Although I don't like to think too hard about where our meat comes from and the process of getting it to plate, I do think long and hard about how our meat is grown and the welfare of livestock.
Starting with beef, there are a few simple facts. Cows eat grass. Grass is their natural food source. For generations cows have eaten grass or hay. Their digestive system is perfectly designed to eat grass, digest it and produce milk or meat.
Over the last decade, largely subsidized by the government to support the pharmaceutical industry, keep corn a steady commodity, and to lower the price of beef, cows now eat corn as their staple food.
A cow can't digest corn properly. They get a build up of acid requiring drugs and infections requiring antibiotics. In the past, a cow could spend its life wandering a field, laying in grass, and doing what they do. Eating grass and fertilising the land with their droppings.
Cows are often kept now in massive "Feed Lots". Shoulder to shoulder, standing on concrete or metal grates with cesspools of excrement underneath their feet that causes illness and more antibiotics. Each day they consume their daily allowance of corn. Corn grown in fields sprayed with pesticides that robs the soil of nutrients that needs to be added back with fertilizers.
To me, an animal raised for food deserves to be raised in a habitat "natural" to it's species, with dignity and respect and care. My commitment for Project Genesis this month is to find a good local source of grass fed beef. How hard can that be?
If you wish to read more about our food sources and the dilemma of our agricultural system, I recommend this book. The Omnivore's Dilemma. by Michael Pollan. Not an easy read, but a must read.
Also, here is a very interesting blog post about Goat cheese and the dilemma of male goats from
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