By Isabelle Bouchard
I, for one, do pay more to be true to my convictions. I don’t mind giving more money for products that are made beyond industry standards that care about how the world is changing. I understand and fully accept that the costs of production may be higher if a company/industry respects its consumer needs, animal welfare, and the environment.
To do so, a company or an industry needs courage – lots of it. But it also must seek out the best practices around the world and implement them. It needs to participate in government consultations about their industry and express loud and clear their actions and views, even if other similar companies are against what they do/propose. It needs to be open and transparent to the consumer, to the whole industry and media, and provide a clear road map of their actions and regularly provide updates.
It’s not easy to break unspoken rules of “lower production costs” and “raise profits” in an industry. However, those that truly respect consumer needs, animal welfare and the environment will succeed and still be in business while the one who refuse to change will disappear.
For example, I buy free-range, free-run chicken and rustic pork. I’m lucky we produce our own beef and eggs here on the farm, but when I need to buy some, I always buy what reflects my values. Knowing the producer is a big plus. Last fall, our freezer broke and we lost all our meat. So until the cow being raised for meat is old enough, I buy beef. (I know I’m privileged because while living in downtown Montréal I did not have access to producers. But even then I searched and found a butcher that could fulfill my needs. Now, grocery stores do have what we want; you just need to read labels.)
As for milk, we are a dairy farm going above and beyond the Pro Action program of the Dairy Farmers of Canada so I have total confidence in the product we produce and know first-hand our cows are happy and couldn’t have it better. I sometimes wonder why a specific food professor always doubts our work, inviting consumers to fear and mistrust Canadian dairy. I may never understand why this person acts that way, but I will always know that the men and women in this industry wear their heart on their sleeve and work endlessly to produce the best possible milk.
For a city girl who used to feel so much for the animals, I think I have even developed anthropomorphism. Now I realize that animals need my respect, the best care I can provide, and be grateful to be able to feed myself while some of them must give their life for me to do so. We always take time to be grateful when we eat meat, no matter whether it’s a burger, a filet mignon, or ribs.
Why am I writing about this today? Because Russia invaded Ukraine, because the world is changing … but not only in bad ways. Because I trust that there are more good people in the world than bad and that we will come together to create the world we want to live in.