According to the Sustainable Table website, grain-fed cattle often suffer from a number of health problems such as intestinal damage, dehydration, liver abscesses, and even death. Because of this, farmers and ranchers all over the country have been shying away from feeding grain, soy, hormones, and other artificial additives to their cattle. Grass-feeding or pasture-feeding seems to be the growing trend today and the reason for this shift is the numerous advantages it brings to not only the consumers and environment but also the quality of the meat and the life of the animal. In fact, a large number of restaurants, burger joints, and fast food chains throughout the country are starting to include burgers with grass-fed beef and local ingredients in their menus.
Pasture-feeding involves letting the animals roam freely on the range where they are able to eat grass and other plants, their natural diet in the wild. This type of diet is especially beneficial for cattle and other ruminants, whose bodies are adapted to eat greens alone. Hormones, artificial additives, and growth-promoting drugs are not used in this type of feeding. These animals are believed to be healthier because of their natural environment and low-stress lives. As a result, the meat and the dairy products become more nutritious, tastier, and healthy for the consumers.
A lot of research findings today show that grass-fed beef is better for the health and diet of the consumers. One of the many reasons for such claim is the lower amount of calories and total fat present in pasture-raised foods. These natural farm products are also known to have higher levels of vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, and omega-6 fatty acids compared to the conventional products. More importantly, according to eatwild.com, grass-fed beef contains more vitamin E, beta-carotene, and vitamin C.
Another good reason for choosing to raise cattle on pasture is the absence of factory farming problems. An increasing number of issues associated with the use of industrial farms are being addressed today. Some of these issues include animal abuse, unnecessary use of drugs, stressful farm work, health implications to the public, and the loss of small-family farm businesses. Choosing pasture-fed products over its alternative helps reduce these problems.
Lastly, the grass-feeding system is known to have great benefits for the environment. Most industrial farms operate by using large amounts of fossil fuel and are known to create air, land, and water pollution. On the other hand, pasture systems rely on the animal’s ability to feed itself and spread its own manure. When animals are raised on pasture, their manure is spread throughout a wide area of land, making it a great source of organic fertilizer, not a waste management problem.
A person who chooses to eat grass-fed beef is also choosing to reduce the possibility of acquiring future health problems, support the welfare of the animals, prevent environmental degradation, and help small-family farm businesses. The cost of grass fed meat can be considerable but investing in one’s health is always wise.