Debbie and I do not shop for food in the Big Box Supers. Nor do we eat industrial farmed meat loaded with antibiotics (80% of antibiotic use in America is for animals) and growth hormones like estradiol and progesterone. We rely on local farms and small farm co-ops. U.S Wellness Meats is a group we have found to be first rate. Jo Robinson (eatwild.com and Pasture Perfect) is a monster of a resource. I have spoken with Jo and have learned much from Pasture Perfect. When in New England we rely on Pat’s Pastured.
Thinking confinement-raised meat and antibiotics, here is an item from the legendary Greenmarkets pace setter Nina Planck and her Real Food. Nina writes, “The picture of pigs on factory farms—raised indoors in crowded pens, they cannot pursue their natural impulse to root. Concrete or slatted floors allow for easy removal of manure, but they also cause arthritis and deformed feet. Factory pigs are deficient in vitamin E and selenium, antioxidants found in pasture. Confined pigs are subject to infections, including a fatal form of gastroenteritis; to stave of illness, farmers feed them antibiotics. A strain of salmonella found in swine is resistant to an important antibiotic, fluoroquinolone.”
Nina continues, “Under the stress of crowded conditions, pigs bite each other’s tails and cause infections. To preempt tail biting, factory farmers snip of the tails with wire cutters (without anesthetic), leaving a hypersensitive stump, which pigs work to keep away from the teeth of other pigs. This is called avoidance behavior.“
OK then, confinement-raised meat can be a death sentence for both animals and humans alike. Stick with wild and real free-range products as written about by Jo Robinson, Nina Planck, and, of course, Joel Salatin (Polyface Inc.). Your family will thank you.