The Truth About Grassfed Beef

The Truth About Grassfed Beef

A lot of people today, horrified by how animals are treated in factory farms and feedlots, and wanting to lower their ecological footprint, are looking for healthier alternatives. As a result, there is a decided trend toward pasture-raised animals.  One former vegetarian, San Francisco Chronicle columnist Mark Morford, says he now eats meat, but only “grassfed and organic and sustainable as possible, reverentially and deeply gratefully, and in small amounts.”

Sales of grassfed and organic beef are rising rapidly.  Ten years ago, there were only about 50 grassfed cattle operations left in the U.S.  Now there are thousands.

How much difference does it make?  Is grassfed really better?  If so, in what ways, and how much?

If you read on, you’ll see why I’ve concluded that grassfed is indeed better.  But then, almost anything would be.  Putting beef cattle in feedlots and feeding them grain may actually be one of the dumbest ideas in the history of western civilization.

Cattle (like sheep, deer and other grazing animals) are endowed with the ability to convert grasses, which we humans cannot digest, into flesh that we are able to digest. They can do this because unlike humans, who possess only one stomach, they are ruminants, which is to say that they possess a rumen, a 45 or so gallon fermentation tank in which resident bacteria convert cellulose into protein and fats.

In today’s feedlots, however, cows fed corn and other grains are eating food that humans can eat, and they are quite inefficiently converting it into meat.  Since it takes anywhere from 7 to 16 pounds of grain to make a pound of feedlot beef, we actually get far less food out than we put in.  It’s a protein factory in reverse.

And we do this on a massive scale, while nearly a billion people on our planet do not have enough to eat.

Feedlot Reality

How has a system that is so wasteful come to be?  Feedlots and other CAFOs (Confined Animal Feeding Operations) are not the inevitable product of agricultural progress, nor are they the result of market forces.  They are instead the result of public policies that massively favor large-scale feedlots to the detriment of family farms.

From 1997 to 2005, for example, taxpayer-subsidized grain prices saved feedlots and other CAFOs about $35 billion.  This subsidy is so large that it reduced the price CAFOs pay for animal feed to a tiny fraction of what it would otherwise have been.  Cattle operations that raise animals exclusively on pasture land, however, derive no benefit from the subsidy.

Federal policies also give CAFOs billions of dollars to address their pollution problems, which arise because they confine so many animals, often tens of thousands, in a small area.  Small farmers raising cattle on pasture do not have this problem in the first place.  If feedlots and other CAFOs were required to pay the price of handling the animal waste in an environmentally health manner, if they were made to pay to prevent or to clean up the pollution they create, they wouldn’t be dominating the U.S. meat industry the way they are today.  But instead we have had farm policies that require the taxpayers to foot the bill.  Such policies have made feedlots and other CAFOs feasible, but only by fleecing the public.

Traditionally, all beef was grassfed beef, but we’ve turned that completely upside down.  Now, thanks to our misguided policies, our beef supply is almost all feedlot beef.

Thanks to government subsidies, it’s cheaper, and it’s also faster.  Seventy-five years ago, steers were slaughtered at the age of four- or five-years-old. Today’s steers, however, grow so fast on the grain they are fed that they can be butchered much younger, typically when they are only 14 or 16 months.

All beef cattle spend the first few months of their lives on pasture or rangeland, where they graze on forage crops such as grass or alfalfa.  But then nearly all are fattened, or as the industry likes to call it “finished,” in feedlots where they eat grain.  You can’t take a beef calf from a birth weight of 80 pounds to 1,200 pounds in a little more than a year on grass.  That kind of unnaturally fast weight gain takes enormous quantities of corn, soy-based protein supplements, antibiotics and other drugs, including growth hormones.

Under current farm policies, switching a cow from grass to corn makes economic sense, but it is still profoundly disturbing to the animal’s digestive system.  It can actually kill a steer if not done gradually and if the animal is not continually fed antibiotics.

Author (and small-scale cattleman) Michael Pollan describes what happens to cows when they are taken off of pastures and put into feedlots and fed corn:

“Perhaps the most serious thing that can go wrong with a ruminant on corn is feedlot bloat. The rumen is always producing copious amounts of gas, which is normally expelled by belching during rumination. But when the diet contains too much starch and too little roughage, rumination all but stops, and a layer of foamy slime that can trap gas forms in the rumen. The rumen inflates like a balloon, pressing against the animal’s lungs. Unless action is promptly taken to relieve the pressure (usually by forcing a hose down the animal’s esophagus), the cow suffocates.

“A corn diet can also give a cow acidosis. Unlike our own highly acidic stomachs, the normal pH of a rumen is neutral. Corn makes it unnaturally acidic, however, causing a kind of bovine heartburn, which in some cases can kill the animal but usually just makes it sick. Acidotic animals go off their feed, pant and salivate excessively, paw at their bellies and eat dirt. The condition can lead to diarrhea, ulcers, bloat, liver disease and a general weakening of the immune system that leaves the animal vulnerable to everything from pneumonia to feedlot polio.”

Putting beef cattle in feedlots and giving them corn is not only unnatural and dangerous for the cows. It also has profound medical consequences for us, and this is true whether or not we eat their flesh. Feedlot beef as we know it today would be impossible if it weren’t for the routine and continual feeding of antibiotics to these animals. This leads directly and inexorably to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. These new “superbugs” are increasingly rendering our antibiotics ineffective for treating disease in humans.

Further, it is the commercial meat industry’s practice of keeping cattle in feedlots and feeding them grain that is responsible for the heightened prevalence of deadly E. coli 0157:H7 bacteria. When cattle are grainfed, their intestinal tracts become far more acidic, which favors the growth of pathogenic E. coli bacteria that can kill people who eat undercooked hamburger.

