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Animal advice

(article, Culinate staff)

Nicolette Hahn Niman is a lawyer-turned-cattle-rancher and an author, whose recent book, Righteous Porkchop, examines the industrial meat chain in America. 

But we're behind in our reading, so it's Niman's writing in other places that has grabbed our attention. You can find her blog on The Atlantic's website (we appreciate her tale of death on the ranch); her recent opinion piece about food animals and global warming in the New York Times;  and, today, her thorough guide to buying meat on The Huffington Post. 

Niman, who's been a vegetarian for 20 years, avoids eggs and dairy from factory farms, but it wasn't that way until about nine years ago:

bq. I became something of a food detective. My groceries were the subjects of my investigations. Where were they coming from and how they were produced? I roamed grocery store aisles carefully reading product labels, but there was little to no information about the conditions in which the animals were raised. I wrote letters to food companies with questions about what they fed their animals, but the letters went unanswered. The food system's lack of transparency was frustrating. Eventually, I mostly gave up on supermarkets and began exploring new ways to get at the good food I was seeking. Although the task was daunting, my goal was simple: I wanted all my food to come from places I would enjoy visiting.

Niman offers general advice, plus tips about where to find the best meat, and what you should know about any animal-based foods. Finally, she offers a roundup of information by animal product — from beef to pork to butter.