A carnivore rethinks his eating ethics

By Douglas Brown The Denver Post

We all have heard horror stories about the way livestock are sometimes raised in this country: chickens stuffed into cages for their short lives, pigs never allowed to see the sky or feel the sun on their backs, thousands of cattle standing shoulder-to-shoulder in pens knee-deep in mud and their own waste.

I don't know much about these places, called concentrated animal feeding operations. Are the stories true? I have not done enough homework and am not qualified to pass judgment.

I am familiar, on the other hand, with a single ranch on an Indian reservation in Wyoming where the cattle spend most of their lives roaming a sprawling range of grass, where osprey and eagles wheel above cows and calves and wolves and bears. Iam comfortable with Arapaho Ranch, a place that nurtures its cattle until the day they are shipped off to slaughter.

Working on the cover story for this week's Food section changed the way I buy food.

I eat meat. I savor how it tastes, I appreciate its textures, I sometimes feel compelled toward it, especially if I encounter the aromas from somebody's backyard barbecue.

But I feel compassion toward the animals I consume too.


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