It’s not widely known, but E. coli 0157:H7 has only recently appeared on the scene.  It was first identified in the 1980s, but now this pathogen can be found in the intestines of almost all feedlot cattle in the U.S.  Even less widely recognized is that the practice of feeding corn and other grains to cattle has created the perfect conditions for forms of E. Coli and other microbes to come into being that can, and do, kill us.

Prior to the advent of feedlots, the microbes that resided in the intestines of cows were adapted to a neutral-pH environment.  As a result, if they got into meat, it didn’t usually cause much of a problem because the microbes perished in the acidic environment of the human stomach.  But the digestive tract of the modern feedlot animal has changed.  It is now nearly as acidic as our own.  In this new, manmade environment, strains of E. coli and other pathogens have developed that can survive our stomach acids, and go on to kill us.  As Michael Pollan puts it, “by acidifying a cow’s gut with corn, we have broken down one of our food chain’s barriers to infections.”

Which is more nutritious?

Many of us think of “corn-fed” beef as nutritionally superior, but it isn’t. A cornfed cow does develop well-marbled flesh, but this is simply saturated fat that can’t be trimmed off. Grassfed meat, on the other hand, is lower both in overall fat and in artery-clogging saturated fat. A sirloin steak from a grainfed feedlot steer has more than double the total fat of a similar cut from a grassfed steer. In its less-than-infinite wisdom, however, the USDA continues to grade beef in a way that rewards marbling with intra-muscular fat.

Grassfed beef not only is lower in overall fat and in saturated fat, but it has the added advantage of providing more omega-3 fats. These crucial healthy fats are most plentiful in flaxseeds and fish, and are also found in walnuts, soybeans and in meat from animals that have grazed on omega-3 rich grass. When cattle are taken off grass, though, and shipped to a feedlot to be fattened on grain, they immediately begin losing the omega-3s they have stored in their tissues.  A grassfed steak typically has about twice as many omega-3s as a grainfed steak.

In addition to being higher in healthy omega-3s, meat from pastured cattle is also up to four times higher in vitamin E than meat from feedlot cattle, and much higher in conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a nutrient associated with lower cancer risk.

What about taste?

The higher omega-3 levels and other differences in fatty acid composition are certainly a nutritional advantage for grassfed beef, but come with a culinary cost.  These differences contribute to flavors and odors in grassfed meat that some people find undesirable. Taste-panel participants have found the meat from grassfed animals to be characterized by “off-flavors including ammonia, gamey, bitter, liverish, old, rotten and sour.”

Even the people who market grassfed beef say this is true.  Joshua Appleton, the owner of Fleisher’s Grass-fed and Organic Meats in Kingston, New York, says “Grassfed beef has a hard flavor profile for a country that’s been raised on corn-fed beef.”

Unlike cows in a feedlot, animals on a pasture move around.  This exercise creates muscle tone, and the resulting beef can taste a little chewier than many people prefer.  Grassfed beef doesn’t provide the “melt-in-your-mouth” sensation that the modern meat eater has come to prefer.

What about the environment?

As well as its nutritional advantages, there are also environmental benefits to grassfed beef. According to David Pimentel, a Cornell ecologist who specializes in agriculture and energy, the corn we feed our feedlot cattle accounts for a staggering amount of fossil fuel energy. Growing the corn used to feed livestock takes vast quantities of chemical fertilizer, which in turn takes vast quantities of oil. Because of this dependence on petroleum, Pimentel says, a typical steer will in effect consume 284 gallons of oil in his lifetime. Comments Michael Pollan,

“We have succeeded in industrializing the beef calf, transforming what was once a solar-powered ruminant into the very last thing we need: another fossil-fuel machine.”

In addition to consuming less energy, grassfed beef has another environmental advantage — it is far less polluting. The animals’ wastes drop onto the land, becoming nutrients for the next cycle of crops. In feedlots and other forms of factory farming, however, the animals’ wastes build up in enormous quantities, becoming a staggering source of water and air pollution.

Less misery on the menu?

From a humanitarian perspective, there is yet another advantage to pastured animal products. The animals themselves are not forced to live in confinement. The cruelties of modern factory farming are so severe that you don’t have to be a vegetarian or an animal rights activist to find the conditions to be intolerable, and a violation of the human-animal bond. Pastured livestock are not forced to endure the miseries of factory farming. They are not cooped up in cages barely larger than their own bodies, or packed together like sardines for months on end standing knee deep in their own manure.

Grassfed or organic?

It’s important to remember that organic is not the same as grassfed. Natural food stores often sell organic beef and dairy products that are hormone- and antibiotic- free.  These products come from animals who were fed organically grown grain, but who typically still spent most of their lives (or in the case of dairy cows perhaps their whole lives) in feedlots.  The sad reality is that almost all the organic beef and organic dairy products sold in the U.S. today comes from feedlots.

Just as organic does not mean grass-fed, grass-fed does not mean organic. Pastured animals sometimes graze on land that has been treated with synthetic fertilizers and even doused with herbicides. Unless the meat label specifically says it is both grassfed and organic, it isn’t.

And then, as seems so often to be the case, there is greenwashing.  A case in point is the “premium natural” beef raised by the enormous Harris Ranch, located in Fresno County, California.  Harris Ranch “premium natural” beef is sold in health food stores west of the Rockies.  The company says it is “at the forefront of quality, safety and consumer confidence” with its “premium natural beef.”

But even Harris Ranch spokesman Brad Caudill admits that under current USDA rules, the term “natural” is meaningless.  Harris Ranch cattle are fattened in a 100,000 cattle feedlot in California’s Central Valley.  And the feed is not organically grown.  The only difference between Harris Ranch “premium natural” beef and the typical feedlot product is that the animals are raised without growth hormones or supplemental antibiotics added to their feed.  Despite the marketing and hype, the product is neither organic nor grassfed.  (Harris Ranch also sells a line of organic beef, but the cattle are still raised in over-crowded and filthy feedlots. There can be as many as 100 cattle, weighing from 700 to 1,200 pounds, living in a pen the size of a basketball court.)

