Organic/Free-Range/Grass Fed Meat/Dairy

Top Ten Eco-Friendly Reasons to Buy Organic Meat & Dairy

By the Care2.com staff.

Eating fewer animal products is a good choice for the environment. Animal agriculture produces surprisingly large amounts of air and water pollution, and causes 80 percent of the world's annual deforestation. It also requires large amounts of water, and livestock worldwide consumes half the world's total grain harvest.

Simple Solution: When and if you choose to eat animal products you can make a significant difference for your health and the environment by what choosing only organic meat and dairy products raised on sustainable farms. Choosing to support farms that caretake the environment and the animals they raise in an ethical manner, is a very positive way to spend your food dollar.

By supporting local, sustainable and organic farms in your local community you also support the larger community of which we are all a part. By eating animal products raised on such farms you provide the healthiest choice for your family and support the farms that support healthy and ecological neighborhoods.

1. FREE OF ANTIBIOTICS, ADDED HORMONES, GMO FEED, AND OTHER DRUGS; NO GMO ANIMALS

2. MAD COW SAFEGUARD: ANIMALS AREN'T FORCED TO BE CANNIBALS

3. USUALLY - HUMANE, ETHICAL TREATMENT OF ANIMALS

4. USUALLY - ANIMALS FREE -RANGE AND GRAZE

5. THE MIGHT AND MENACE OF MANURE

6. ANIMALS ARE INTEGRAL TO SMALL FARMS

7. FEWER CHEMICALS USED

8. DIVERSITY

9. SAVE RESOURCES

10. YOUR DOLLARS SUPPORT SMALL FARMS

THE WHY, HOW AND HIGHLIGHTS OF THESE TOP TEN

1. FREE OF ANTIBIOTICS, ADDED HORMONES, GMO FEED, AND OTHER DRUGS; NO GMO ANIMALS

WHY: Animals raised organically are not allowed to be fed antibiotics, the bovine human growth hormone (rbGH), or other artificial drugs. Animals are also not allowed to eat genetically modified foods.Further, animal products certified as organic can not have their genes modified (for example, a scorpion gene cannot be spliced into a cow gene).

HOW: The animals are raised in a healthier environment, fed organic feed, and often eat a wider range of nutrients than those raised in factory farms (such as would be the case of free-range chickens and ranch cattle). The animals are not from a testtube.

HIGHLIGHTS: Organically raised animals have been shown to be significantly healthier than their factory-raised counterparts.MORE: Visit the Organic Trade Association website for updates on the U.S. federal organic standards.

2. MAD COW SAFEGUARD: ANIMALS AREN'T FORCED TO BE CANNIBALS

WHY: The practice of feeding cattle the ground up remains of their same species appears to cause bovine spongiform encephalopathy, a horrific disease that destroys the central nervous system and brain, can be given to humans who eat the cows.

The disease in humans has a very long latency period, and is called Creutzfeld-Jakob disease.

HOW: Animals are fed 100 percent organic feed without ground up animal parts.

HIGHLIGHTS: By eating 100 percent organic meat you are protected by a label insuring the cow has only been fed 100 percent organic feed.

3. MORE HUMANE, ETHICAL TREATMENT OF ANIMALS

WHY: Factory farms treat animals like commodities, and they are kept in tightly confined pens and often never move more than a few feet their whole lives.

HOW: Buy meat and eggs raised from chickens raised outdoors free ranging and grazing.

HIGHLIGHTS: Animals are more likely to be raised without cruelty.

4. ANIMALS FREE -RANGE AND GRAZE

WHY: The words "free-range," and "ranch raised" are clues that the animals were raised in a more humane way. Their diet tends to be more well-rounded; the animals are not confined and spend time outdoors in the fresh air.

HOW: Free range chickens eat more grubs and bugs than their industrially-raised counterparts; free range animals graze as they are inclined.

HIGHLIGHTS: Humane and ethical treatment of animals; more nutritious food.

5. MANURE

WHY: Small Farms Use It; Industrial Farms Pollute With It HOW: On small, diverse farms, manure is used to naturally fertilize soil. Industrial farms produce so much manure, on the other hand, that it is a human health risk.

The overspill of manure can contaminate wells with E. coli and other pathogens. In one region of North Carolina, for example, hog farms produce ten million metric tons of waste annually.

