Natural Grass-Fed Beef vs. Grain-Fed Beef: Health, Resources & the Environment.
There are many nutritional and environmental benefits to pasture raised beef but Miller Ridge Farm believes that the most important benefits are the health and happiness of our cattle. We have a tremendous respect and affection for these animals and are committed to raising them in the most humane way possible. We hope that by educating the public about the many disadvantages of factory farming, including raising cattle on grains like corn, people will begin to understand why we feel so passionately that our methods should not be the alternative but the norm.
An overwhelming majority of beef sold in the US comes from confined animal feeding operations. These feed-lot animals are quickly prepared for slaughter at 12 or 13 months and are frequently given hormones, antibiotics and other drugs to speed the growth process. To maximize profits, these feed-lots typically involve hundreds or thousands of animals on a plot of land far too small to accommodate their needs, living in filthy conditions, eating a completely unnatural diet. Factory farms raise these animals in close quarters, allowing them little movement, fattening them up quickly at the expense of the animals’ health and the overall quality of the meat.
Many people are unaware of the fact that, cattle are not meant to eat grain. Their stomachs are specifically designed for grasses, plants and shrubs and for hundreds of thousands of years this is what they’ve consumed. To keep costs down, feed-lot animals are fed starchy, low-fiber grains which results in a fatty, un naturally sweeter beef with little actual nutritional value. Primarily their diet consists of genetically modified grain and soy, which are being shown to have serious negative health impacts to animals and humans. Feed-lot beef is kept at artificially low prices thanks to government subsidies. Even worse, in an attempt to cut costs down further, factory-farm feed may also contain “byproduct feedstuffs” which can often mean municipal garbage, stale pastry, chicken feathers and candy. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that all of this is going to negatively impact the health of the animal and can cause a variety of health problems. To combat this, the animals are often given chemical additives and put on a constant dose of antibiotics, some of which are the same pharmaceuticals used to treat humans. These practices have led to drug resistant bacteria.
From an environmental standpoint, the concentration and management of feed-lot animal waste is causing ground and water pollution. We believe that these methods are short-sighted, ethically irresponsible and just flat out unnecessary. We cannot argue against the fact that factory farmed meat is cheaper. However, what is the long-term cost associated with this unsustainable and vicious method of getting a steak on your plate in addition to the health concerns?