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Meet Your Meat Essay

1097 words - 5 pages

Thousands of people die each year due to the way our meat products are being handled. Animals are being forced to live in poor conditions and they are given drugs and food that are unnatural. The cow herd size has increase 8 times more than it was 16 years ago and two percent of livestock farms now raise 40% of the animals in the United States (Weaver). These statistics are painting a picture of the industry that the beef market has created. The way that these industries are running is having a negative impact on both the animals and society.
Living in Idaho, it is normal to see a few cows. For the most part, I will see cows in open fields just eating the vegetation around them. The owner of Polyface Farms, Joel Salatin, talks about how a cow’s life should be logically lived. They are raised in fields where they have plenty of grass, cloves, and herbs to eat. While in these fields they are fertilizing the land and they are harvesting their own food source. No one needs to plant corn, harvest corn, ship the corn, and find a place for all of the manure. Logically, Salatin’s notion makes perfect sense. We don’t have to ship the food across the county and it isn’t a struggle to figure out where to put all of the manure. Cows don’t naturally eat corn and by eating corn they are gaining more problems than they had before. If cows were to eat grass for just 5 days, the amount of E. Coli was be decreased by 80% (Kenner, Pearce and Schlosser). AFO stands for Animal Feeding Operations. These are defined when animals are raised and confined situations. These places congregate animals, feed, manure and urine, dead animals, and production operations on a small land area (What is a CAFO?). Many CAFOs are extremely unsanitary and occasionally cows are standing knee deep in their own manure (Kenner, Pearce and Schlosser). In some cases animals are not able to turn around and sometimes they do not have the basic access to fresh air or sunlight. Their living conditions and their diet is affecting the overall quality of the meat being produced.
Hormones have been used for the meat and dairy industries for decades now. When they are injected into young livestock it can make them gain weight faster. This is a good thing for the producer because more weight equals more meat, which also means more profit. Throughout the years some of the hormones used have been proven to have terrible consequences but the most common one used today is the Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH). This hormone is used on the dairy cow and it increases the amount of milk produced (Hoffman). On average there is a 10% to 15% increase. Which is something that the producer is looking for. The horomone has been around for about 60 years now it was FDA approved in 1993 for commercial use. Now since then it has been found that these hormones increase the incidence of mastitis and some reproductive issues in the cows. However it appears that these issues aren’t affecting the overall quality of...

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