Is grassfed beef the answer?

Grass-fed beef certainly has its advantages, but it is typically more expensive, and I’m not at all sure that’s a bad thing. We shouldn’t be eating nearly as much meat as we do.

There is a dark side even to grassfed beef.  It takes a lot of grassland to raise a grassfed steer. Western rangelands are vast, but not nearly vast enough to sustain America’s 100 million head of cattle. There is no way that grassfed beef can begin to feed the current meat appetites of people in the United States, much less play a role in addressing world hunger. Grassfed meat production might be viable in a country like New Zealand with its geographic isolation, unique climate and topography, and exceedingly small human population. But in a world of 7 billion people, I am afraid that grassfed beef is a food that only the wealthy elites will be able to consume in any significant quantities.

What would happen if we sought to raise great quantities of grassfed beef? It’s been tried, in Brazil, and the result has been an environmental nightmare of epic proportions.  In 2009, Greenpeace released a report titled “Slaughtering the Amazon,” which presented detailed satellite photos showing that Amazon cattle are now the biggest single cause of global deforestation, which is in turn responsible for 20 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases.  Even Brazil’s government, whose policies have made the nation the world’s largest beef exporter, and home to the planet’s largest commercial cattle herd, acknowledges that cattle ranching is responsible for 80 percent of Amazonian deforestation.  Much of the remaining 20 percent is for land to grow soy, which is not used to make tofu.  It is sold to China to feed livestock.

Amazonian cattle are free-range, grassfed, and possibly organic, but they are still a plague on the planet and a driving force behind global warming.

Trendy consumers like to think that grassfed beef is green and earth-friendly and does not have environmental problems comparable to factory farmed beef.  But grassfed and feedlot beef production both contribute heavily to global climate change.  They do this through emissions of two potent global warming gases:  methane and nitrous oxide.

Next to carbon dioxide, the most destabilizing gas to the planet’s climate is methane. Methane is actually 24 times more potent a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, and its concentration in the atmosphere is rising even faster. The primary reason that concentrations of atmospheric methane are now triple what they were when they began rising a century ago is beef production. Cattle raised on pasture actually produce more methane than feedlot animals, on a per-cow basis.  The slower weight gain of a grassfed animal means that each cow produces methane emissions for a longer time.

Meanwhile, producing a pound of grassfed beef accounts for every bit as much nitrous oxide emissions as producing a pound of feedlot beef, and sometimes, due to the slower weight gain, even more.  These emissions are not only fueling global warming.  They are also acidifying soils, reducing biodiversity, and shrinking Earth’s protective stratospheric ozone layer.

The sobering reality is that cattle grazing in the U.S. is already taking a tremendous toll on the environment.  Even with almost all U.S. beef cattle spending much of their lives in feedlots, seventy percent of the land area of the American West is currently used for grazing livestock. More than two-thirds of the entire land area of Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and Idaho is used for rangeland. In the American West, virtually every place that can be grazed, is grazed. The results aren’t pretty. As one environmental author put it, “Cattle grazing in the West has polluted more water, eroded more topsoil, killed more fish, displaced more wildlife, and destroyed more vegetation than any other land use.”

Western rangelands have been devastated under the impact of the current system, in which cattle typically spend only six months or so on the range, and the rest of their lives in feedlots. To bring cows to market weight on rangeland alone would require each animal to spend not six months foraging, but several years, greatly multiplying the damage to western ecosystems.

The USDA’s taxpayer-funded Animal Damage Control (ADC) program was established in 1931 for a single purpose—to eradicate, suppress, and control wildlife considered to be detrimental to the western livestock industry. The program has not been popular with its opponents. They have called the ADC by a variety of names, including, “All the Dead Critters” and “Aid to Dependent Cowboys.”

In 1997, following the advice of public relations and image consultants, the federal government gave a new name to the ADC—“Wildlife Services.” And they came up with a new motto—“Living with Wildlife.”

But the agency does not exactly “live with” wildlife. What it actually does is kill any creature that might compete with or threaten livestock. Its methods include poisoning, trapping, snaring, denning, shooting, and aerial gunning. In “denning” wildlife, government agents pour kerosene into the den and then set it on fire, burning the young alive in their nests.

Among the animals Wildlife Services agents intentionally kill are badgers, black bears, bobcats, coyotes, gray fox, red fox, mountain lions, opossum, raccoons, striped skunks, beavers, nutrias, porcupines, prairie dogs, black birds, cattle egrets, and starlings. Animals unintentionally killed by Wildlife Services agents include domestic dogs and cats, and several threatened and endangered species.

All told, Wildlife Services intentionally kills more than 1.5 million wild animals annually. This is done at public expense, to protect the private financial interests of ranchers who graze their livestock on public lands, and who pay almost nothing for the privilege.

The price that western lands and wildlife are paying for grazing cattle is hard to exaggerate. Conscientious management of rangelands can certainly reduce the damage, but widespread production of grassfed beef would only multiply this already devastating toll.

