My Story: Is It Possible to Avoid Factory-Farmed Meat?

'Food, Inc.' inspired Katy Norris to make a major lifestyle change: no factory-farmed meat. But how difficult is it to achieve in the real world?

It's no simple task to totally avoid factory-farmed meat. (Photo: Bloomberg/Getty Images)

After watching Food, Inc., I started buying only organic milk and eggs, even though they're much more expensive. I tried to buy only non-factory farmed meat, but wasn't strict about it. I basically did it when it was convenient. And most of the time, it wasn't.

This Australian video inspired me to take a pledge not to eat any factory farmed meat. (Don't worry; it's not gory or anything—just singing pigs.)

Make it Possible from Animals Australia on Vimeo.

My pledge means I'm going to have to ask restaurants where they get their meat, which is always awkward and inconvenient. It also really limits where I can eat—I'm assuming some of my favorite spots in Los Angeles use factory-farmed meat: Il Capriccio, Jitlada and Home Restaurant. It also means I can't buy almost any of the meat that Albertsons supermarket sells, which is unfortunate because it is literately a block from my apartment.

However, I no longer want to contribute to a system that institutionalizes the suffering of animals in the name of cheaper meat for me and maximized profits for giant meat conglomerates. To help me stay accountable, I emailed friends and family about my pledge. Here are some of their responses: 

My younger brother (tongue-in-cheek): "You should start hunting, it's pretty organic. Until then, I'll bring you animals I shoot." Fortunately, he lives six hours away and is not a great hunter, so I'm safe from venison jerky for now.

My boyfriend, who was a vegetarian for 13 years (he's an omnivore now): "Sure. It sounds impossible, but sure."

A vegetarian and a vegan coworker: "Why don't you just stop eating meat?"

Good question. I don't have a good answer, I have just always loved meat. Roast beef, pork chops, lamb, duck, chicken—you name it. Though eating animals does occasionally weigh on my conscience, I have no desire to be a vegetarian. As long as the raising and slaughtering of animals is done humanely, I am fine with it. I'm just not OK with the modern meat industrial complex.

I'm already thinking about what to have for dinner tonight and am terrified. I survive off of Trader Joe's frozen entrees, cooking with their frozen chicken, and eating out. I never plan my meals and usually grab food on the fly, whenever I have a moment to eat. So, making this change is going to represent nothing more than turning my life upside down. 

Wish me luck.

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