1. Because I believe that animals should be able to roam on grass and live in the sun.
It’s how God created them. They are, after all, “the beasts of the field.” When God told Adam to have dominion over these beasts, he didn’t say “the beasts of the boxed in, dark, poopy, stinky factory.” Nope. Joel Salatin says that letting pigs, for example, roam on pasture (which they’ll happily tear up for you!) is letting a pig “express it’s pigness.” When we see pigs living like pigs in our backyard, it brings us joy–and we glorify God because of it. Raising pigs in a dark, stinky building is not natural. Please tell me if you’ve ever walked into one of those poop factories and started singing songs of praise because it was such a beautiful sight. No? Didn’t think so. You were probably holding your breath.
2. Because Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO’s) are polluting this good earth that God has given us.
We’re only here on this earth for up to 100 years or so, if we’re lucky. But we can’t look at our own life and think that’s all there is. Do you have a generational vision? We do. My husband and I pray for our children, our future grandchildren, and our future great-grandchildren. We pray that they’ll all know and worship God. Personally, I want to be a good steward of this earth so that they, my progeny (big word!), will have a nice, healthy earth to live on while they live out their lives and worship God. Don’t you want that for your future children’s children’s children?
The smallest CAFO produces the same amount of urine and feces that 16,000 humans could produce. It would take dozens of truckloads to remove this waste. That waste is not spread out upon the acres, and acres, and acres of land that need manure for crops across the country. Nope. It’s dumped into piles. A typical CAFO will have 2 large piles–one of feed, and one of manure. Often times, they will dump the manure into a lagoon on their property. When it rains, the lagoons often overflow and pollute the local water supply with various diseases, as well as the residue from antibiotics. CAFO water kills fish (so we kill off 1 food source by the way we raise another).
The many, many acres of corn, soybeans, wheat and other vegetation that is grown in our country is supplemented, typically, with chemical fertilizers, instead of the manure that is produced from the CAFO’s. The ideal farm has crops of vegetation and just the right amount of manure-producing beasts to keep their own land fertile.
3. Because CAFO’s are not sustainable.
Again, I’m thinking about the future of my grandchildren and great-grandchildren. This practice of raising cattle, and pork, and chickens in confinement cannot continue. It’s not economically sustainable. The whole system is supported by our tax payer dollars. Discount meat at the grocery store is a big fat lie. It’s expensive to raise meat, no matter which way you do it. It’s more expensive to raise poultry in $200,000 chicken houses than it is to raise them on pasture, though! The lighting, the electricity, the staff to manage the manure clean up. (Let me tell you, as a chicken farmer’s wife, we don’t clean up our chickens’ manure! Nope! We don’t have to pay any staff to clean it up, either! We simply put our chickens on grass–not too many for the area–and they poop in the grass. My husband moves them to fresh grass every day. Their nitrogen-rich manure is a fertilizer for our fields, and it’s a win-win situation!).
The farmers are barely making an income. That’s not sustainable, either. Does it feel good to use a coupon on your meat, get it super, super cheap, and to know that the farmer who grew it is $400,000 in debt on his chicken buildings and he barely makes enough money to cover his mortgage? Eat up! Or do we vote with our dollars and stop supporting this kind of business model?
4. Because there is no flavor in factory-raised meats.
Once you get hooked on farm-fresh meats, you’ll never want to go back. Our chicken stock from our home-grown, pasture-raised chickens is dark golden and rich with flavor. Grass-fed beef is delicious! Since we’ve lived this farm-life, we’ve dined at a few restaurants that did not serve grass fed meats, and I always find myself so disappointed in the food. It lacks a great deal of flavor. They make up for the lack of flavor with Textured Vegetable Protein (soy!) and MSG, but it’s never the same as fresh-from-the-farm-meat!
5. Because meat from animals that are raised in confinement is not healthy.
Think of every study you’ve read about that says that eating beef causes heart disease, etc. You know, the articles that make all of your friends want to be vegetarians? (and maybe even you?). These studies were done on factory-raised meats! Need I say more? Traditional people ate meat. It’s always been apart of traditional, healthy cultures. In times of poverty, people may have eaten only vegetables, starches and grains, but always with an impact to their health. The robust civilizations have always eaten meat. The kind of “meat” that we have in our grocery stores today is a relatively new kind of “food.”
Meat that is raised in CAFO’s lacks the healthy Omega 3’s that are naturally found in pasture-raised animals. It also lacks several vitamins, including Vitamin E.
The animals in CAFO’s are fed an unnatural diet of soy, corn, manure from other animals, and processed foods. (All of this is bad, but the corn and soy thing always gets me. Who ever thought it was natural to feed these things to cows, chickens, turkeys and pigs? What pig is going to climb up a corn stalk, shuck the corn, and eat it? There is so much human processing that has to be done to turn these plants into food for an animal who was never meant to eat it in the first place). This unnatural diet creates an acidic environment in the gut of a cow, which is the perfect environment for e.Coli and other diseases to flourish. Yum! Doesn’t that make you hungry?! Not to mention, the soy is a phytoestrogen and while it creates lovely big-breasted chickens, when you consume them you are raising your risk of breast cancer and several gut cancers. All in all, meat from most grocery stores is extremely unhealthy and damaging to our health.
So, are you hungry for dinner now? What are you eating tonight?
For more info, read the following books:
- Folks, This Ain’t Normal by Joel Salatin
- The Ominvore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan
- In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan