Where’s the (grass-fed) beef and why does it matter?

Written By: Thatcher Michelsen February 22, 2012 0
Grass-fed cattle are raised more ethically and healthily than industrially reared herds.
Grass-fed cattle are raised more ethically and healthily than industrially reared herds.

An old adage suggests that "you are what you eat," but that raises a philosophical dilemma – if you are what you eat (and let's say you eat pork), are you also comprised of whatever the pig ate? If you believe that's the case, then you're probably interested in grass-fed beef. Many people, philosophers or otherwise, that choose to live a green lifestyle have shown increasing interest in the alternatively raised cattle.

While cattle are typically fed a diet that consists of corn and grains, grass-fed cattle, of course, feed on only grass. Because enough grass to feed a herd of cattle can only be produced before the harvesting season, farmers must be prepared to solely produce grass-fed beef, which can be very expensive and time-consuming.

Farmers are taking on the venture regardless, in response to both popularity of the product among consumers and the abating reputation of industrial agriculture, which has become infamous for using excessive antibiotics, steroids, fertilizers and pesticides.

Jon Taggart, a rancher who used to produce beef the traditional way and now raises cattle only on grass, told TIME Magazine that instead of being part of the manufacturing process of the livestock supply chain, he takes care of the whole process himself. He brings the meat that he and his wife package themselves to customers in Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas, that he said are very willing to pay a higher price for "beef with integrity – straight from pasture to dinner plate."

There are health benefits for the people that eat grass-fed beef, as well. According to the publication, animals that are 100-percent grass-fed are lower in saturated fats and higher in healthy omega-3 fatty acids that have been said to improve the immune system and prevent heart disease.

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