Grass Fed Beef vs. Grain Fed Beef
Matthew Buckman Carla Baku English 1A 10:45 September 23, 2012 Beef Grass Fed Beef vs. Grain Fed Beef Before World War Two (WW2), ranchers raised grass fed cows and that was the norm. But because of the high demand for beef after WW2 ranchers had to change the way they raised cows.
Ever since WW2, cows have been raised on grain which has become the norm when it comes to raising cows. That means they are fed mainly corn instead of grass. With the cows being fed corn they get fatter quicker so that means that they are at the weight to get slaughtered quicker.
That was until recently when people started questioning corn fed beef and the health risks and how humane it was for the cows. Every year there are millions of cows slaughtered in the U. S for humans to consume. Most of the cows that are slaughtered are grain fed cows. Although some people argue that grain fed beef isn’t worse than grass fed beef in fact we should start eating more grass fed beef because it is more humane for the cows, better for the environment and it is healthier than grain fed beef for the consumer and the cows.
We should start eating more grass fed beef because it is more humane for the cows. The first way that it is more humane for the cows is that they aren’t cooped up in a feed lot. This means that the cows aren’t kept in a confined space with other cows. They are more freely able to walk around on pastures and have the choice to eat whenever they want instead of having specific eating times. This allows the cows to live as they were meant to instead of the way grain fed cows are just raised for a quicker slaughter.
Also with feed lots being such a confined space it collects a lot of manure instead which causes a lot of air and water pollution because the wind blows it up and when it rains it seeps into the groundwater. With grass fed cows being able to roam around on pastures they naturally spread their manure around the pasture which fertilizes the land. Another way that grass fed beef is more humane than grain fed beef is that grass fed beef aren’t given antibiotics and hormones like grain fed beef. Grain fed beef needs ntibiotics regularly because of the conditions that they live in. With being cooped up in a feed lot the cows have a lot of health risks such as dust pneumonia and E Coli because of air pollution and water pollution. With grass fed cows being able to roam free on pastures there isn’t as much air and water pollution so there is no need for antibiotics. The last way that grass fed beef is more humane than grain fed beef is that the cows get to live longer lives to get to their slaughter weight.
With cows being raised on grass, it takes them roughly twenty-two months to get to their slaughter weight. That’s almost two full years for a cow to live. With cows being raised on grain they only get to live for sixteen months. That’s a full six months less then grass fed cows. I know that if I was a cow, I would want an extra six months to live. Another reason we should start eating more grass fed beef because it is better for the environment. With grain fed beef, the cows manure is scooped up from their cell block and taken to the closet place to the feed lot to be dumped.
This ruins the surrounding land because with too much manure being dumped in one place it gives the ground too many nutrients. With there being too many nutrients in the ground, the excess nutrients pollute the soil and water. With grass fed cows being raised in pastures they create and spread fertilizer naturally. This means that less chemicals and pesticides have to be used to fertilize the pastures. With pesticides not having to be used to, that means that less pesticides have the chance to get spread through the air and pollute are water ways and contaminate our drinking water.
If pesticides get in our drinking water, it increases the chance of the person drinking the water to have reproductive disorders, and it can lead to neurological damage such as Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease. If farmers continually use pesticides to fertilize their land it reduces the soil fertility. All of these things are bad for our environment and with all of the things that are already bad for the environment, why would we add more to it when cows do the same thing naturally? Another way that grass fed beef is better for the environment is grass fed cows use less fossil fuels.
Grain fed beef requires more fossil fuel to make the diet of the grain fed cows such as dried corn and soy. With all the required burning of these fossil fuels more carbon dioxide is being released into the air which is contributing to global warming. With fossil fuels burning being directly related to global warming, I think that by using less fossil fuel burning with grass fed beef that grass fed beef is better for the environment. The last reason we should start eating more grass fed beef because it is healthier for the consumers and the cows.
When eating grain fed beef, you are taking in high levels of bad fats and cholesterol and low levels of good fats and Vitamin E. Grass fed beef is the complete opposite way, you take in high levels of good fats and Vitamin E, and low levels of bad fats and cholesterol. Just by these comparisons here it is clear that grass fed beef is better for the consumers than grain fed beef. Grass fed beef contains iron and calcium and a heavy healthy dosage of protein. This is all healthy for the consumer to eat. This gives the consumers a better healthier option of beef. Dr. Steve Atchley is one of many health-conscious carnivores fueling the trend. ‘I got tired of telling my patients they couldn’t eat red meat,’ says the Denver cardiologist. So three years ago, he launched Mesquite Organic Foods, which sells grass-fed beef to 74 Wild Oats stores nationwide. Mesquite’s ground beef is 65% lower in saturated fat and its New York strips are 35% lower than conventional beef, as measured by the USDA. “Any feedlot-fattened animal has a much higher level of saturated fat than a forage-fed steer,” says Atchley. Another reason we should start eating more grass fed beef is because it is healthier for the cow that we are eating. With grass fed beef the cows are eating what they were meant to eat. Their four stomachs are made to digest grass. With the cows not having trouble digesting grass, the farmers don’t have to give the cows antibiotics and hormones to make digestion easier. So it only makes sense that with grass fed beef being fed grass that they would be healthier than grain fed beef. With grain fed beef being fed corn, and etc. heir stomachs have a difficult time digesting it because their stomachs aren’t meant to digest it. John Robbins a supporter of grass fed beef states, “When cattle are grain fed, their intestinal tracts become far more acidic, which favors the growth of pathogenic E. coli bacteria, which in turn kills people who eat undercooked hamburger. ” With the cow’s stomachs not being able to digest the grain, the farmers have to regularly give them antibiotics and hormones. Farmers now just put the antibiotics and hormones in the grain. Also before he first big hit of the mad cow disease, farmers would feed cows meat from other cows. This practice was basically turning herbivores into carnivores. This is not healthy at all because things like this are not supposed to be changed because you can’t change the way a living animal’s stomach digests something. This made a lot of cows’ sick which in turn makes the consumers sick. Although some people argue that grain fed beef isn’t worse than grass fed beef in fact we should start eating more grass fed beef because it is more humane for the cows, better for the environment and it is healthier for the consumer and the cows.
Growing up I used to go to my grandpa’s farm every summer and help him with all of his work. He raised cows and chickens. He raised his cows off of grass instead of grains. So growing up I would always have grass fed beef. I feel that I am a healthy person today because of my grandpa having raised his cows on grass instead of grains. Works Citied Robbins, John. What About Grass-fed Beef?. N. p. , 18 April 2010. Web. 30 Sep. 2012. Roosevelt, Margot. “The Grass-Fed Revolution. ” Time Magazine. 11 Jun 2006: 1. Web. 4 Oct. 2012. <http://www. time. com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1200759,00. html>.