Happy Cows

Dear Foodie,

When visiting a restaurant, I always make a habit of inquiring from where my hamburger meat comes. Recently, when I asked the question I got not only the name of the farm on which the animal was raised, that it had been raised humanely and that the farm took particular care to make sure the cows are happy as they while away their hours munching on grass and as that makes for better and more tender meat. What in the world does “happy” have to do with good meat?


Dear “Laughing Stock” Eater,

There is a growing body of evidence that “happy” animals are tastier than “unhappy” animals. Of course, all of this begs some questions: who knows when an animal is happy – did it die with a smile on its face as the final blow was delivered in the slaughterhouse? In other words, how would we know? What made the cows happy? Cow spas? Back rubs? Manicures? (Wait a minute – that’s what they do for urban backyard chickens!) And, then there are the animal rights folks. Does it matter at all that an animal was “happy” during its short life, they say? Those folks use the term “happy” animals in a snarky way to reveal what in their opinion is the barbaric nature of eating them to begin with. But, assuming you are cool with eating critters and understand the basics of how it/they get to your plate, then rest assured and stay tuned to the idea that relaxed attitudes based on good and healthy eating would have to make a difference. This is an evolving science that involves not only animals but people. Stay tuned at least so far as the animal side of this goes. Remember, it is still against the law to eat people and horses in many places — even in the name of science.

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