Modern mass production of meat, or factory farming, has become a key topic within climate discussions. Conventional meat production practices have a negative impact on the environment and raise concerns about ethical animal treatment. Restaurants like Amity, Oregon-based The Blue Goat work to change this narrative by supplying their meat from the restaurant owners’ very own sustainable small farm.
Factory farming is the practice of raising animals for consumption in confined spaces in order to bolster production. This practice is very stressful on animals and frequently leads to illness, requiring the use of antibiotics or other medication. Meat produced under these conditions is less expensive than sustainably raised meat, and the cheaper price commonly overshadows the significant ethical and environmental concerns.
Environmental Cost of Mass Meat Production
Conventional livestock production takes a big toll on the environment. Forty percent of the world’s land is utilized for raising meat for consumption, and it takes 150 gallons of water to produce a single hamburger. An even more shocking figure is the vast amount of greenhouse gases that result from meat production. It accounts for between 14 and 22 percent of the total 36 billion tons of greenhouse gases that are released into the environment every year.
Sustainably and Ethically Produced Meat
Many environmentally concerned individuals have stopped eating meat shifted eating habits away from meat consumption entirely. But the majority who still eat meat can make responsible choices. Ethical and environmental certification standards help you choose animal products that have a reduced effect on the environment. However, when eating out, it is up to the consumer to familiarize themselves with a restaurant’s practices if they hope to uphold any standards.
The restaurant The Blue Goat prioritizes sustainability and small-scale ethical meat production. Owners Dave and Cassie Van Domelen keep a careful eye on the environmental impact of their restaurant. They currently supply goat meat from their own farm, prioritizing ethical treatment and processing practices that use the whole animal.
The Van Domelens practice high-intensity rotational grazing on their farm. This grazing technique strategically shifts animals around to ensure high-quality grazing for the animals as well as sustainable land management. This allows for minimal environmental impact and healthier land for years to come.
Conscientious Meat Consumption
There’s no doubt that reducing the amount of meat we eat has environmental benefits. Eating sustainably raised and processed meat is the next best thing. Stay informed about how the meat you eat was raised and processed. Certifications and labels can help you determine the production company’s practices as well as the quality of the product.
Restaurants like The Blue Goat are helping to bring awareness of the harm of mass meat production to their communities. And they showcase the benefits of sustainable meat production through delicious meals.
The Blue Goat is featured in episode 4 of the Chew on That Sustainable Restaurant Series:
About the Author
Susie George resides in Salem, Oregon. She has a Sustainable MBA; is a co-founder and co-owner of Branching Together, a business that creates sustainable living products; and creator of Chew on That, a YouTube series dedicated to featuring different approaches to sustainability to collectively raise environmental awareness. The first five full episodes of Chew on That feature sustainable restaurants throughout Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Susie is passionate about harnessing the influence of business to create positive change.