We seldom stare at our food and wonder where it came from – but we should. Because the truth is you are what you eat. When you take a bite of a juicy burger or a crisp piece of bacon you’re eating much more than a piece of meat. You’re consuming the care that went into raising the animal, from the soil up.
You might be surprised to know that 70% of the antibiotics and related drugs used in the U.S are administered to livestock to expedite growth and overcome the unnatural conditions of today’s industrial farms.1 It’s not exactly the classic picture of rolling green fields and sunny days. These farming methods affect much more than the animal, taking a toll on the environment and our health. That’s why we have passion and conviction for our quality standards and why you should know what’s in your meat.
Hormones rush things along, unnaturally.
Synthetic growth hormones were introduced in livestock for two reasons – neither reason helps the consumer. Beef cattle are given steroids to get to market faster and dairy cows are given rBGH to increase milk output. It rushes an otherwise natural process in favor of profitability, not your health.
Bigger animals don’t make for healthier animals. The rapid growth takes a toll on the animal, causing poor joint health, disease susceptibility and 50% shorter lifespans. But these added hormones affect us, too. Consumption of hormones through meat interrupts the natural function of hormones in our bodies. Studies have shown that it can lead to early onset adolescence, as well as an increased risk of both breast cancer and prostate cancer.
Antibiotics are for people and animals who are sick, right?
When animals are treated humanely they are less likely to get sick. As mass agriculture practices changed, the resilience of farm animals suffered. Animals are now raised in tight quarters and given hormones to grow rapidly – conditions farm animals were never meant to experience. Enter antibiotics.
To overcome physical complications caused by mass agriculture practices, cows, chickens, pigs and even fish are given antibiotics. According to 2011 FDA data, 80% of antibiotics in the U.S. are used in the meat and poultry industry.2 Antibiotics were designed to be used therapeutically to treat specific health problems. Administering these antibiotics subtherapeutically has led to antibiotic-resistant bacteria, meaning previously treatable illnesses are not so treatable. In 2011, 80% of the salmonella found in ground turkey was resistant to at least one antibiotic.3 There is a big difference between taking antibiotics when you’re sick and taking them with every meal. Our animals don’t need that and neither do you.
The grass is actually greener.
Think about the life of a farm animal. What do you picture? If you think a field of green grass is too ideal, then think again. Grass-fed and pasture-raised isn’t just picturesque; it’s healthier for the animal and for us.
Meat from cattle raised on grass contains lower totals of saturated and mono-unsaturated fat. More importantly, it has higher levels of heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids, beta-carotene and B-vitamins.4 Animals that have space to roam may also contain a lower risk of bacterial contamination. According to a study in 2007, fecal salmonella at open-pasture chicken farms was 16% compared to 30% at conventional farms.5
Green open pastures keep the animals and the environment happy. Well-managed grazing naturally spreads manure to support soil fertility. This fertility encourages ideal forage growth, reduces erosion and water pollution, and increases carbon sequestration. It creates a harmony that preserves biodiversity and wildlife. What’s not to love about grass-fed?
Our meat is real.
Let’s face it, barbecue season is on the way and there’s nothing like a burger. Meat has a healthy place in our diet and there are many farmers dedicated to high-quality meat – the only kind of meat Earth Fare offers. Our meat is never administered antibiotics or hormones, always fresh (never frozen), and humanely raised. And every time you purchase a sustainably farmed product, you are casting a vote in support of family farms, humanely treated animals and good health.
Today, cattle still roam the fields and feast on luscious grass under the sun. Some call it artisan meat. Some call it free-range. We call it real food, and it’s at the heart of everything we do.
1 Union of Concerned Scientists, 2009
2 Johns Hopkins University’s Center for a Livable Future, 2013
3 Pew Charitable Trust
4 Duckett 2009
5 Siemon 2007