Meet the Yelp of Ethical Meat

This crowdfunded app promises to map restaurants dedicated to serving responsibly raised meat products.

(Photo: Courtesy The Humane Eating Project)

Jan 31, 2014· 1 MIN READ
Jason Best is a regular contributor to TakePart who has worked for Gourmet and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

As I wrote earlier this week, I’m always looking for ways to justify my smartphone bill (though it doesn’t look like downloading a calorie-counter app is going to be one of them). That’s why I was heartened to come across this Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign for something that I’m happy to unabashedly shill for: an app that will help you eat more humanely.

The Humane Eating Project is being developed by the folks at America for Animals, a San Diego–based nonprofit dedicated to using technology to help humans make the world a better place for animals.

It’s pretty simple really, though it doesn’t appear that anything out there like it exists (if it does, let me know in the comments section). The app promises to function like your basic restaurant locator (complete with directions, search function, and Yelp reviews), but it will specifically feature restaurants in your area that either don’t serve meat at all or have a stated commitment to serving meat and animal products that have been humanely raised.

(So no more relying on that one vegan place you know of—and maybe that nouveau Indian joint every once in a while.)

To get the app up and running, America for Animals needs $15,000. At last check, the campaign was almost halfway toward meeting that goal. But ultimately the developers would like to get to $40,000, which they say will allow them initiate a loyalty program that will encourage even more restaurants to “go humane.” With extra money, The Humane Eating Project would be able to provide special offers, coupons, and other promotional options that businesses can use to connect with users who are committed to eating responsibly raised meat.

Since I can hardly deal with images—or even mere descriptions—of animal cruelty, I won’t detail the conditions that livestock raised on factory farms are often subjected to. (I kind of think making dogs sleep on the floor is a form of abuse, though I’m not going to picket my in-laws’ house or anything.) But if you need a crash course in the kind of treatment these animals have to endure, you can find it at the Farm Sanctuary website.

(Really, one phrase suffices for me: “gestation crate.”)

As for some other cool ways you can use your smartphone to be a more socially conscious eater, I recommend the indispensable Seafood Watch app from the Monterey Bay Aquarium, which offers an easy-to-follow guide to fish that are sustainably harvested. There’s also Locavore, which puts a directory of local farmers markets and other purveyors of locally grown food at your fingertips, along with lists of seasonal ingredients and recipes.

Stuff enough of these apps on your phone, and that cell phone bill will (hopefully) start to feel less ridiculous.