“Most of the public lands in the West, and especially the Southwest, are what you might call ‘cow burnt.’ Almost anywhere and everywhere you go in the American West you find hordes of cows. . . . They are a pest and a plague. They pollute our springs and streams and rivers. They infest our canyons, valleys, meadows and forests. They graze off the native bluestems and grama and bunch grasses, leaving behind jungles of prickly pear. They trample down the native forbs and shrubs and cacti. They spread the exotic cheatgrass, the Russian thistle, and the crested wheat grass. Even when the cattle are not physically present, you see the dung and the flies and the mud and the dust and the general destruction. If you don’t see it, you’ll smell it. The whole American West stinks of cattle.” — Edward Abbey, conservationist and author, in a speech before cattlemen at the University of Montana in 1985

Not the Stiffest Competition

Grassfed beef is certainly much healthier than feedlot beef for the consumer, and may be slightly healthier for the environment. But doing well in such a comparison hardly constitutes a ringing endorsement. While grassfed beef and other pastured animal products have advantages over factory farm and feedlot products, it’s important to remember that factory farm and feedlot products are an unmitigated disaster. Almost anything would be an improvement.

I am reminded of a brochure the Cattlemen’s Association used to distribute to schools. The pamphlet compared the nutritional realities of a hamburger to another common food, and made much of the fact that the hamburger was superior in that it had more of every single nutrient listed than did its competitor. And what’s more, the competitor had far more sugar. The comparison made it sound like a hamburger was truly a health food.

The competition, however, was not the stiffest imaginable. It was a 12-ounce can of Coke.

Comparing grassfed beef to feedlot beef is a little like that. It’s far healthier, far more humane, and somewhat more environmentally sustainable, at least on a modest scale.  Overall, it’s indeed better. If you are going to eat beef, then that’s the best way to do it.

But I wouldn’t get too carried away and think that as long as it’s grassfed then it’s fine and dandy. Grassfed products are still high in saturated fat (though not as high), still high in cholesterol, and are still devoid of fiber and many other essential nutrients. They are still high on the food chain, and so often contain elevated concentrations of environmental toxins.

Imagine

While grassfed beef has advantages over feedlot beef, another answer is to eat less meat, or even none. If as a society we ate less, the world would indeed be a brighter and more beautiful place.  Consider, for example, the impact on global warming.  Gidon Eshel, a geophysicist at the Bard Center, and Pamela A. Martin, an assistant professor of geophysics at the University of Chicago, have calculated the benefits that would occur if Americans were to reduce beef consumption by 20 percent.  Such a change would decrease our greenhouse gas emissions as substantially as if we exchanged all our cars and trucks for Priuses.

If we ate less meat, the vast majority of the public lands in the western United States could be put to more valuable — and environmentally sustainable — use. Much of the western United States is sunny and windy, and could be used for large-scale solar energy and wind-power facilities. With the cattle off the land, photovoltaic modules and windmills could generate enormous amounts of energy without polluting or causing environmental damage. Other areas could grow grasses that could be harvested as “biomass” fuels, providing a far less polluting source of energy than fossil fuels. Much of it could be restored, once again becoming valued wildlife habitat. The restoration of cow burnt lands would help to vitalize rural economies as well as ecosystems.

And there is one more thing. When you picture grassfed beef, you probably envision an idyllic scene of a cow outside in a pasture munching happily on grass. That is certainly the image those endorsing and selling these products would like you to hold. And there is some truth to it.

But it is only a part of the story. There is something missing from such a pleasant picture, something that nevertheless remains an ineluctable part of the actual reality. Grassfed beef does not just come to you straight from God’s Green Earth. It also comes to you via the slaughterhouse.

The lives of grassfed livestock are more humane and natural than the lives of animals confined in factory farms and feedlots, but their deaths are often just as terrifying and cruel. If they are taken to a conventional slaughterhouse, as indeed most of them are, they are just as likely as a feedlot animal to be skinned while alive and fully conscious, and just as apt to be butchered and have their feet cut off while they are still breathing — distressing realities that tragically occur every hour in meat-packing plants nationwide. Confronting the brutal realities of modern slaughterhouses can be a harsh reminder that those who contemplate only the pastoral image of cattle patiently foraging do not see the whole picture.

Voices of the Food RevolutionAbout The Author:

John Robbins is co-founder of the Food Revolution Network, and author of many bestselling books.  His latest book, co-authored with his son, Ocean Robbins, is Voices of the Food Revolution: You Can Heal Your Body And Your World — With Food! Check it out here.

284 COMMENTS

  1. You completely lost me when you said the first thing a vegetarian is likely to suffer is protein deficiency. I don't know ANYONE who is deficient in protein, unless they just aren't getting enough calories. I haven't touch animal products in 8 years and at 56 I'm doing bootcamp 5-6 days a week, biking long distances, and running 3-4 times a week. We certainly are capable of eating animal protein, but we don't need it.

  2. Perhaps I should rewrite the blog to be more clear. You're right. Very few are protein deficient. Well, you may not be protein deficient, but you may not be getting all the KINDS of proteins and fats and minerals you need to be completely healthy. Many vegetarians, because they don't eat meat, namely red meat, are deficient in zinc and B12. Some people do seem to be able to thrive on the diet. I was not one of them! I tried to two years. Here's an article that points out some of the mineral deficiencies inherit in vegetarianism.

  3. Because we can't 'thrive' on plants. We can only 'survive'. I'm for thriving. No grains, few legumes, little sugars, lots of green leafy veg and good, ethical fish, poultry and meat. As a result, my diet has far less impact on sentient life than the average vegan/veg diet (I was vego for almost a decade) – mainly because I consume no crops. And neither do the animals I eat.

    If you really, honestly cared about your impact on animals you'd adopt a Paleo/primal diet without hesitation. Read this: http://m.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/sep/06/meat-production-veganism-deforestation then read The Vegetarian Myth by the lovey, ethical, ex-vegan Lierre Keith.

  4. As a nutritionist and researcher, I can tell you it absolutely is possible to thrive on a vegan diet. Elephants, for example, have no problem. Gorillas? The problem is that humans rarely adopt a healthy vegan diet. Soy burgers are junk food, not a healthy alternative to meat. In fact, much vegan comfort food is worse than eating conventional dairy/meat products. Thriving comes from emulating healthy animals and eating fruits and vegetables in their fresh and raw state, keeping active, getting sunlight, and not sweating the small stuff.

