So Whole Foods has a new 5-step rating system. A color-coded label tells you exactly how humanely the animal was treated before it became your meat.
Step one, no crates. Step two, enriched environment. Step three enhanced outdoor access. Step four, pasture centered. Step five, animal centered, no physical alterations. Step five plus, animal centered, entire life on farm.
If you’re confused about which level is right for you, simply ask one of their helpful meat department team members.
-- Excuse me, I’m serving pork chops tonight. I didn't know what step you recommended.
-- What level of compassion do you have for the farm animals you consume?
-- I saw a video on the miserable lives of pigs in factory farms. It made me cry. I swore off pork two whole weeks.
-- Do you give a snort of disgust when you see a Costco shopper remove a box of Tyson chicken wings from the frozen section?
-- Yes! It makes me sick. Don’t these savages realize Tyson clips the beaks off their chickens with a hot blade? Tell you what else I believe. Animals deserve to live in the sunshine, romping in the fields, at least while people are in between meals. So what do you think? Do I have level five compassion for farm animals? Do I? Do I?
--Have you ever attended a Michael Pollan book signing?
--I was meaning to but…
--No Michael Pollan book signing, no level five. I’d say level three is appropriate for you.
--Hi, I’m having a dinner party, looking for a side of beef, wondering what step is right for me.
-- Did you support Prop 2 for bigger cages for farm animals, Sir?
-- Sure did. Even talked a guy I worked with into voting for it.
-- Did you put a "Stop Cruelty Now. Support Prop 2" bumper sticker on your car?
-- Uhm, well, I didn’t want to seem like an extremist or anything.
-- Better stick with level one.
-- Can I work my way up?
-- Absolutely, Sir. Go to the Santa Monica open market and sign a petition demanding more humane treatment of animals. Start a Michael Pollan discussion group.
-- Awesome. I’ll have a level five conscience in time for grilling season!