The last post here, The Health of Our Crops, looked at the crop farming industry and how organic farming can turn things around with regards our health and wellness. So here, I’ll look at the benefits of eating organically produced meat and poultry and the downside to intensively reared and farmed meat.

First, let’s look at what we already know about intensively farmed livestock. Knowing exactly what is in your food can make a big difference to your overall health. Cows and pigs, which are herbivores, are fed with protein rich feed that can also contain ground up flesh and bones of dead farmyard animals. Many people simply don’t know this, or if they do they choose to ignore it because the idea is pretty disgusting to have to think about. If this isn’t bad enough, these poor abused animals are also regularly fed a diet rich in growth hormones and antibiotics which make the animals reach maturity much faster than they would naturally.

These force-grown animals see little of the beautiful fields that we associate with grazing animals. They spend nearly all of their miserable and thankfully short lives in small pens where their movements are restricted to prevent them from harming themselves and others. Of course the true reason for this is to avoid damaging the supermarket shrink wrapped and neatly packaged meat they are destined to become.

Another common misconception is the image of cute little chickens scratching around the grounds of the farm house for seeds and worms and scattering as the farmer walks past on his way to go to work. If you think the life of those cute little birds is really like that, think again. Poultry are kept in tiny cages for similar reasons (to prevent them hurting each other) and their beaks are cut to stop them pecking each other. They are also fed steroids, growth hormones and a cocktail of antibiotics to prevent the infections that would surely wipe out so many birds kept in such close quarters.

Okay, if this running commentary is staring to sound a little like an animal rights tirade, I apologize. It’s just the plain old truth. And no one really likes to hear that, do they!

Well guess what their organically raised cousins get as a lifestyle? Yep, they get to roam around the farmyard and graze in those fields, at least having a life before being shipped off to the abattoir. They also are not pumped full of hormones and antibiotics as they lead a more healthy lifestyle and enjoy more freedom of movement around their home.

Now which meat would you rather take home from the supermarket and feed to your family? The cheaper stuff that still contains residues of all those hormones and antibiotics, knowing how those animals were treated before their miserable existences were snuffed out? Or the more expensive organic stuff that is just meat?

Not only that, but which do you imagine might be the more healthy choice for your family’s diet?

Oh yeah, no contest! In my next post I’ll ruffle a few more feathers with a look at how healthy the dairy industry is.

Terry Didcott