  5. Wendy Myers I'm afraid I entirely disagree. Thousands of vegans have proven that we do not need a little animal protein. In fact, anyone who has actually looked at the raw chemical structures of the human body and of food can tell you that animal protein is not required, but actually harder to utilize. Unfortunately, few people actually delve that deep into the research.

  6. As far as the taste of grass fed beef, I can see why it might taste strange to someone used to corn fed. So, I guess I was lucky that I'd been vegetarian for 15 years before I had it. (I developed pernicious anemia. Not everyone can thrive on plant foods.). I really like the grass fed ground beef from Trader Joes.

  7. I didn't realize that when I commented on that site, it would end up on Facebook. I guess I should have read the fine print. I was looking for an article on the benefits of grass fed meat to send to my dad.

  8. A little simplistic, but I hear you! The only place where it's wrong is where it states feedlots feed only grain. I was a dairy farmer here in the great white north (Canada!) just a few miles north of New York State. I ran a dairy operation for 25 years. If I had it to do all over again, I'd do it differently, for sure. Pastured yes, but I'd love to know how here in Canada, and states like New York (Northern 1/2), Pennsylvania, Ohio, the Dakotas, Montana … Basically the northern 1/2 of the USA, and all of Canada … has NO grass for 5 to 7 months of the year. Impossible! So for purely PASTURE-GROWN beef or dairy, GO-TO MEXICO. Or at least the southern 1/2 of Texas (and other states on that latitude).

    So for REAL SUSTAINABLE Beef, you're looking at making hay or haylage (grass grown, harvested, and enclosed in some way in an air-tight structure) to feed these animals. That's the least we would need.

    In the natural cycle for cattle (we'll talk pasture), the grass is leafy, and high in protein – ideal for the (lactating) cow with suckling calf at foot. Protein is important for milk yield and growth of calf. As the season progresses, more grass, more milk, bigger calf. Then nature takes a turn and the grass (also the clovers, alfalfa, etc.) begin to flower, get pollinated (good ole' bees, wasps, etc.) and then go to seed. At this point in time, the yield (plant mass) is higher, but protein goes down, energy in the plants go up. Result … The cattle consume less protein, more energy, with nature's purpose in mind of putting flesh (fat) on the 500 LB calf, and the mature cows, to insulate them for winter, and to build a resource of energy during lean times.

    But in the great white North (NY, PA, MT, MI, Canada, get-it?) we need to put feed in storage. So now we're feeding hay, silage … No pasture. No grazing.

    I could go on, but my last point about grain is that when hay is grown and harvested at its peak yield (and when weather is best for harvest) in July-August, protein is low. So as to optimize the animal's growth, added protein is required. This is why grain is fed. And for your information, for a high-producing dairy cow, the" highest" %-age of grain in a dairy cow's diet would be 60%. At the end of lactation 30%. Lots of calculations are done in order to maximize growth, production, and health. For example fibre in a diet is essential.

    In your essay, where you mention Acidosis, this is v.e.r.y extreme. Only knowledgeless city slickers without a bloody clue what they're doing, would end up with animals in this condition, let alone make such accusations of producers at large.

    If your readers are so intent on pasture fed beef & dairy, they should spend their holiday time touring USA & Canada, finding out how these pasture operations really work (get off the internet for a month or so, and see the real thing!). Get off your laptop, buy a couple of pairs of jeans and tee-shirts, and offer your muscle power; do some work.

    Animal husbandry is 12 months of the year. Maybe city folk can plow the fields, and find some Polar Grass to cover half the year. I'd be the first to read about it!

    • After reading the original posting, I felt like something was missing. It was like reading most articles esposing the philosophy of one nutbag after another–lots of feeling and a little psdoscience. Then your response appeared and brought me back to the pracitical reality of living life–stay with the facts but to remember that like statistics, there are facts and statistics that can be used selectivly to "prove " anything. Thanks for the well written article and the "experienced" facts.

  9. I'd like to add a few words to the comment Raederle Phoenix made about the environment. The Savory Institute has found the key to restoring rangelands and reversing desertification is paradoxically the precise management of herds of grazing animals — in other words, cattle. If you haven't yet heard about this international project to save the planet, you owe it to yourself to watch Allen Savory's TED talk on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=vpTHi7O66pI.

  10. 1.) Are you implying that
    A.) there are no deficiencies on a meat based diet?
    B.) meat eaters are not B12 deficient?
    C.) just by adding meat you will get all the " proteins and fats and minerals" needed to be "completely healthy"

    2.) "I tried to two years." When you say "tried" what do you mean by "tried"?
    Does tried mean eating a vegetarian diet that
    A.) you conducted a valid scientific self-experiment with objective protocols that monitored referencing an objective nutrient database, or
    B.) left your nutrient sufficiency to guessing and subjective feeling deficient?

    Lot's of people try all sort of things and try to rely on subjective 'feeling' as the basis for their proof!. I'm glad there is at least a few humans who have chosen to rely on objective measurements to validate their trying.

  11. Wendy Myers
    1.) Are you implying that
    A.) there are no deficiencies on a meat based diet?
    B.) meat eaters are not B12 deficient?
    C.) just by adding meat you will get all the " proteins and fats and minerals" needed to be "completely healthy"

    2.) "I tried to two years." When you say "tried" what do you mean by "tried"?
    Does tried mean eating a vegetarian diet that
    A.) you conducted a valid scientific self-experiment with objective protocols that monitored referencing an objective nutrient database, or
    B.) left your nutrient sufficiency to guessing and subjective feeling deficient?

