Letter to the editor: ‘EARTHLINGS’ documentary is life changing

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I recently watched a film that literally changed my life. It impacted me so much, that I had to donate it to the library where others would have a chance to view it. The documentary is called “EARTHLINGS.”

I was so moved by the information provided in this film that I have changed the way I eat, dress and act. “EARTHLINGS,” is a very disturbing but important look at the way we treat animals for food, clothing, as pets and in experiments. I strongly urge you to view it, and become aware of the industry standard practices in this country.

I hope that it will make a difference to you, and eventually our community. Some of the ways you can make a positive change are to buy locally, and purchase organic and humane products. I have contacted our local supermarkets about providing more of these products. Until they offer more of a selection you can shop at Whole Foods, New Morning, LaBonnes, and Trader Joes. We have two local farms off Route 63, Merry Mountain and Clover Nook Farms. Both provide fresh local produce. We also have a town farm market on the Green.

In Connecticut there are a few beef, pork and poultry farms that meet the highest standards. They are Greyledge Farm in Roxbury, Stuart Farm Bridgewater and Four Mile Farm in Old Lyme. You can also make an effort to choose organic products in our big chain supermarkets, and even call and ask them to start carrying products such as Applegate or other organic and humane brands. It is also important to look for organic eggs and milk.

I am not going to lie to you. They are more expensive, but that is because they are more valuable. Here are some labels to look for which insure the highest standards, “Certified Humane,” the go to label for animal welfare. “Animal Welfare Approved,” the platinum label according to many experts, it has the most rigorous standards for animal welfare in the United States. “USDA Organic,” regulated by the U.S. government, no hormones or antibiotics as well as organic feed, minimal outdoor and space requirements, but doesn’t necessarily preclude animals raised in concentrated animal feeding operations. “Free Range and/or Cage Free,” these terms are uncertified, there’s no guarantee. To be sure call the company and ask or visit the farm.

“Antibiotic Free and/or Hormone Free,” these terms theoretically mean what they say, but they are unregulated. Call the company to be sure. “Grass Fed,” can be a loosely used term, but cuts marked “American Grass Fed” or “AGA Pasture Finished,” meet rigorous standards set by the American Grassfed Association. “Natural,” it’s appealing but misleading and misused. It’s minimally regulated so disregard this labeling entirely.

The “Natural” label is the one I see most commonly in our grocery stores. Labeling information was provided from an article in Natural Health Magazine, November 2010.

Dining out in Connecticut while being supportive is easy. Here are a few restaurants that are excellent choices, Good News Café, Paul Newman’s, Claire’s Cornucopia, Community Table, Donovan’s Reef, Caseus and Zinc. You can simply Google Connecticut organic restaurants for more choices.

I am not saying everyone should stop eating meat, just to become aware and make better choices. I am now having two or three vegetarian meal days a week. It’s not hard really, homemade mac and cheese with a salad one night or ravioli, fresh green beans and bread another night. You can be creative and not feel in any way deprived. Taking small steps can make a big difference.

In addition to this film the library has many other resources you can use. We provide Natural Health and Prevention Magazines as well as offering a wide variety of gardening books and vegetarian cookbooks. Once you see the truth you cannot un-see it, so be informed, make your own choices and enjoy life’s natural bounty.

Deb Levesque

Naugatuck