Animals,  Farms,  Politics

5 Reasons I Don’t Buy Meat at the Grocery Store

I am picky about where I buy my meat. Honestly, I do buy some meat at the grocery store, but only grass fed stuff from the local stores that I can trust. I never buy meat from the large chain stores. My ideal is to buy it from farms only. Or, even more ideally, someday, we’ll produce it all ourselves! That will be the day! 🙂 Why don’t I like buying meat from the grocery store? Let me share!

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:

The photo in this post can be found here and was taken by Heidi Kennedy.


  • Avtryck

    If you are not fine with the amount of vitamins and omega 3 acid in your meat. (which is a quite piece of … poo). Take a pill with these and be normal.

      • Brenda

        Somethings Cookin, thank you for your comment! Yes, I was thinking, about the above comment, that taking a pill isn’t something that people ever had to do in the past. Taking a pill is a newer invention–to make up for the lack of nutrients in our diet because of the way that food is processed! It may be “normal” for the times, but that doesn’t mean that “normal” is right or good.

    • Ken

      It’s sad you believe popping a pill is normal. By the way the absorption rate of vitamins and minerals in most pill forms is near to nothing….enjoy your normal. I’ll continue to get me vitamins and minerals from the earth as it was intended to be…you know…normal.

  • Somethings Cookin

    Except for chicken and a few specialty items here and there, we do raise our own meat. I don’t know why we haven’t raised our own chickens for meat yet, since we raise some for eggs. I wish more people would/could figure this out, because the CAFO’s are the health problem, not the meat when raised naturally.

    • Hank Kingsley

      If you spread all those animals out over a large space, with some kind of cottage industry, you would still need to have the same amount of animals. So instead of CAFOs, you would have millions of smaller little farming operations, still unregulated and many would be treating animals worse than they are in CAFOs. Health inspections would be much, much more difficult if not impossible. How would you propose the millions of people living in dense urban environments like cities accommodate raising chickens and cows in their one bedroom high-rise apartments?

      • Somethings Cookin

        It was done that way for thousands of years and it worked. Health inspections wouldn’t be as needed if the animals weren’t kept in confinement.

        There are roof top gardens and empty lots even in densely populated areas-chickens can be raised there. Not cattle, but why can’t the people in the city get their meat from people who raise it in the ‘burbs, like they used to?

        • Hank Kingsley

          It may have been done that way for thousands of years in ANCIENT HISTORY. But we had something called the industrial age, and modern civilization, which would make it impossible to do the same thing again. Rooftop gardens on a massive tower block can’t provide enough food to feed everyone in a densely populated city. Is this not just… obvious.

          You can still get your meat locally if you want to, just go to a farmer’s market.

          • Brenda

            @Guest, it’s not “impossible to do the same thing again.” Yes, there are cities. But there are also acres and acres of land that isn’t being farmed. One drive across the country will show you the vast spread of it. There are SO MANY “hobby farmers” who buy acreage and do nothing with most of it. It would be great if people who want to raise meat could partner with these people. There is plenty of land.

  • Anonymous

    There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death. Proverbs 14:12, 16:25. I have always wondered why this OT verse was repeated, but experience and your post make it much clearer! CAFO’s are an abomination. Thankfully I found a local family which knows how to nurture animals and produce quality meat, milk and eggs! Great post!

    • Hank Kingsley

      If you want to adhere to everything it that book, you’re going to need a time machine to take you back to the Bronze Age. 😉

        • Hank Kingsley

          As is true with a lot of the content in the bible canons. I was tongue-in-cheek here, hence the winking emote. CAFOs to me are more a harsh reality of modern civilization than an ‘abomination’, but I am not a religious sort.

          I grew up on a ranch, and next to a CAFO, an egg ranch. Massive amounts of chickens in tiny cages. The kids that worked there would play soccer with chickens until they stopped breathing. The degree of cruelty that goes on in those operations is far worse than just the base conditions. Workers cannot help but become inhumane towards the animals, they become desensitized over time, and are mostly stupid kids.