    Lot's of people try all sort of things and try to rely on subjective 'feeling' as the basis for their proof!. I'm glad there is at least a few humans who have chosen to rely on objective measurements to validate their trying.

  12. This article contains several errors, e.g. about the environmental aspect, and it also ignores the aspect of animal rights (the right to live and not be kiilled and used): "Oppenlander, however, illuminates the environmental consequences of.
    choosing alternative sources of animal products. This is an important,
    much needed, emphasis. How many times have you heard, after all, the.
    comment that “I choose grass-fed beef because it’s more sustainable”?
    Well, it’s not more sustainable. Especially if you compare it, as.
    Oppenlander does, to growing kale and quinoa–two of the healthiest foods.
    on the planet.

    His juxtaposition of the inputs and outputs of raising a grass fed.
    cow on two acres of land versus growing kale and quinoa on that same.
    land is astounding. After two years of raising a cow on grass you’d.
    have 480 pounds of “edible muscle tissue. [Animals who all have the right to live.]” You’d also have produced tons.
    of greenhouse gasses (especially methane), used 15,000-20,000 gallons.
    of water, imported loads of hay for winter feeding, been left with a.
    carcass needing disposal, wound up with food that, eaten beyond.
    moderation, would cause heart disease, and very likely trampled the.
    soil, establishing preconditions for erosion. In a world of 7 billion.
    people (about to be 9 billion) crunched by diminished resources, we.
    cannot afford this waste.

    By contrast, if you used those two acres to grow kale and quinoa,
    you’d end up with–get this–30,000 pounds of nutrient-rich, delicious,
    fibrous food. You’d have done this while having used very little water.
    (if any), produced no greenhouse gases, and been left with loads of.
    green manure to work back into the soil as fertilizer. We could not.
    only feed the world this way (with, of course, a huge diversity of.
    plants), but we could do so on much less land."
    Learn more here: http://www.drmcdougall.com/video/expert_testimoni

    I also highly recommend World Peace Diet by Will Tuttle and this wonderful website: https://www.facebook.com/abolitionistapproach
    All animals have the a right to live. Have you ever thought of why we love dogs and eat cows? And how the life of the cows and pigs (and possibly horses) that end up in your animal products-meal (milk, eggs, meat or other animal product) was, and if their purpose truly was to be killed for a "taste experience"?

  13. Please study this: http://www.adelicatebalance.com.au/ and this: http://drmcdougall.com/misc/2007nl/apr/dairy.htm
    No risk of getting a protein deficiency.

    " Proteins are made from chains of 20 different amino acids that connect together in varying sequences—similar to how all the words in a dictionary are made from the same 26 letters. Plants (and microorganisms) can synthesize all of the individual amino acids that are used to build proteins, but animals cannot. There are 8 amino acids that people cannot make and thus, these must be obtained from our diets—they are referred to as “essential.”

    After we eat our foods, stomach acids and intestinal enzymes digest the proteins into individual amino acids. These components are then absorbed through the intestinal walls into the bloodstream. After entering the body’s cells, these amino acids are reassembled into proteins. Proteins function as structural materials which build the scaffoldings that maintain cell shapes, enzymes which catalyze biochemical reactions, and hormones which signal messages between cells—to name only a few of their vital roles.

    Since plants are made up of structurally sound cells with enzymes and hormones, they are by nature rich sources of proteins. In fact, so rich are plants that they can meet the protein needs of the earth’s largest animals: elephants, hippopotamuses, giraffes, and cows. You would be correct to deduce that the protein needs of relatively small humans can easily be met by plants."

    Please also read this article: http://bloganders.blogspot.no/2013/04/the-purpose
    If we love animals, and don't want to inflict them suffering, we shouldn't eat them: http://bloganders.blogspot.no/2013/04/the-purpose
    They have a right to live.

  14. I saw the lecture.

    I suggest that we let the wild animals thrive and live free again without us killing them and destroying their environment, and let them graze the lands again. A vegan world where we stop killing all wild animals, let the forests grow back again, let the wild animals graze the lands, and let the humans only eat plants.
    If we care about what is good for the animals, we can't take their precious life. Their purpose is not to become our "food". He is trying to "mimic nature". No, lets restore nature again. Let all animals be free again, instead of being our slaves.

    I highly recommend this article: http://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/wh… , the book World Peace Diet by Will Tuttle (http://www.worldpeacediet.org/)
    and this about environment: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fws0f9s4Bas

    I write more here: http://bloganders.blogspot.no/2013/04/why-allan-s

  15. This article contains several errors, e.g. about the environmental aspect, and it also ignores the aspect of animal rights (the right to live and not be kiilled and used): "Oppenlander, however, illuminates the environmental consequences of.
    choosing alternative sources of animal products. This is an important,
    much needed, emphasis. How many times have you heard, after all, the.
    comment that “I choose grass-fed beef because it’s more sustainable”?
    Well, it’s not more sustainable. Especially if you compare it, as.
    Oppenlander does, to growing kale and quinoa–two of the healthiest foods.
    on the planet.

    His juxtaposition of the inputs and outputs of raising a grass fed.
    cow on two acres of land versus growing kale and quinoa on that same.
    land is astounding. After two years of raising a cow on grass you’d.
    have 480 pounds of “edible muscle tissue. [Animals who all have the right to live.]” You’d also have produced tons.
    of greenhouse gasses (especially methane), used 15,000-20,000 gallons.
    of water, imported loads of hay for winter feeding, been left with a.
    carcass needing disposal, wound up with food that, eaten beyond.
    moderation, would cause heart disease, and very likely trampled the.
    soil, establishing preconditions for erosion. In a world of 7 billion.
    people (about to be 9 billion) crunched by diminished resources, we.
    cannot afford this waste.

