle are slaughtered on the farm, and chickens are transported only short distances (because you can't herd chickens!).

The way I read this is that, if you have a Stage 5 chicken, then everything they don't do, they do to the stage before, compounding down the scale. Therefore, Stage 1-4 chickens all have nose rings. My chicken, the one that implies it was raised on a Amish farm, is really one step away from chicken hell; its not Amish, and it’s never seen the sun.

Bon Appetit!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Smashed Up Red Cars

About a week ago I started out on a short trip (long journey). I was traveling through many states over the course of a few days. 5 minutes into the trip and I saw a smashed up red car on a long-bed tow truck. It was the same model and color of car as someone I know; luckily, this someone is 2928 miles away, not the exact car. It was a terrible site. I could not imagine what happened to it. How many times was it hit? Did it flip? I felt rather certain, that the driver did not fare well. The drivers seat was completely smashed. It made me feel sick, even a little faint. I thanked God that it was not someone I knew and prayed for those struggling through whatever tragedy had happened.

Over seven years ago we left family and friends to move to NY. Two years later we landed in CA. There it took me years to find my footing. Recently, we up and moved back to FL, but starting over in a whole new town - again. Through these transitions, and most recently with the last move, one idea has been at the forefront of my thoughts. God is not that concerned with our comfort. I know that sounds like God is not concerned about us, but what I am trying to say is that he is not concerned with our comfort. These are two different things. He’s not dwelling in me saying, “Jodi, I just want you to be happy.”

God’s concerns do not mimic our concerns. His view of the world is so much greater than we can comprehend. I have heard so many people say, “I think God would want me to be happy.” I always think, but have never said,
What makes you think THAT? Sure, he wants everyone to find happiness, but not at any cost, and really, in my opinion, it’s not even that big of a concern to him. Do you think that Noah was thinking how amazing living on the arch along with two of every animal was going to be? When Jesus sent the disciples out in two’s to teach not allowing them to take provisions because they were to find food and shelter as needed (luke 10:1-24), did this make the disciples feel comfy-cozy? Paul looks on the end of his life and states, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Tim 4:7) It was a long, struggling road for Paul, just as it is for us. We really need to look no further than God’s only son. Jesus’ life was nothing about comfort and happiness; his life was about pure sacrifice, for us. It makes me wonder where we get the idea that “God would want me to be happy.” The truth is, God WILL help you find contentment in every situation. Also, he will lead you out of situations that cause you to be unproductive for His glory. If you’re in a constant state of sin and stress, how can you be fulfilling your purpose for which he designed you? He designed each of us for His glory and His purpose. He wants you to succeed in your purpose, and that is His concern.

The story of Lazarus is one of my favorite. Quick recap (John 11:1-45): Jesus is in another town and he gets word that his friend Lazarus is sick and dying. Jesus purposely stays away because he knows that Lazarus is going to die, and he knows that he is going to bring him back to life; perform a miracle to the witnesses of those whom love Lazarus. When he arrives, Martha (Lazarus’s sister) comes to Jesus and yells at him for not coming sooner (she knew Jesus could heal him). When Jesus comes to the place where the mourners are mourning, he is so overwhelmed by the sadness that, it is written, Jesus wept (John 11:35). Now, he KNOWS he is going to raise him from the dead. He KNOWS he is minutes away from a funeral to a celebration, but because of the pain and sorrow that those there are exhibiting, he stops and weeps with them. He does not stop all things that cause sorrow. He may not intervene in our deepest tragedy, but he is there with us. He will share in your pain, share in the suffering, and if you ask for it, he will give you wisdom and discernment to deal with your pain. At the same time, he KNOWS the next thing that is going to happen for us; he set it up. Salvation.

Salvation is God’s greatest concern. THIS is where we are meant to be completely and blissfully happy. THIS is where we will never know sadness, or pain, or suffering. When you read the bible, notice that things are not easy for those that Jesus has the most contact with and that know and love him as Lord, his disciples.

One smashed up red car, so mangled it was nauseating. The up-side? It made me more aware of how alert I needed to be while traveling. It reminded me of my blessings and how one accident can change everything. It made me pray that my friend has a long and satisfying life; thankful I saw another’s car. Time is short, but salvation is everlasting. Don’t worry about your comfort. Invite God into all areas of your life and He will help you find contentment in all things. It is a promise that Godly contentment will be far greater than any comfort the world can provide.

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. - Phil 4:12-13