          But I can’t see how you would fix those problems. Creating regulations is one thing, but enforcing them is next to impossible. You couldn’t make legislation to shut down all CAFOs and force people to raise their own livestock inside their high-rise apartments in the city, putting farms out of business and destroying people’s livelihood.

          That is why I say that the biblical verses are irrelevant in our modern times. They were written in another age, before the industrial revolution. To adhere to them now would be impossible.

          • Brenda

            @Jim, I agree, the Bible verse you mentioned (and all the rest of them) are just as relevant today as when they were written.
            @Guest I am sorry that you witnessed such cruelty towards farm animals. That is not the norm on a small farm (though I am sure there are some people who would go that low…).
            I’m not saying to create regulations or get the government involved at all. I’m saying, consumers, let’s stand up and stop buying this junk called “meat.” It’s not impossible. We just need enough people to change the system. If we do, small farms will thrive, and large farms (CAFO operations) will “get the hint” (financially) that they need to change or go out of business.

  • Rachel

    Being a small meat farmer, I agree with almost everything you say. However, telling people that manure from CAFOs is not used for anything is incredibly misleading. Dairy and chicken manure are highly sought after, and we would have no intensive organic orchards or vegetable production without CAFOs and the manure they produce. To grow 80 acres of vegetables you need 1 ton of composted manure per acre. That’s 80 tons. I would have to raise at least 150 cows or 400 sheep to “grow” this manure for my own farm. Then we would have to go through all the pasture land and scoop it up. Even if you work for free, how much money is this manure going to cost you? More than you will earn selling your vegetables. Selling the manure is a big part of any intensive feeding operation. You have good ideas and information, please do some research before you make these blanket statements. I’m sure you’re going to say, well, grow your own vegetables on a small scale with small scale manure. Yes, that’s the right way to do it. But reality is if you want to earn any money farming, you have to grow food for other people, not just you. You will always have to have an outside job. And people have certain expectations regarding price and quality that you have to meet, or the market will.

    • Marti Andrews- Pete Fernandez

      While not 100% certain, I am fairly sure that Organic farmers can’t and don’t use CAFCO manure due to the high incidence of antibiotic usage (a direct result of the conditions in which these animals live) and the lack of an organic diet – all those acres of corn and soy grown to feed those industrialized animals are GMO and NOT organic and a true organic farm requires organic compost/fertilizer

      • Hank Kingsley

        That’s the problem right there. You start requiring GMO labeling of all food and people are going to misled about what’s really in what they are eating. Assure something is totally GMO free? Not really possible without making food four to five times as expensive as it is now. You’d need an entirely different labeling schema for the fertilizer used to grow the food, and then for the slurry fed to the animals that produced that fertilizer, and their entire pedigree.

    • Heather Helm

      go to organic stores look online around your area. you can find grass feed healthy meats their and veggies that are way healthier for you .

    • Kimberly Dart

      I just got on the internet and looked. I found a fresh meat market in Houston, and the prices are extremely less expensive than the grocery store. It’s not in the best of neighborhoods, but I am willing to bypass my feelings of insecurity, in order to purchase fresh meat for my family. They have a meat package that includes steak, ground beef, turkey wings, chicken, pork sausage and chops, enough to feed my family of four for a month, for $140. Not too shabby…

    • Hank Kingsley

      Farmer’s Markets are in most cities, the meat there is usually locally produced on smaller operations. There’s one here every Saturday. But yes it’s a bit more expensive than grocery store fodder, and it will take you more time because there’s usually a line for anything that’s a staple at the Farmer’s Market, like milk and eggs. Alternatively, live in on a farm and raise it yourself.

  • William

    These are some, to me very moot points, but i am a newly Buddhism following person and the points you made about health were very, very helpful. Thank you.

  • Heather Helm

    i was floored when i found out what they feed our cows and chickens and pigs and these factories just sicken me and i also watch the veggies and breads i buy..i am not one to eat white flour and corn syrup and load my bodies with all sorts of hormones that what gets us fat..the fast food industry omg is so sick i want to barf when i see the heavy pollution they put in their mouths and the fast food industry is totally getting away with the toxic chemicals they out in our children and adults mouths just sicken me

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