    By contrast, if you used those two acres to grow kale and quinoa,
    you’d end up with–get this–30,000 pounds of nutrient-rich, delicious,
    fibrous food. You’d have done this while having used very little water.
    (if any), produced no greenhouse gases, and been left with loads of.
    green manure to work back into the soil as fertilizer. We could not.
    only feed the world this way (with, of course, a huge diversity of.
    plants), but we could do so on much less land."
    Learn more here:
    http://www.drmcdougall.com/video/expert_testimonies_oppenlander.htm

    I also highly recommend World Peace Diet by Will Tuttle and this wonderful website:
    https://www.facebook.com/abolitionistapproach
    All animals have the a right to live. Have you ever thought of why we love dogs and eat cows? And how the life of the cows and pigs (and possibly horses) that end up in your animal products-meal (milk, eggs, meat or other animal product) was, and if their purpose truly was to be killed for a "taste experience"?

  16. I saw the lecture.
    I suggest that we let wild animals graze the lands again instead of killing them. A vegan world where we stop killing all wild animals, let the forests grow back again, let the wild animals graze the lands, and let the humans only eat plants.
    If we care about what is "good for the animals", we can't take their precious life. Their purpose is not to become our "food". He is trying to "mimic nature". No, lets restore nature again. Let all animals be free again, instead of being our slaves.
    I highly recommend this article: http://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/what-are-the-roots-of-freedom-and-slavery/ , the book World Peace Diet by Will Tuttle (http://www.worldpeacediet.org/)
    and this about environment: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fws0f9s4Bas

    I write a bit more here: http://bloganders.blogspot.no/2013/04/why-allan-savory-environmental-approach.html

  17. Please study this:
    http://www.adelicatebalance.com.au/ and this:
    http://drmcdougall.com/misc/2007nl/apr/dairy.htm
    No risk of getting a protein deficiency.

    " Proteins are made from chains of 20 different amino acids that connect together in varying sequences—similar to how all the words in a dictionary are made from the same 26 letters. Plants (and microorganisms) can synthesize all of the individual amino acids that are used to build proteins, but animals cannot. There are 8 amino acids that people cannot make and thus, these must be obtained from our diets—they are referred to as “essential.”

    After we eat our foods, stomach acids and intestinal enzymes digest the proteins into individual amino acids. These components are then absorbed through the intestinal walls into the bloodstream. After entering the body’s cells, these amino acids are reassembled into proteins. Proteins function as structural materials which build the scaffoldings that maintain cell shapes, enzymes which catalyze biochemical reactions, and hormones which signal messages between cells—to name only a few of their vital roles.

    Since plants are made up of structurally sound cells with enzymes and hormones, they are by nature rich sources of proteins. In fact, so rich are plants that they can meet the protein needs of the earth’s largest animals: elephants, hippopotamuses, giraffes, and cows. You would be correct to deduce that the protein needs of relatively small humans can easily be met by plants."

    Please also read this article: http://bloganders.blogspot.no/2013/04/the-purpose-of-cowpighorse-is-not-to.html
    If we love animals, and don't want to inflict them suffering, we shouldn't eat them: http://bloganders.blogspot.no/2013/04/the-purpose-of-cowpighorse-is-not-to.html
    They have a right to live.

  18. Hello Pam,
    I saw the lecture.

    I suggest that we let the wild animals thrive and live free again without us killing them and destroying their environment, and let them graze the lands again. A vegan world where we stop killing all wild animals, let the forests grow back again, let the wild animals graze the lands, and let the humans only eat plants.
    If we care about what is good for the animals, we can't take their precious life. Their purpose is not to become our "food". He is trying to "mimic nature". No, lets restore nature again. Let all animals be free again, instead of being our slaves.

    I highly recommend this article: http://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/what-are-the-roots-of-freedom-and-slavery/ , the book World Peace Diet by Will Tuttle (http://www.worldpeacediet.org/)
    and this about environment: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fws0f9s4Bas

    I write more here: http://bloganders.blogspot.no/2013/04/why-allan-savory-environmental-approach.html

  19. Eating a well balanced Vegan diet will give you all that you need, in the real world the majority of cases of B12 deficiency is found in people that do eat meat and not in Vegans. The only reason to eat meat is basically wanting to and not a necessity. and even if you have to supplement with B12, I do not see any problems with that, it sure is better than having to kill innocent animals.

  20. Grass fed beef is part and party to the ranching welfare system that has been thriving in the west for ever. Cattle have decimated the publicly owned grazing areas of the wild horses and burros, and because of the ranchers we currently have 40,000 wild horses and burros in holding areas, and you and I are footing the bill and the horses are being held in atrocious conditions.

    Cattlemen pay $1.35 a year for cow and calf on your’s and mine public land. Plus they get other financial subsidies. Even this week, the BLM is stampeding hundreds of wild horses into capture because of the “drought” and NOT ONE head of cattle is being removed, on OUR land!

    The other issue with free grazing cattle is, the ranchers have either completely removed any natural predator on our public lands. The abusiveness of the hunting is staggering. Packs of dogs being used to tear coyotes, wolves, big cats apart, all in the name of “sport”.

    We need to start paying attention to our food supply and how grossly negligent we have been in watching out for our food supply.

    On another note, Smithville Meats, huge supplier of pork in the US is being bought by a large meat company in China! That is not good.

  21. Let’s see… ex-vegetarians… Ex vegans… People who lack the courage of their convictions, can’t be bothered to eat smart, healthy veg diets just so some other being can keep from being slaughtered at 3 instead of living out a lifespan that would normally go into the 20’s. A bunch of quitters looking for justifications. “It’s a KIND farming and a HUMANE death!”
    No matter how much time, energy and money you spend on setting up a theft, that stereo and computer will still not belong to you. Likewise, no matter how “humanely” you raise a cow, her life and body are not yours. They belong to that being.
    And yes, we DO thrive on plants. I and many others, including Olympic athletes, are proof of that. Do your homework!