HIGHLIGHTS: Sustainable farms use their manure productively as organic fertilizer. The manure is "pure," coming from animals fed organic diets.

6. ANIMALS ARE INTEGRAL TO SMALL FARMS

WHY: Using animal manure is considered recycling of nutrients. No farm can cope with all the animal offspring, so selling some makes economic sense. Sustainable farms tend to provide and sell a range of products, and organic eggs and animal products would be included.

HOW: Most organic farms have a few cows, chickens, etc.

HIGHLIGHTS: The animals --many of diverse gene pools -- serve a purpose besides providing food.

7. FEWER CHEMICALS USED

WHY: Synthetic pesticides and fertilizers are not used on the food or land. Residues of persistent chemicals such as DDT, PCBs, dioxin, and many pesticides concentrate in animal fat. Eating organic animal fat reduces your exposure to these chemicals.Farmers working on organic farms are exposed to fewer chemicals.

HOW: Organic agriculture works for a healthy balance of the soil, including using crop rotation and other techniques to improve soil fertility, instead of controlling the environment with chemicals. The animals are not fed food containing pesticides, and so the amount of persistent pesticides in their fat is reduced.

HIGHLIGHTS: Safeguards groundwater, farmers' health, topsoil, habitats, and neighborhood health.

8. DIVERSITY

WHY: Industrial farms rely on just a few species of cattle, chickens, pigs, etc., whereas small sustainable farms tend to raise a wider variety of livestock. Entire species of livestock can die out if they are not raised on farms.

HOW: Support our food supply by buying food representative of a wide gene pool. Every time you even buy a brown instead of a white egg you are helping to support diversity.

HIGHLIGHTS: Support diversity by supporting diversity on your local farms. Buy their milk, eggs, and meat.

9. FACTORY FARMS USE HUGE AMOUNTS OF RESOURCES

WHY: The factory farm industry is run with cheap, nonrenewable fossil fuel. Producing, transporting, processing, and marketing the food all depend heavily on it. Without cheap fuel, industrial agriculture would be impossible because it would be too expensive, notes organic farming expert Fred Kirschenmann. The heavy pesticide use on industrial farms contaminates groundwater and soil. Kirschenmann believes industrial farms are responsible for the loss of over half of U.S. topsoil.

HOW: Organic farms uses less energy with careful ecological management, and using natural ecological balances to solve pest problems. Buying animal products from local farms further reduces energy by reducing the amount of miles the food travels to your table.

HIGHLIGHTS: Organic farms use 70 percent less energy than industrial farms, and since they don't use pesticides they help preserve ground water. The farming techniques of organic farms builds top soil and doesn't contribute to its erosion.

10. YOUR DOLLARS SUPPORT THE FARMS YOU BUY FROM

WHY: If you buy your meat from an organic farmstand at a farmer's market you support that farm. On the other hand, if you buy nonorganic meat that isn't local, free-range, or ranch-raised from a supermarket chain, you most likely support a multinational food conglomerate.

HOW: You can contribute to the wellbeing of your community by supporting small, local, diverse organic farms.

HIGHLIGHTS: Buying organic animal products is better for your health, your local community, and the larger community as a whole.

MORE: Find organic farms near you using Care2.com's "Get Local" search engine. Just scroll down in the Get Local box on the right of the page to "Organic Farms," and put in your zip code.


Care2.com Food Information

LINK to useful information site to help the environment too

Flavour, lipid composition, antioxidants in organic, free-range & conventional chicken breasts

Intl J Food Sci & Nutr, 5-6/06

Organic Beef - No Mad Cows

Associate Press, 1/04

Straus Family Creamery

LINK to Marin County farm "without use of any synthetic substances". They generate own electricity from cow manure.

New Reasons for Eating Organic

LINK to msnbc.com writer Francesca Lymans' article

Grain-feed w/Dietary Oil Enhances CLA content of 'Beef'

Am J Clin Nutr, 6/04

review fatty acid profiles & antioxidants:grass-fed & grain-fed beef
Eat Wild

LINK to site about "grass-fed food & facts"

WildCraft Farms, Inc.

LINK: producers of naturally-raised cows and chickens (found at the Huntington, NY Farmers Market)

How to Identify Real Organic Food

What does Organic or Certified Organic mean?


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