11 March, 2006

Are You Eating Factory-Farmed Meat?

The Revealing and Disturbing Facts... I confess to being a meat eater; vegetarianism just doesn’t work for my body. I know that eating factory-farmed meat is unhealthy. So we buy free range beef which you know is a lot more expensive. To make up for it, we eat smaller portions of meat with more vegetables, and that is healthier too. No one should be eating factory-farmed beef. That is why I wrote this report for you based on research I should have done a long time ago. Like most people, I have my favorites in cuts of beef, pork, veal, and lamb. These I used to buy at a local butcher or super-market and never really gave much thought to how the animals were raised -- except for cattle. Health Matters Minutes Article Mar 10, 2006 Improve Your Health With The Health Matters Minutes Weekly Newsletter: Name: Email: We respect your e-mail privacy. I’ve seen the crowded and unhealthy feed lots where cattle are fattened before being taken to slaughter houses and it did not make me happy. The worst of these cattle are never sent to the butcher shops. They are sold to the fast food chains for hamburgers and hot dogs. Some pretty nasty stuff. What I want you to consider is how beef is treated before it is eaten. I had known at the time about corn fed beef and kosher beef and that they were okay to eat. I remember ads promoting corn fed beef as producing the best, the healthiest and juiciest steaks, but my research about grass fed beef firmly indicates that corn and grain fed is not the healthiest. Grain fed or corn fed produces fatty beef. It is not cattle’s natural food! Grass produces lean beef and is healthier. It is the way our ancestors ate their beef with their cattle being pasture grazed. In my research, I learned about the sustainable technique of raising cattle (rotating pasture grazing), the raising of other food animals, as well as the sustainable technique for growing fruits and vegetables, but for this newsletter let’s just stick mainly with the meat. A large growing body of scientific research is showing that sustainable, pasture-raised, and organic foods provide significant health benefits for consumers. In addition to being raised without synthetic hormones, antibiotics, pesticides and chemical fertilizers, sustainable food is more nutritious than food produced by industrial agriculture and the so called factory raised meat, which, by the way, is cruelty to animals in the most vicious of ways. More on that later. The sustainable technique of pasturing enables animals to eat the grasses and greens that their bodies are naturally adapted to. This results in healthier animals and that means healthier leaner cuts of meat. On factory farms, which is the meat you get from most super-markets and butchers, fast food and most restaurants, animals are fed corn, grains, unsavory additives and byproducts along with hormones and antibiotics to make them gain weight as quickly as possible. As a result, factory farmed meat has a high fat content containing hormonal, anti-biotic and chemical contaminants and not the lean nutritional meat you get from grass fed cattle. Furthermore, since cattle are meant to eat grass, the acidity levels in their stomachs are altered when they eat grains leaving the animals more prone to infections. Feeding grazing animals large amounts of grain reduces the health benefits of the meat. According to New York Times bestselling author Jo Robinson, meat from pasture-raised animals is lower in calories and "bad" omega-6 fats and contains more of the "good" omega-3 and CLA fats that help fight disease and promote good health. Free-range chickens have 21% less total fat, 30% less saturated fat and 28% fewer calories than their factory-farmed counterparts. Eggs from poultry raised sustainably on pasture have 10% less fat, 40% more vitamin A and 400% more omega-3's the essential fatty acid your body must have for good health and which you can only get from food. Sustainably-raised animals are not subjected to the high levels of stress found on factory farms. The energy required for animals to use their muscles comes from sugars called glycogen, which are found in muscle tissue. When animals are raised sustainably and treated well, their glycogen levels are high. When processed sustainably, the glycogen, turns to lactic acid, and helps make the meat tender and tasty, and gives it a good color. Alternatively, animals raised in the factory farm system are highly stressed from the overcrowded unhealthy conditions, and from stress caused by the slaughtering process. Their muscle glycogen is used up during the handling, transportation and pre-slaughter process, which leads to a decrease in the production of lactic acid and poorer quality meat. The way pigs and calves are raised for food is totally inhumane. If you know absolutely nothing about where your bacon, ham, and loin of pork or veal come from, you will be shocked reading the following. It has made me give up all pork and veal meats. Step into a factory farm which is an enclosed building where the pigs never see the sun or the light of day. Inside, it becomes dramatically obvious that the pigs suffer a ceaseless, merciless confinement for their whole life. These intelligent 400- to 500-pound mammals are entrapped in gestation crates 22 inches wide and 7 feet long. Many have broken their limbs from trying to turn or escape and they are covered in sores, blood, tumors, "pus pockets," and their own urine and excrement. Sound appetizing? Florida voters, by the way, passed an initiative that prohibits the factory-farming practice of confining pigs and veal calves in crates so small that the animals cannot even turn around or extend their limbs. Arizonians will have the same initiative on their ballots in November and I hope it passes. It’s interesting that our Cruelty to Animals Laws do not include animals that are raised for food. Treat your cat or dog as factory farms threat their animals and you’d go to jail! Factory farming, in general, is no one's favorite subject. The details here are particularly unpleasant to think about: masses of creatures enduring lives of unrelieved confinement and deprivation. The information I have given you should be reason enough for you to sign petitions and vote for initiatives that would ban the practice of factory farming. The trade knows factory farming as "intensive confinement" or "mass confinement," and to them it is “standard practice”. And as we're seeing already in their fight against the Arizona initiative, pork producers and their PR firms do not take kindly to criticism of what they regard as "standard practice." As a result of the confined, crowded, and unsanitary conditions found on factory farms, animals are stressed and prone to sickness. Rather than improving these squalid conditions, factory farm owners routinely add low doses of antibiotics to animal feed. In addition to preventing widespread disease, the use of antibiotics benefits factory farms by artificially boosting animals' growth rates. As a result, huge quantities of antibiotics are currently fed to animals on factory farms. