I am currently reading a book called “The Ominivore’s Dilemma”. A friend of mine recommended it, after I was talking about “Hot, Flat and Crowded” as it distinctly relates to the environment we are currently living in. The book breaks down three different food cycles – The Industrial, The Pastoral (organic farming), and The Hunter-Gatherer food cycles. I am right in the middle of the Pastoral food cycle and while I am a little surprised by some things I’m reading, I’m not nearly as horrified and shocked as I was by the Industrial food cycle, which mainly serves to produce cheap meat.
To summarize 120 pages of the book into 500 words: The Industrial Food Cycle stemmed from over -production of corn. Due to programs sponsored by the government, farmers can’t make a living producing corn and to have to grow more and more to eke out a living. This has been an ongoing problem since then end of WW2, and has resulted in annually massive surpluses of corn. This surplus of corn needed to be utilized, so scientists used it to develop almost every food additive we have, and feedlots started feeding it to cattle.
Cattle have bacteria in their rumen (the rumen is similar to their stomach), which help to convert grass into nutrients that help them gain weight. However, feedlots discovered that due to the concentrated calories in corn, they could force the cows to gain weight faster by feeding them corn. NOW HERE IS THE SHOCKING PART – little does anyone know that cow’s rumen’s and bacteria cannot properly digest corn. So, as a result of eating corn the rumen gets acidotic and the bacteria starts reproducing out of control. This causes the cows to get incredibly sick and the only way they can survive on the feedlot for the year required to be big enough to go to the slaughter house is by being pumped full of anti-biotics and hormones. Every day they are fed anti-biotics and hormones for an entire year!!!! As a result of consuming all of these antibiotics, the manure that the cows lay in every day now houses large quantities of drug resistant E.Coli bacteria, which recently paralyzed a girl for life, who ate a contaminated hamburger.
I don’t really care about animal rights. I’m a cold hearted bitch when it comes to animals. HOWEVER, I certainly want to take care of my own body. And in order to do this I certainly don’t want to be eating anti-biotics or hormones every day. I am so shocked by this because I know so many people that go on and on and on about how they don’t want to take a Tylenol for their headache, but then they eat TONS OF MEAT!! I can guarantee you, that the hormones and anti-biotics that are present in the meat you are eating are far far far worse for your body than that measly Tylenol.
Further on the topic of what they feed to cows, did you know that although the USFDA has banned feedlots from feeding the same species of animal to the animals they are raising (ie. chicken meat can’t be fed to chickens, nor cow to cow), cows still get a vast amount of their protein from beef tallow (essentially beef lard residues left over from the slaughterhouse), and if that isn’t disgusting enough, please consider that it is common practice to feed chicken pellets, bedding and excrement to beef on the feedlot as a source of protein. That is just downright DISGUSTING!! Who wants to eat that? If only because it’s truly harmful and damaging to your own body, never mind the environment or the actual animals.
And on that note, were you aware that more than 50% of greenhouse gas emissions are produced from livestock and the transport of meat around the world. This figure includes the emissions by the animals, which is significantly higher than grass easting animals because their stomachs are essentially rotting, the oil needed for transport and the oil (yes, actually crude oil) required to GROW THE CORN!!! Say what??? Why would you need oil to grow corn???
Well, as it turns out, oil is used to make the fertilizer that is used to grow the corn. Farmers need to put this type of fertilizer on their fields so that the ground has enough nutrients to actually grow the corn because the farmers are not responsibly rotating crops so the soil is losing all it’s nutrients. Further, in order to grow corn as close to each other as farmers do now, the soil has to have massive amounts of nutrients. This fertilizer inevitable washes away during rains, gets into the fresh water supply and into the ocean and resultantly causes over production of algae, which removes oxygen from the water and kills all the other organisms in the water.
- Eating one lb of meat is will emit equivalent greenhouse gases to driving an SUV 40 miles
- One c ow, before slaughter will have consumed equivalent to 2 BARRELS of oil in its’ lifetime
So by stopping eating meat, or at least drastically reducing it, you are single handedly reducing your Eco-footprint by 50%!!! There is literally nothing else you can do that would be more beneficial to the environment than that. NOTHING!!!!