Many of us are aware of the ethical reasons to stop supporting factory farming (check out documentaries Food Inc or Earthlings for more). Yet what about the less "hippy dippy" reasons for those who are not as convinced?

The greenest way to be is meat-free, however you can have your meat and eat it too, while still playing your part in saving the world. Together we can help put the brakes on the dark direction the food industry is taking.

Put Your Dollar to Good Use:

1. Superbugs - Commercial farming routinely administers low-dose antibiotics to the animals to prevent disease, and to promote rapid growth. However, not all bacteria are wiped out by the treatments, and those that aren’t can acquire resistance to the antibiotics used. These bacteria then multiply and create a new resistant population.

If we eat commercial meats, we may consume small residues of this resistant strain of bacteria that then colonize within our bodies. What would happen if we got very sick, but our bodies contain bacteria that fight our only antibiotic treatment? In fact, a number of scientists and medical experts believe antibiotics could soon become obsolete.

“As bacteria become more antibiotic resistant, people can no longer be sure that prescribed drugs actually work”.  -- Michael Khoo,
Want Drugs With Those Fries?

Verdict: “Incurable” is not a word you want to hear uttered in front of your diagnosis.

2. Fillers
- Our society likes quantity. Getting a lot at little cost is always awesome! But what if you were actually getting ripped off? After all, these corporations want to make money just as much as you want to save it. You’re holding the $4 commercial chicken breasts, large and plump, in one hand, while in the other rests the $11 organic chicken, looking like a poster for the itty bitty titty committee. More for less, right? However, meat packers have begun to bulk up the commercial chicken breasts just like, well, human breasts can be, in order to dazzle us consumers:

“Hydrolized pork proteins, extracted by chemical hydrolysis from old animals, or parts of animals which cannot be used for food, such as skin, hide, bone, used to bulk up chicken. When injected into chicken with water, these proteins make the flesh swell up and retain liquid”. -- Felicity Lawrence, Beef and Pork Proteins Found In Imported Chicken

Verdict: $4 for flesh-encapsulated water that only looks like chicken? Is that really more for less? Not everything that “tastes like chicken” is actually chicken.

3. E coli - Vegetables are getting a bad rep for harboring E coli these days, but people seem to forget that the source of this E coli is due to the unsanitary conditions of factory farms. In regards to findings in typical pig farm manure, Kellog Schwab, the Director of the John Hopkins Center for Water and Health stated, “There were 10 million E. coli per liter [of sampled waste]. Ten million. And you have a hundred million liters in some of those pits. That's a massive amount that in a rain event can contaminate the environment."

Verdict: Mass production of animals results in a whole lotta “waste”.

4. Mad Cow Redux
- Making carnivores out of vegetarian animals is a dangerous mistake. We’ve all heard about the disaster that was “Mad Cow” disease, the result of turning cows into cannibals. Since then, the European Union has banned using animal parts in feed, however Canada and the United States took a different route.

“While cattle, sheep, goats, and deer can’t be given feed that contains proteins from animals like themselves, their own bodies can still be turned into feed for chickens, pigs, and pets. In the U.S, chicken and pigs can be fed back to cattle, and bovine blood is still fed to calves.” -- Thomas F. Pawlick, The End of Food

Verdict: I guess no one received the memo about learning from past mistakes.

5. Less Nutrients -
When thinking of meat, protein mainly comes to mind, but meat contains other nutrients too. However, once they managed to synthesize Vitamin D (the “sunshine” vitamin), it was easier and less costly to just keep animals in dark rooms and fortify their food with synthetic-D, along with any other missing vitamins and minerals.  But as we know, nothing synthesized is ever as good as the real thing. Since factory farming first became our main source of meat production, there have been the following declines:

Skinless, roasted white meat has lost 51.6% of its Vitamin A, and 39.9% potassium, while gaining 32.6% fat and 20.3% sodium. 

Dark meat has lost 52% Vitamin A, 25.2% potassium, and gained 54.4% fat and 8.1% sodium.
 
Verdict: Just a plain ol’ rip off. Not only is the chicken swollen with not-chicken, but its nutrients are mostly not-nutrients too.
 
The Bottom Line:
2 pure chicken breasts, $11.00
Ground beef without resistant bacteria, $7.00
Getting your money’s worth from your food and contributing to a healthier future? Priceless.

Taking Action:

THINK LOCAL.


1. Check out the following resources for pasture fed and humanely raised animals.
    In the United States check out:

    In Canada:
2. Go to local farmers markets, meet farmers and ask them about their practices.

EAT & SPEND RESPONSIBLY.

1. Employ meatless Mondays, and/or be more conscious of your meat intake.
2. Eat less fast food. To keep prices low, most of them use factory-produced meat.
3. Support restaurants that use pasture-fed, organic meats


image credits:
Pigs via and Mad Cow via

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