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, approximately 70% of all antibiotics used in the U.S. are fed to farm animals. And then we eat these animals. Unfortunately, the routine administration of antibiotics has the undesirable effect of promoting the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Although the low dosage of antibiotics kills many bacteria, the stronger bacteria that survive can reproduce and pass their resistance to future generations. Since bacteria are able to reproduce in as little as 20 minutes, routine administration of antibiotics can prompt the rapid development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which can spread directly to humans and animals. When manure is spread onto fields or stored in manure lagoons, these resistant bacteria can also contaminate waterways and groundwater. As these antibiotic-resistant bacteria spread, medicines used to treat diseases become less effective. Thus development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria poses a significant threat to human health. It is estimated that antibiotic resistant bacteria cause U.S. health care costs to increase by $4 billion each year. Human health is also threatened by illnesses that are caused by pathogens found within our food. Although certain bacteria exist naturally in meat and animal products, unsanitary conditions in factory farms and industrial processing facilities allow dangerous food-borne pathogens to thrive, jeopardizing the safety of our food supply. As a result, every year, more than one quarter of all Americans suffer from some type of food-borne illness. According to the Centers for Disease Control, food-borne disease causes 76 million illnesses, 325,000 hospitalizations, and 5,000 deaths in the U.S. every year. Pork producers figured out some years ago that if they packed the maximum number of pigs into the minimum amount of space, if they pinned the creatures down into fit-to-size iron crates above slatted floors and carved out giant "lagoons" to contain the manure - if they turned the "farm," in short, into a sunless hell of metal and concrete - it made everything so much more efficient. An obvious cost-saver, and from the industry's standpoint, that should settle the matter. Veal, by definition, is the product of a sick, anemic, deliberately malnourished calf, a newborn dragged away from his mother in the first hours of life. Veal calves are dealt the harshest of punishments for the least essential of meats. "Cost-saver" in industrial livestock agriculture may usually be taken to mean "moral shortcut." For all of its "science-based" pretensions, factory farming is really just an elaborate, endless series of evasions from the most elementary duties of honest animal husbandry. Man, the rationalizing creature, can justify just about anything when there is money in sight. It's only easier when your victims are so completely out of sight and unable to speak for themselves. To the factory farmer, in contrast to the traditional farmer with his sense of honor and obligation, the animals are "production units," and accorded all the sympathy that term suggests. As conservative commentator Fred Barnes put it in the Wall Street Journal, "On the old family farms, pigs and cattle and chickens were raised for food, but they were free for a time; they mated, raised piglets, calves and chicks and were protected by the farmers . . . . They had a life. On industrial farms, they don't." Much as the tortured animals are kept on four legs by hormones and antibiotics, the entire enterprise is sustained by those federal subsidies and billions more paid by government to repair industrial farming's immense collateral damage to land, water and air. The illusion of consumer savings depends not only on unscrupulous corporate farmers, but also on complaisant citizens and blithely indifferent consumers who don't ask too many questions - least of all moral questions. And the industry wants to keep it that way. Just buy the "cheap" meat, forget the damned animals, and keep the subsidies coming. Unless you can get your pork products from a local farmer who treats his animals humanly, I request that you give up eating pork products and for heavens sake, do not eat veal! The factory-farmed lobby is too strong in Washington for us to defeat. It needs to be done state by state and by boycotting pork and veal. Boycotting is the strongest weapon to use to defeat this cruelty. Ask yourself why any creature of God, however humble, should be made to endure the dark, lonely, tortured existence of the factory farm, and what kind of people build their fortunes upon such misery. To your good health and longevity, Ira Marxe CEO, Good Health Supplement Copyrighted © 2006 - All Rights Reserved Health Disclaimer: The information contained in this or any GHS related articles or materials are not intended to take the place of personal medical advice from your health care professional. Any action taken based on the contents found in this or any GHS related articles, materials or information is at the sole discretion of the reader. Readers should consult appropriate health professionals as necessary on any matter relating to their health and well-being. Any information or opinions provided here or in any GHS related articles, materials or information are believed to be accurate and sound, however no GHS personal or associates will be held responsible on behalf of any reader who fails to consult appropriate health authorities with respect to their individual health care, and the author or publisher of any information is not responsible for errors or omissions.

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