Feedlot Meat versus Pasture-Raised Meat
Regardless of whether you decide to buy organic produce, if you eat meat choose pasture-raised beef and chicken. Animals that are pasture-raised are much healthier because they have access to their natural diet and get plenty of exercise and sunshine.
Animals raised in conventional feedlot operations are confined to overcrowded pens where, instead of their natural diet, they’re fed genetically modified grains and given large doses of antibiotics and growth hormones.
As you may imagine, an animal’s diet has an enormous impact on the nutritional content of the meat from that animal. Scientific studies show that regular consumption of feedlot meat causes inflammation and increases the risk of heart disease and cancer.
Grass-fed meat, however, has been shown to have less fat, higher vitamin and mineral content, a healthier ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids, and higher concentrations of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a cancer fighter. Meat isn’t bad for you — bad meat is bad for you!
If your health and the health of the animals aren’t enough to sway you against feedlot livestock, you can make a strong environmental case against confined animal feeding operations, too. Fossil fuel consumption for the production and transportation of commercial feed adds millions of tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year.
Feedlots continuously add mind-boggling amounts of animal waste, hormones, and pharmaceutical runoff into the groundwater. Antibiotic resistance is rampant from drugs added to livestock feed.
Organic beef isn’t the same as grass-fed beef. Organic meat comes from animals that are raised without antibiotics or growth hormones and are fed an organic vegetarian diet (which may or may not include corn and grains). Grass-fed beef is meat from cattle raised solely on grass, hay, and forage.