October 30, 2009
Most cattle start life in a pasture, but end up transported by semi trucks to feedlots. Feedlot beef is never grass-fed. Feedlots are designed to pack thousands of cows into a cramped area to encourage the greatest weight gain in the shortest time. This means feeding cattle with grains (corn), and boosting them with growth steroids. Cattle in feedlots almost assuredly require prophylactic antibiotics. An unnatural diet of grain and meat by-products (yup!) leads to the need for antibiotics to keep the cattle from crashing. Large processing facilities regularly use irradiation and chemical baths to compensate for breakneck processing speeds and a contaminated environment. Perhaps 90% of beef (i.e., supermarket and restaurant beef) in the U.S. is processed by unskilled labor at a rate of 400 cows per hour. In contrast, grass-fed-to-finish cattle from local farms are never fed grains, stuffed with antibiotics or steroids, or finished in feedlots. And irradiation and chemical baths are never part of the grass-fed-to-finish equation. American Grass Fed Beef, run by grass farmer and veterinarian Dr. Patricia Whisnant and her husband Mark, is a leader in the grass-fed-to-finish movement. Debbie and I order great grass-fed beef from the Whisnants, and ordering and shipping is a most orderly process. We won’t go near beef that is not grass-fed to finish. The evidence to support the health benefits is simply too compelling.
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