The true quality of meat products can vary greatly depending on how animals are raised and processed for sale. Below are the issues we consider when choosing our meat suppliers.
Nutrition. Grass-fed livestock is higher in certain nutrients and lower in saturated fat than grain fed animals.
Safety. Livestock confined in feed lots and fed growth promotants often develop serious diseases. To prevent and treat these problems, animals are treated with antibiotics. Their meat may contain residues from these chemicals treatments.
Environment. Communities around large feed lots suffer from contaminated water and air due to animal waste, dust, insects, and runoff. Livestock should be raised on land that can adequately absorb animal waste to renew grass and feed crops -- without environmental damage.
External Costs and Subsidies. Industrial livestock are fed cheap grain that is heavily subsidized by taxpayers. This grain is almost always from genetically modified crops that are sprayed directly with herbicide and fertilized heavily with chemicals that cause massive environmental damage.
Humane treatment. Livestock cannot digest and absorb the 100% grain diet used to make them grow quickly in feed lots. Diseased organs and stomach bloat are common. The crowded and unclean conditions of large feed lots cause animals stress and disease.
True Cost. Quality meat raised naturally and cleanly costs a bit more; the higher price delivers better nutrition and safer food, and properly accounts for the real costs of production.
For more information on the problems associated with industrial agriculture, please see our Public Policy section on Concentrated Animal Feed Operations (CAFOs).