UC Observer logo
UCObserver on SoundCloud UCObserver on YouTube UCObserver on Facebook UCObserver on Twitter UCObserver's RSS Feeds

Five Easter meats that you should think twice about

By Pieta Woolley

Meat — the kind from factory farms — will probably be on your table or a relative’s table this Easter. No one wants to put a big ethical trip on you over the holidays. Besides, you probably don’t have much control over your collective meals anyway.

But, given how much ink’s getting spilled on veganism, vegetarianism, and college-fund depleting SPCA-certified and organic meat, my guess is that even the staunchest carnivores will be looking sideways at their Easter vittles this year. And if you can’t change what’s on your plate this holiday, you can always change the lives of next year’s slaughter.

Here are the five meats of Easter — those that need your help beyond just sticking to mashed taters and Peeps.

1. Turkey

Deliciousness rating: 8/10

Number eaten annually in Canada: 7.1 million

Number of Canadian turkey farmers: 531

Ethical considerations: A particularly grim CBC documentary about turkey farms is just about enough to put anyone off their trimmings. But the National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC) is developing a new code of practice for gobblers, including air and litter quality; lighting; density; lameness; aggression control; and thankfully, euthanasia. The public comment period is closed, but you could write to your MP asking them to support stricter standards in law.

2. Ham

Deliciousness rating
: 2/10 - 9/10, depending on the ham

Number of hogs sold annually in Canada: about 26 million, down from a high of more than 30 million a decade ago

Number of Canadian hog farms: about 7,000

Ethical considerations:
In 2012, CTV went undercover and found — that’s right — a seriously grim hog farm in Manitoba. The good news is that the Canadian Pork Council revamped its on-farm care programs this year and is implementing a whole series of new measures to ensure more humane treatment of piggies. Let them know you’re watching by contacting them here.

3. Lamb

Deliciousness rating: 0/10. Mint jelly is a necessity.

Number of sheep sold for food annually in Canada: About 700,000

Ethical considerations:
The NFACC Code of Practice was updated in 2013, but Canadians for the Ethical Treatment of Farmed Animals pushed for some amendments. Help them reach a higher standard by contacting them here.

4. Freshwater Fish

Deliciousness rating: 8/10

Amount of freshwater fish commercially caught in Alberta, Manitoba and the Northwest Territories: 14.4 million kg

Number of fishers the Freshwater Fish crown corporation helps support: 2,000

Ethical considerations:
If you’re a fish-for-Lent person, or even a fish-for-Easter person, you’re ahead of the game. Jesus ate fish, so it must be ethical (he pointed out that it’s good for sharing). And if you catch it yourself or support Canada’s inland fishers by buying local, so much the better.

5. Tofurkey

Deliciousness rating: Let’s not go there.

Amount of soy grown in Canada: About 6 million tonnes annually — a 100 percent increase in 10 years

Number of soy farms: 27,215

Ethical considerations: Think there aren’t any? Up to 70 percent of Canada’s soy crop is exported annually, and this requires fuel. Keep that crop in Canada by stuffing yourself with tofu this Easter. Tofurkey. Tochocolate eggs. Come on, eat up!

Author's photo
Pieta Woolley is a writer in Powell River, B.C.
Readers’ advisory: The discussion below is moderated by The UC Observer and facilitated by Intense Debate (ID), an online commentary system. The Observer reserves the right to edit or reject any comment it deems to be inappropriate. Approved comments may be further edited for length, clarity and accuracy, and published in the print edition of the magazine. Please note: readers do not need to sign up with ID to post their comments on ucobserver.org. We require only your user name and e-mail address. Your comments will be posted from Monday to Friday between 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Join the discussion today!
Promotional Image


David Wilson%


by David Wilson

If statues could talk

Promotional Image


ObserverDocs: Stolen Mother

by Observer Staff

The daughter and adoptive mother of one of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women share their story

Promotional Image


July 2017

From far and wide

by Various Writers

Meet 11 immigrants who are putting down new roots


June 2017

A suitcase for Cuba

by Christopher Levan

You’ll find more than giveaway toiletries and hand-me-downs in the writer's luggage. Each carefully chosen gift offers a glimpse into the lives of Cubans today.


June 2017


by Kristy Woudstra

Up to half a million people are living in Canada without official status. The ‘sanctuary city’ movement is growing, but the fear of deportation persists.


June 2017

Resisting genocide

by Sally Armstrong

In August 2014, ISIS attacked Iraq’s Yazidis, slaughtering thousands and forcing women and girls into sexual slavery. Today, the survivors are fighting for their ancient way of life.


April 2017

Dear Grandkids

by Various Writers

Six acclaimed Canadian authors write letters from the heart


March 2017

Called to resist

by Paul Wilson

Liberal Christians in the United States test their faith against a demagogue

Promotional Image