Intensive Livestock Operations (ILOs), often called factory farms, prompt a "MIMBY" (not in my backyard) reaction in most communities. With their smell or their potential to pollute, few people would want an ILO in their neighbourhood. At the same time, most people line up at supermarkets to buy beef, pork, and chicken, which is probably produced on factory farms located in somebody else's backyard.
So what can we do about the ILO issue? Here are a few ideas.
Most people probably think they are locked into buying mass-produced meats available at supermarkets. In fact, there are still producers out there who raise meat on a small-scale, avoiding cruel treatment, medicated feeds, overcrowding, and excessive pollution. There are safer alternatives, such as organic pork, free-range chickens, and grass-fed beef.
Direct farmer-to-consumer links are developing all over Canada. If you don't have access to local producers already, through farmers markets, food coops, and other connections, the web site Sustainable Table can help. The site is full of useful information on food alternatives, and you can plug in your postal code to find local sources of farm raised animals. It is a US site, but includes Canadian producers.
Local magazines like Wholife, available free in many Saskatchewan communities, often list sources of locally produced, natural foods as well.
Another option is the Good Food Box, which provides high quality food, often from local sources, at a reasonable price. For more information on the Good Food Box movement, visit Food Share.
Saskatchewan Good Food Box Projects are operated by these organizations:
What about cutting back on meat, or cutting it out altogether. Many people have adopted diets that substitute vegetable protein - from nuts, beans, tofu and other sources - for meat.
Growing your own food is another alternative. Convert your lawn to a vegetable garden and store your produce for the winter.
Learn more about the issues and make your feelings known to politicians. Contact you MLA or the Minister of Agriculture or the Environment to make your views known. Contact information is available at the Saskatchewan Legislature site.
Join a local "concerned citizens' group" or an environmental group working on this issue.