Meat, this is such an emotive topic. The fact is that we are a family that does eat meat so we need to see how this fits into our sustainable and green challenge.

The biggest thing that I have realized is that while it’s easy to point a finger at the farmers, complaining that they have cruel farming practices, the reality is that we as consumers are support these practices. Rachel was asking in the car today why chicken farms are so cruel. I really do not want to fill her head with over idealized propoganda against farmers and meat, so it was important to me, that the answer included that we as the consumers are also at fault. We demand cheap meat, we want lower and lower more compeditive prices and then we are surpised that aminals are not treated well. We turn a blind eye and never look past the cling film and syrofoam packaging because if we don’t know the suffering, we don’t have to feel guilt. But we are guilty, our obsession with a eating a lot of meat at a low prices is what drives these farming practices.

Ethical meat costs more. This is a fact. It is no point saying you can’t afford meat from a farm that treats its animals well. You can, just eat less meat. Then use the money saved to buy meat from a place where the animals do not suffer. We as consumers are not powerless, we can speak with our Rands and move our money to support smaller farms with animal welfare as a priority.

The criteria that I have decided to evaluate the meat we eat and decide what we are happy with are:

1) Can I keep/raise them at home? – truly sustainable
2) What impact on the environment does what I am eating have?
3) Are the animals treated well including the slaughter processes?
4) Beyond the label, I do not want to be dupped by a label, organic meat can be sold as such even if the animals are in a feed lot.

Raising our own meat.
* Chickens: I don’t have the space to have proper free range chickens at a meat production level. I am not willing to have confined chickens so while we get a lot of eggs and we might have the odd Rooster or older/injured hen we are not going to produce enough meat chickens and still have an intact garden.
* Rabbit: This is actually one of the best choices for urban families as far as raising your own meat, the breed and grow very fast and the meat is very healthy. I am not sure if I can get over eating cute bunnies but this idea is not off the table yet ( did you see what I did there?) I just need to do some more research
* Aquaponics is something that I am very interested in and so is The Geek’s brother Jacques so this might well be something that we do in the future and this would mean a source of fish for the family too.

Any other meat in our small urban setting is not realistic, so for now we are cutting down the amount we eat and are looking for outside producers that meet our criteria. Having done a bit of research on the conditions of most mass animal farming it was just not something I could support any longer.

As I find ethic meat suppliers I will blog about them and let you know what we have discovered. Please feel free to let me know about places in other areas as my focus will of course me on the Western Cape but I am happy to highlight other ethic suppliers around the country.

How much does it matter to you where your meat comes from and what conditions the animals lived in?

Update on the Honeymoon and other news

Update Klaus was able to get the vendor to agree to let us go next year. I am sure it is in part because Klaus was willing to help and the only person that happened to listen to us and try help. No one we spoke to even bother to call back then promised. I also think that a large part of getting the problem solved was the pressure from twitter. There were a lot of retweets and bad press about Groupon flying around twitter. It was sad to hear how many people have had terrible experiences through Groupon. I personally will not use them again. I am just grateful to Klaus for sorting this out. I think Groupon got off lightly as it was the hotel that agreed to take us at a time when they had not actually offered the deal. Groupon did not take any responsibility for their mistake or bear any of the consequences.

– In other news we are all a bit sick, the first of the winter seasons colds have hit the house.

– The Geek is in Namibia and has been delayed and will now only be home on Saturday, this is of course when I am home coping alone with a house of sick kids and sick Pinky

– When I came home from dinner at Carle last night, we stayed on after our Wednesday playdate as The Geek was away. Titus cried most of the way home. I got to the driveway and had to get out to turn off the a,arm as Titus was cryng too much for me to hear it beep off. I get back to the car and it is dead. No idea how a car drives perfectly fine from the farm here and then will not start again in the driveway. I tried to push it in but with no luck. I then unpacked the whole car with Rachel holding a screaming Titus. I am not sure if other Mommy cars get like mine but it seems everything and the kitchen sink was in there. I just had to leave the car outside, it would be a day that The Geek was not here!

– I have a cold sore, I have not had one of these for years, maybe before the children. It is really ouchy

– I finished a fabulous neck scarf for myself which I totally love.

– Tanya from Snapping Turtle has designed the most amazing logo for the Pinky & The Geek wedding, so now I can get the save the dates out soon. We have done a trade ( I love trades) and so I need to get knitting on her order.

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Groupon ruined my dream Honeymoon

The Geek and I have dreamed of going to some small island or tropical get away for our honeymoon. The budget is tight, we can’t really afford to get married but we are making a plan. It was so important to us not to spend too much money on wedding or the ring as we are desperate to go away together alone.

We met when I had Pinklet 1 and 2 in tow. Soon Pinklet 3 joined the gang. We love our kids and having a family but we have NEVER been alone.

I dreamed of going to Mozambique to a place my sister told me about. But we could not afford it. I was beyond excited when I saw a deal for a 5 day trip to Mozambique for 50% off. The deal said low season January to March and then after Easter until before Christmas. But it had no end date.

Seeing as it was already the end of March I thought maybe the deal was available 2013. It was Sunday afternoon. I emailed Groupon and the hotel to check.

I never received a reply email from groupon. I phoned on Tuesday as I did not want to miss the deal. I asked and the phone consultant agreed the deal was unclear. He went to ask his manager and came back and said it was available 2013. I said I was very happy as we wanted it for our honeymoon but only if we could use it next year.

I bought the deal on my credit card and if we pay it off slowly we would be okay and could try get money for flights. I was so happy.

Later in the week, I get an email from the hotel saying no the deal was only for this year. I immediately phoned groupon, they changed their story and said it was not available. I was so upset and asked to speak to a manager. Klaus was lovely and I think because he was leaving the next day to get married on the weekend, he understood how important this deal was to us. He promised to negotiate with the vendor and try work something out. He left to get married and emailed me the details of the people following it up.

They of course never emailed or contacted me. I emailed them asking what was happening. No reply. The Geek phoned on last week, no one knew about it and had not followed up after Klaus left. The girl The Geek spoke to also promised to get back to us – nothing.

Until today when I get a email saying the deal has been refunded to me. I don’t want a refund! No one had the courtesy just to call us. So now I am tweeting and blogging and linking this on FaceBook.

The Geek just gchatted me ( yes we are very geeky during the day too, sometimes I can even make him blush. The best is when it pops up on his screen at work and a work buddy or client is looking at his screen and it is one of those messages, hee he bad Pinky) he spoke to Klaus who is going to try negotiate with the vendor if this does not work I am going to ask for you help. Klaus is the only decent one there who actually follows up on his word and does contact you back. Nothing happened the 2 weeks he was away. Poor man is only just back from his own honeymoon. But maybe that help him realize how important this is.

Can you guys please help me?
Tweet @groupon_za and say it is not right what they have done to The Geek and me.

FaceBook message them

Or if anyone knows if there is anything legally we can do, please let me know.

I am in tears. This was our dream honeymoon, they promised it was available and just with a cold clinical refund email my dreams are shattered.

We have this screen shot of the deal, and a close up of the dates