My girls have officially entered the stage where they are curious about what they are eating. They have moved beyond blindly eating whatever we place in front of them…now they want to know “Where does a pork chop come from?” Fortunately, we aren’t afraid to discuss where their food comes from. They understand that strawberries are planted on a farm, grow on a farm and are harvested on a farm. They also know that some animals are born on a farm grow on a farm and are slaughtered for food on a farm. We’re pretty realistic and clear with our girls, they get it.
However, what we have a hard time explaining is the ever growing popularity of factory farms, otherwise known as intensive livestock operations (ILO
). The thought of animals living their entire life crammed in a pen, eating unnatural foods and being given numerous anti-biotics is tough to really understand. The World Society for the Protection of Animals
) has launched a new campaign to raise awareness of the cruelty to farm animals living in ILOs. What’s on Your Plate
is asking consumers to take the time to educate themselves about the living conditions of farm animals. We as consumers are becoming much more savvy about the need for purchasing organic produce, but now it is time to shift our focus to livestock.
5 Fun Ways to Connect Kids with the Food They Eat
Connect with farmers ~ This one is pretty easy, all you have to do is head to the local farmers’ market. Most markets have meat and dairy farmers…why not write out 3 questions for the farmer to answer. Question 1…How big is your farm? How many types of animals to you have? How many animals do you have? Where do they live?
Connect with Farm Animals ~ Introduce children to farm animals at a young age. Visit a local farm or read books about farm animals. A couple of great books are E.B. White’s “Charlotte’s Web” and James Herriot’s Treasury for Children.
Play Farm ~ Play is often a great entry point to discussion. Gather up the barnyard animal toys and create a traditional farm. Add more and more animals to a smaller and smaller space. Discuss how the animals might feel if they had to live crammed together…what might the consequences for the animals be?
Get the Kids Reading Labels ~ When out grocery shopping have the kids look for words like “free range”, “organic” and “harm free.” Explain what these terms mean and why they are important.
Take the pledge and “Farmify” your face ~ The WSPA has put together a video (parents should watch the video first and decide if it’s appropriate for your child) which simply explains the issues around factory farming and the impact it has on animals. Use the video as a conversation starter. Take the pledge to make more humane choices. After you take the pledge have some fun and Farmify your face and share your new “look” with your friends.
Disclosure: I received compensation from WSPA, for writing this post and for sharing my honest opinion.
The opinions on this blog are my own
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