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Posts Tagged ‘happy cows’

I love meat–bacon, lamb, beef, and even ostrich. I will never be one of the “atarians”…vegetarian, pescatarian, ovovegetarian, etc. But, I just can’t bring myself to eat sad, sick and infected animals.  

My brain’s been a bit fuzzy this morning after my evening of whiskey and wine, and I just can’t focus on my teacher’s descriptions of kidney failures and transplants. So, I began browsing the Gastronomic Sciences: Food for Thought Journal  and settled on reading The End of Food by Paul Roberts. Although the article was lengthy, overly factual, and somewhat depressing, it provided a historical review about our food system, and discussed modern methods won’t be adequate for much longer.

According to Roberts, our food system is defunct. The meat industry found ways to breed lifestock to grow larger and age quicker just so we could have cheaper meat. Yes, this new method prevented hunger and gave nations a surplus of food, but at what cost? Our food system is currently struggling, and our future doesn’t look much brighter.

Consider this…

On average, it takes 8 pounds of grain to produce a single pound of meat. As meat consumption rises—and by 2050, world demand for meat is expected to more than double—the amount of grain we will need will increase by more than half. That means more land (which we don’t have), more crude oil (prices are on the rise), and more water (future farmers will need 17 percent more water than the world now has available).

And, consider this…

“The so-called ‘factory farm’ method for mass-producing meat—in huge feedlots containing tens of thousands of cattle, hogs, and poultry—has helped drive down the cost of meat, but has also created many threats to public. According to a recent report by the Pew Charitable Trusts, these huge feedlots, or ‘confined animal feeding operations’ (CAFOs) produce huge volumes of sewage, air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Worse, because animals are crowded closely together, CAFOs also promote diseases, which has led to the overuse of antibiotics. This overuse, in turn, has produced bacteria that are now resistant to those same antibiotics. At the same time, the corn-based diet that is fed to many CAFO animals results in meat of poorer quality and higher fat content. And because livestock consumes so much grain—remember, 8 pounds for every pound of meat—we’re converting more and more of our forests into grain farms in order to feed livestock, ” Roberts claims.

Where do we go from here?

The Solution is easy– transform the meat industry into a sustainable entity: grass feed cattle, breed healthy cows that don’t need antibiotics, and for heavens sakes don’t feed them soil packed with synthetic nitrate fertilizers. So why can’t the meat industry do this? Because, meat may cost at least $1 over current meat processes. Yes, just one George Washington per pound of meat would give Americans sustainable meat from happy cows. These sorts of articles depress me because I wonder if our nation will ever realize cheaper products and high profits don’t last forever. Our nation will pay a price for the shortcomings of our food industry if we don’t recognize our faults soon. I just want to eat happy cows…

 

PS. Try reading Eric Scholesser’s Fast Food Nation for even more insight to America’s meat industry

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