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Can Steak Save the Planet? Anya Fernald of Belcampo Meat Co of Palo Alto Thinks So...

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Anya Fernald is kind of my entrepreneurial hero.

Why have we never been to Belcampo Palo Alto???

Every month, Anna Fernald dispenses “meat pay,” ten pounds of sausages or grind or steaks.

More than any other food, meat focusses cultural anxieties.

In the seventies, beef caused heart attacks; in the eighties and afterward it carried mad-cow. Recent decades have brought to light the dark side of industrial agriculture, with its hormone- and antibiotic-intensive confinement-feeding operations, food-safety scares, and torture-porn optics. The social and environmental costs, the moral burden, the threat to individual health—all seem increasingly hard to justify when weighed against a tenderloin.

To the concerned consumer, Fernald offers broad permission to indulge again. Her animals are raised in seemingly ideal conditions, and die about as calmly as food animals can. The ruminants eat only grass; the omnivores eat grain grown on the farm, supplemented with organic, G.M.O.-free feed that the farm buys. Her handlers practice low-stress stockmanship, gently coaxing the animals into trailers and corrals and into the twenty-thousand-square-foot slaughterhouse she designed in consultation with the animal-welfare expert Temple Grandin. The last sounds a Belcampo animal will likely hear are “Sh-h-h, sh-h-h, sh-h-h,” whispered by a handler it has known since birth. After that, the “knocker,” equipped with a bolt pistol and headphones, renders it unconscious with a pop. The breakdown of each animal is painstaking; Belcampo processes only eight cows a week. The result of all this care is a product that is precious in every sense: Belcampo’s premium cuts can cost four times as much as their equivalent in conventional meat. For internal accounting, the farm charges the shops “high market plus twenty per cent.”

“I live in a bubble and I’m trying to create a bubble,” Fernald told me. “I recognize that we’re creating a product that is financially non-viable for a lot of people. But I’m also prepared for when the health impact becomes undeniable and people decide to reprioritize their budgets. I think my bubble’s going to get bigger. Not because I’ll find more rich people—I think more of the rest of America is going to decide this is worth it.”

I'm looking up reservations for myself right now! 

It's "pricey but worth it" according to friends.

Not a surprise.. They do everything short of singing the cow to its death with a lullaby.. lol

there is a rancher in austin, texas who used to be a veterinarian and his philosophy is "happy animals taste better."  he uses all these same humane principles, including "shhh"ing them into their corrals and ultimately, to their slaughter.  he also feeds them organic food and real pastures with sunshine and rain. it's nice to know this is going on in the world.

and i just found a farmer out here in florida who is all organic, natural, and sunshiny, too!  hip hip hooray!

I've never heard that before, that happy animals taste better.

That's a deep thought.

It's also the best market motivator for better husbandry standards there is.

Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall of the River Cottage in England espouses much of the same philosophy,

Review: The River Cottage Meat Book by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall | Books | The Guardian

"Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's latest book, a vast tome with the word MEAT embossed defiantly in large, blood-red letters across its cover, marks him out as worthy successor to that tradition of learned chef. These days, of course, it is not so much foreign gastronomy that is a mystery as what goes on with food produced under our very noses. Fearnley-Whittingstall takes the bull by the horns - often quite literally, since he farms his own meat - and launches a passionate defence of the carnivore's position. He follows with a devastating critique of modern factory farming and British supermarket practice. His polemic is reminiscent of David's introduction to her English Bread and Yeast Cookery in 1977, which documented the ills of factory bread. Like its predecessor, Fearnley-Whittingstall's attack is carefully researched, revelatory and powerful.

The apologia for meat is something new in a book intended for the kitchen shelf - a recognition that in today's world, where one half of the world starves while the other half suffers from the diseases of excess, eating is not only a political but a moral act. You can either duck the issues around feeding animals large quantities of grain that could be used more efficiently to feed humans, and then killing them, or you can confront them. Having done the latter, Fearnley-Whittingstall wants you to enjoy your food all the more"

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