Friday, April 16, 2010

Where's the (Grass-Fed) Beef?

Happy cows, living the life they were meant to live!

I am currently about 2/3 of the way through the much-talked of novel Eating Animals (which was published last year) and it has been a fascinating read thus far. I have learned much more about the factory farm system of producing meat than I ever imagined before: the environmental effect, the incredible indecencies that have been documented, and even the inferior quality of the meat itself.
If the book hasn’t convinced me to go completely vegan, it has made me much more concerned about finding humane sources of these products, for my own health as well as that of my fellow creatures. I intend eat a whole lot less meat, and to buy cage-free eggs from my parent’s neighbors, humanly raised chickens and pigs from Nugget Market or Whole Foods, and grass-fed beef. The latter is probably the least offensive kind of meat in terms of how it is raised, in fact, and is becoming more and more widely available. I found it at the local Taylor’s Market in Sacramento for only $5.59/lb.- a bargain compared with some quotes I’ve seen of over $20/lb.

Grass-fed beef comes with its own unique (in my opinion, often superior) flavor. Research suggests grass-fed beef is likely to be lower in total fat, contain higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids, and have a higher level of C.L.A. (conjugated linoleic acid), which, in animal studies, reduces the risk of cancer. Perhaps most importantly, raising cattle on pasture offers a humane quality of life for them and a cleaner world for us, as the manure enriches the earth in this fashion rather than causing immense pollution as does the CAFO-style method.

Will these forms of protein cost more than a family pack of meat from Walmart? Yes. Am I rich? Certainly not. But as the author, Jonathan Safran Foer states, "If you’re not willing to pay the true price of meat, then you shouldn’t eat meat." Now that’s something to chew on!

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Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me!