Veganism/affording the lifestyle
I have recently become convicted of giving money (buying products) to companies which practice horrible treatment of animals. I don't really have a problem with people eating animals in general, but am disgusted by how the animals are treated. I don't really know anyone to talk to, so hope you don't mind me writing a long thought / question.
I am making the transition to vegetarian pretty smoothly, vegan will be harder and I'm not even trying that right now. Trying to buy eggs and dairy from companies I know are humane (how can I find that out more confidently?). There is no way I am going to convince my husband and sons at this point to give up meat. My thought then was to buy organic, natural, meat from local farmers or ones I know are humane. Then I went to the store and found the meat at like $9/ lb. I am so discouraged, I can't possibly afford that. I would love some suggestions.
Thank you for reaching out to me about your concerns over the treatment of animals and vegetarianism. I completely agree that factory-farmed animals are severely mistreated. I feel for them because their lives are miserably short with death as a constant companion.
Karen, I applaud you for making the transition to vegetarianism. That's a huge first step in the right direction. You're also aware of the cruelty that exists within the dairy and egg industries which is why you want to find "humane" alternatives. However, the word "humane" is nothing but a buzzword to make consumers feel less guilty about purchasing dairy, meat, and egg products. No farmer or meat company can offer the consumer a "humane" cut of beef because the act of slaughtering an animal cannot be done in a "humane" manner, even if said animal was raised with all the love a human can give it and it had all the space it wanted to move around in. You know why? Because that animal will have to endure being slaughtered and slaughtering is a nasty act that can't be done in a kind manner.
For example, let's pretend aliens visited our planet and offered us a humane way to slaughter a cow. They explain that a cow could be put to sleep and kept happily dreaming while it has its throat cut. On top of that they assure us the cow would not feel any pain whatsoever during the procedure. Sounds good, right? Wrong! One can't even call that "humane slaughter" since the "act" itself is violent, because it involves taking a life and it's a betrayal to the animal who, we assume for this experiment, has formed a bond with its human owner, if we assume the cow was raised with kindness and love.
Now, addressing your situation: since your husband and sons eat meat and paying $9/lb for organic meat is too expensive, then I would suggest you give your sons less meat or rather the government serving size, which for any meat is 3 ounces or the equivalent of a deck of playing cards. Buy a deck of cards and place it in your hands to really understand this portion size. Then fill the rest of the plate with a lot of fiber-rich veggies to help move along the undigested remains through their colons. Your sons will consume less meat over time thus eating fewer animals in the long run. Make dishes that use less meat such as pasta and ground beef. Mix your world with your husband's. There's no reason why they can't eat both.
On the other hand, some will argue that game meat such as deer is less cruel than factory-farmed meat because they don't suffer the same abuses. However, they do have their lives taken from them just as violently in some cases depending on a hunter's method of killing.
Perhaps your eating habits will serve as an example to your children. They may want to try some of your dishes, which you can always serve right next to their beef or chicken. Of course it'll take time to bring about change and it may never come. You'll just have to accept that.
By all means visit your local farmer's market and see what you can find there. You can sometimes get really good deals. Build a relationship with a local farmer who lets his cows graze. He may offer you a discount if you're a loyal customer. Haggle if you have to.
I hope this helps you in some small way. In the meantime check out a great youtuber who goes by the name "Bite Size Vegan". She has many videos (well researched) that can help you on your path to compassionate living: https://www.youtube.com/user/BiteSizeVegan/featured
Live long and prosper!