by Karen Whitehead
Cows eating corn instead of grass, how absurd? Think about it…cows aren’t suppose to eat corn or any other grain…they are ruminants (along with buffalo, deer, goats, etc.) which means they have multiple chambered stomachs designed for eating and digesting grass, like no other species can do. Then why are the majority of our beef cattle being force fed corn in feedlots instead of being allowed to graze on the pasture? A number of reasons…its cheap, it fattens them up very quickly, doesn’t require a lot of land, and doesn’t require much skill or knowledge from the labor force. But all of this has significantly adverse affects on our health, on the environment and on the well-being of these animals. Here are some of the major advantages when you buy grass fed beef over corn fed:
1. Less fat and better fat…..Meat from grass fed animals has much less total fat, saturated fat and calories than corn fed beef. It also contains Omega-3’s which are created from cells in green plants and algae, an extremely important fatty acid believed to play a significant role in human brain cell growth. The Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio for corn fed cows is 20:1 while grass fed are only 3:1 This is virtually the same levels as fish and is considered ideal from a health standpoint. The high ratio in corn fed beef causes an essential fat imbalance which leads to a variety of health problems.
2. More nutritious. Grass fed beef has high levels of Beta-carotene and also up to 400% more Vitamin A and Vitamin E than corn fed beef…..There is no beneficial health reason to reduce your red meat consumption if you are eating grass fed beef.
3. More humane…I like animals, but I am not an animal rights activist by any means, however I absolutely object to the treatment and torture of feedlot animals….It is simply cruel and inhumane to cram hundreds or thousands of cows into a small space, force them to eat something that their systems cannot tolerate, give them unnecessary drugs to stop them from getting sick from the horrible living conditions, allow them to defecate on themselves and each other (this is something that even animals consider taboo), and then slaughter them at only 14 months (grass fed cows take an average of 4-5 years to reach slaughter weight). Once you understand this….how could you possible eat another corn fed burger when there are other options available?
4. No antibiotics or hormones…Because grass fed cows are out to pasture and eating what they are suppose to be eating, guess what, they don’t need to be treated with drugs and hormones…..Their digestive systems are functioning properly, they are growing at normal rates, they are exercising, breathing fresh air, defecating where they are suppose to (which in turn fertilizes the grass) and are free from the stress that feedlot cattle must endure…
5. Dramatically reduce chance of contracting E. Coli. Since 1993 over 500,000 American kids have become ill or died from the ingesting the E. coli bacteria (Escherichia coli O157:H7)….the new strain of intestinal bacteria present in the stomach of about 40% of feedlot cattle. Since these cows have much higher PH levels in their gut than their grass fed counterparts, this new strain of acid-resistant E. coli is now able to shake off the acid in the human stomach, thus making us very ill or even killing us. A simple solution to this is to take a corn fed cow and feed him grass for 3 days before slaughter which would reduce the acidity and to kill off the E. coli….simple, but yet unfortunately not done….unbelievable, but true! Also, the threat of Mad Cow Disease and Foot and Mouth Disease is virtually non-existent in a grass fed animal.
6. Better for the environment….What happens to all that cow poop on these feedlots? We commonly think of cow manure as good fertilizer for crops right? Well then it wouldn’t be too hard for these feedlots to dispose of it, if that was the case. However, corn fed cattle poop has such high levels of nitrogen and phosphorous, along with hormone residues, that their manure actually kills the crops…..Where does this toxic poop end up? In our rivers, lakes and oceans, nice-huh?
All right folks, now you know the facts…there are so many reasons to buy grass fed beef over corn fed that I am amazed it is not more readily available to us consumers. Hopefully, if you read this article you will make the switch and buy grass fed beef….in doing so you will help reduce America’s need for cheap, mass produced food, reduce environmental degradation, improve the lives of the animals that feed us and improve the overall health of your family….enough said.
For more information on the benefits of organic food visit http://www.captaincooksblog.com
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