The Real Beef on Grain Fed Cattle, Dairy Cows, and the Dairy Industry.

Our beef and dairy are filthy and tortured. Let’s stop supporting these industries.

Image for post
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash

In a Wendy’s commercial released in 1984, Clara Peller, manicurist, demanded:

What we should be asking is, “What’s in the beef?”

This year, I participated in public demonstrations with Laura Ray’s Boston Animal Advocates. This group is dedicated to promoting veganism and animal welfare through public demonstrations and education. I’ve learned quite a bit and what I learned about the U.S. food supply shocked me.

The meat and dairy industries are not only bad for animals, but the products of their tortured bodies is unhealthy for us. This is largely due to the fact that cows and cattle are fed grain, but are biologically engineered to eat grass.

Grain causes a myriad of health problems for dairy cows and beef cattle.

It accumulates in the animal’s intestines because their systems lack starch-digesting enzymes. These enzymes accumulate and produce an overgrowth of a bacterium known as Clostridium perfringens. Health problems, such as abscesses, result and are then treated with sub-therapeutic antibiotics.

Humans then ingest the animal products and therefore these sub-therapeutic antibiotics. It’s no wonder that there are resistant strains of bacteria. I, for one, never considered that food was part of the source.

These antibiotics are manufactured to treat animals and maximize their value by keeping them at their ideal weight.

The bottom line, as always, is profit.

Grass raised cattle makes more sense from an environmental standpoint as well. Grass is turned into something people can eat, no antibiotics, it decreases soil-erosion, improves soil fertility, and water quality by sustaining grasslands which protect soil from water and wind erosion.

The current system contaminates our water supply. Unfortunately, dairy cows and beef cattle, like humans, grow bigger, faster when they are pumped up with steroids. And ecology doesn’t pay, or turn a profit.

The second thing that shocked me is the living conditions of these animals.

Sequestered into spaces where they can barely move, animals marinate in their own filth. Dead animals share space with the living, more bacteria.

The World Health Organization has labeled processed and red meats as carcinogenic. It is also alleged that these products contribute to the development of diabetes and heart disease.

Why then do we continue to eat red meat?

Lobbying efforts keep the United States near the top of the list in meat consumption. Yes, sometimes conspiracy theories are true.

The American Diabetes Association (ADA), American Cancer Society (ACS), American Heart Association and Susan G. Komen Foundation all promoted the very items on their websites that cause the diseases they are allegedly trying to prevent.

The ACS, AHA, and ADA have accepted millions of dollars from pharmaceutical companies that are making billions by selling drugs to treat the diseases caused by the foods they (these health associations) are promoting.

Kraft, Oscar Meyer, Tyson Chicken, Dannon, Yoplait, Pizza Hut, KFC, Taco Bell, Subway, and Domino’s are some of the companies funding these health organizations. In short, drug companies ensure we get sick and then sell us the drugs to treat the disease.

Another interesting fact: the dairy industry is the largest consumer of the pharmaceutical industry.

Don’t forget the pesticides.

In addition to grain and filth, drug chemical industries provide pesticide-filled GMO corn and soy.

Cows fed corn or soy diets may be colonized with the E. Coli strain 0157:H7, which caused food poisoning, and in some instances death, in humans. Cattle were also infected. Though it has been nicknamed “Hamburger Disease“, there was even a case where uncooked cookie dough contained this E. Coli. Outbreaks date back to 1992.

Dairy cows, cattle, chicken, and pigs subsist under inhumane conditions and sadly, all birds are excluded from federal protection laws. On top of harming animals, factory farms pollute the environment and do it using taxpayer-funded loans.

Chickens certainly don’t have it easy.

Broiler chickens are biologically engineered to grow so fast and at such a young age that they struggle to move or even stand. Their bones and organs are too immature to support their disproportionately large breasts.

Egg-laying hens are produced to generate high volumes of eggs and the labeling on egg cartons is misleading.

Look for American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA): Animal Welfare Approved, Certified Humane, and Global Animal Partnership labels to ensure the additional dollars you’re shelling out are worth it.

Click here to see the egg guide.

Both egg-laying and broiler chicks are forced to live in stuffy, overcrowded conditions, in wet, dirty litter, where they develop respiratory infections and are then fed the already mentioned sub-therapeutic antibiotics.

Chickens that die are left to rot in their cages. This is another breeding ground for bacteria.

Know what else? This is the U.S. food supply.

Pigs and turkeys don’t have it any better.

Grain should be fed to people, not cattle.

You may already know that the United States is saddled with the reputation of being the greedy consumer of 24% of the world’s food supply while making up only 5% of the population.

But did you know that grain consumed by cattle would feed more people than the meat produced by them?

Who is this industry supporting anyway?

According to a study conducted at Cornell University by David Pimental, Professor of Ecology in Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences:

“If all the grain currently fed to livestock in the United States were consumed directly by people, the number of people who could be fed would be nearly 800 million. Or, if those grains were exported, it would boost the U.S. trade balance by (approximately) $80 billion a year. More actually goes into feeding livestock than what the livestock produces.

The 7 billion livestock animals in the United States consume five times as much grain as is consumed by the entire American population.”

How can you eat and not support the dairy and meat industries?

It’s difficult, but it can be done. Break it down, like any project.

Committing to go completely vegan all at once is like saying you’re going to clean out your house. It’s overwhelming. Begin by going into each room and start with the corners.

Image for post

Can’t give up that cheese? If not, can you maybe give up milk? I’ve found Almond Milk a delicious substitute and a cup has more calcium than cow’s milk.

But you need that milk or cream for your coffee? Ripple plant-based milk products are a great substitute. You can even create barista style foams.

Want that burger after your workout at the gym? How about trying The Beyond Burger? Beyond also makes Beyond Chicken. Beyond received funding from Tyson, but PETA named it the 2013 company of the year and the other investors are reputable.

I’ve tried the beef, grilled, and they’re pretty good. Just cook it as you would a rare burger.

Try a vegan recipe for one meal a week. Just one. Beans are low in fat and are also provide protein.

If the idea of going totally vegan is just too super crunchy for you, could you try vegetarianism? You’d be cutting out the meat, but not the dairy.

Change one behavior. If everyone did, it would have a huge impact.

And maybe you can’t do it 100% all the time, but by cutting down on meat and dairy we can change our eating habits, little by little, and make a positive change not only for animals, but for our health.

Happy eating!

Written by

Marilyn is a writer, yogi, and spiritual medium. Her favorite people are animals, especially ones that meow. She loves the ocean and hates one-use plastic.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store