Researching the Meatrix

Terms You Should Know (Cage-Free, Humane Slaughter, Free Range) when Deciding if You Sould Escape the Meatrix 

‘Escape The Meatrix: Eat Plants, Feel Great, and Save the Planet!‘ is a non-fiction and environmental book by Stuart Waldner. The book features Waldner’s decision to choose the red pill, leaving the Meatrix for a total plant-based lifestyle.  

The Meatrix has led us to believe that animal-based foods are the only source of nutrients we need but consuming them harms us more than nourishes us. Aside from that, it also affects our ecosystem and wildlife.  

If you have read the book, you may want to learn more about the terms described within it. Use this guide for your research into the Meatrix.  


Consumers opt to buy cage-free poultry products; there is a demand for cage-free which the market comprises with. The need for cage-free results in the farmers raising their poultry in open pens, but it only increases feather pecking among chickens. To solve the problem with feather pecking, The Meatrix chooses to trim the beaks of chickens, amputating a chicken’s beak to uncontrollable pecking. This method is cruel to the animals. So, when you think about cage-free, think about what happens behind the scenes. 

Free Range 

The USDA defines ‘free range’ as having ‘access to the outdoors,’ which doesn’t have to be the entire body if there are at least 5 minutes of open-air access. When we think of ‘free range,’ what comes to mind is a flock of chickens freely moving around in pastures, but that’s far from what’s happening. The chickens are drugged. They couldn’t afford to move around. The Meatrix misled us into believing this image so consumers would buy more of their advertised products labeled as free range. 

Humane Slaughter 

Placing a positively connotated word like ‘humane,’ which means compassionate, with the word ‘slaughter’ doesn’t feel right. ‘Humane slaughter’ is such an oxymoron because there is no way you can kill a living thing compassionately. But that term is what The Meatrix uses. We are killing off animals for our consumption when we can get nutrients from the plants themselves. 

Stuart Waldner is an activist and an author. Escape the Meatrix, Waldner’s debut nonfiction book, was written after he transitioned to a plant-based diet in 2008. For more information about Stuart Waldner, you can visit his website.