  22. Personally, as an ex-vegan, I think it’s ok to admit that some do well on a completely vegan diet, and some do better on a Paleo diet. We all have different body types – the fact is that our bodies do require different things and even at certain stages of life. I’ve been in the nutrition field for over 30 years, and I have come to understand that even though I am Paleo now in my late 50s, that might change because my body changes. If you are vegan and vegetarian and that works well for you – I applaud you. If others choose to be otherwise, then let’s respect that too! I’m not you and you are not me, so let’s support good research and health eating of the whole, not what you absolutely think is the best, because in reality, I don’t think that exists!

    This was great research information – thank you!

  23. An optimal diet which include red meat would be ideally once in a blue moon like festivity and celebratory and so that would work out well with the concept of grass-fed cows because it would take longer process for them to be ready. Sadly, I’ve seen the amount of red meat that is being consumed on a daily basis and honestly it is scary! I’m not adverse to eating red meat because I know the benefit of eating red meat but I am an advocate for diet that is balance, moderation and sparingly.

  24. I vote to give Malcolm King a break and a thumbs up! We all come to our vegetarianism/veganism at different points in our lives and through various means. Forty-three years without animal flesh is a very long time! Think of all the people he’s impacted over four-plus decades of being a living example!

  25. I agree with Raederle Phoenix, I have been a vegan for nearly 17 years mostly raw. I started this diet for health reasons and I have never felt better in my life, all my health problems disappeared.

  26. Imagine this: If something happened to the world that only a handful of people survived, and earth became barren; no fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains…but you had all the warehouses at your disposal with all types of meat stored for you to survive for a long time. Do you honestly think you’d be able to stomach this type of diet? Don’t you think your digestive system would shut down? On the other hand, if there were no meat, no animals to feed on, no fish…but all you had was your veggies, rice, grains…you will survive and it won’t kill you! We are not like neanderthals; we have evolved. Maybe, just maybe they would’ve liked to have all the grains and fruits that we have now available to us. Maybe, they had no choice. But we don’t know how long they lived with their diet.

  27. Sadly we terms these days need a complete definition given to them. Gress-fed now legally can apply to any animal feed grass for simply a few months. Perhaps a calf had grass the first few months and then was moved to the fed lot and given corn. The proper term to look for now is grass finished.

  28. Eating a well balanced Vegan diet will give you all that you need, in the real world the majority of cases of B12 deficiency is found in people that do eat meat and not in Vegans. The only reason to eat meat is basically wanting to and not a necessity. and even if you have to supplement with B12, I do not see any problems with that, it sure is better than having to kill innocent animals.

  29. The article fails to fairly address the enormous ecological and economic benefits of livestock, and the enormous harm that would be caused without them. These issues must be addressed by anyone claiming to get close to credibility. Of course it depends on how they're raised. He gives nothing on how the range and hilly lands would be treated in a vegetarian/vegan food system. It would be an enormous economic crisis, including gglobally, where the poor are largely rural, and depend a lot on livestock for survival. Without factory livestock, huge amounts of land, now used only for plants (soybeans, corn and other feedgrains) would be freed up for use by livestock. Vegans and vegetarians seem to have little knowledge of these factors. There seems to be a huge ideological/religious factor influencing these discussions, as seen in comments about murder and "rights." These are red flags for scientists, as at TEDx. While the word rights is commonly used, in fact, animals lack reflective consciousness, and don't have rights in the human sense. It's we who have the responsibility to care for them humanely, to protect their welfare.

    • ROTFLMAO! Talk about Straw Man arguments! Until a little over 100 years ago, the earth was EXACTLY like that… and our economic BS will adapt. Get your priorities right, and open your eyes to the very real destruction that our way of living has caused.

      • The 8 page paper requires quite a bit of work for an adequate reply. I've set aside a more comprehensive answer to some similar things, as it's planting season, plus farm bill issues (farmers not looking). It will be part 2 (livestock) of my blog, "Farm Bill Economics: Think Ecology," (about thought in the food movement). Part 1 might be useful on some of the points. I'm also working on a review of the "Food Revolution" documents, which misinterpret the biggest farm bill issues. The piece is a great collection of the arguments that we might expect, and more moderate than many others. It was a piece that was just begging to be written by someone, and I hope it will stimulate a greater sharing of knowledge. The structure can stimulate comprehensive responses, to further discussion, which is exactly what's needed. I'd like to know the straw man specifics. Certainly my short responses were mostly opinion, without the documentation that is needed. Google my name and "farm bill," and you'll find hundreds of much longer responses to a variety of food and farming issues, including the ones raised here. Allan Savory's TED talk is great on some of the issues (ie. climate) that few people know about (outside of the Sustainabile agriculture Movement. To Savory's credit, his focus on how livestock can help save the planet begins with acknowledgment of how destructive they have often been. So I'm fully on board about "the very real destruction that our way of living has caused." I'm a critic of a very small number major food movement ideas, (ie. that unknowingly support CAFOs) but not of the goals. I've been a critic of agribusiness and animal factories for more than a quarter century.

        • actually, legal age means that children are more protected… if you mean with "fewer rights" that a child cannot legally be bound by a contract he or she signs, for example, well, that's just to protect them from someone who could deceive them because of their young age

    • We could certainly scale down our meat eating and eat more vegetarian dishes to the benefit of our and the planets health. We don't need to do it all at once but gradually and carefully it could be done. There are always people who get worried about the economics of change (especially the "vested interests", but their fears are usually groundless. Sometimes we need to do the right thing and have a little faith that it will work out well. In my experience doing the right thing even when it seems uncomfortable results in a lot more advantages than were previously thought of.

      • I don't think you realize what you're saying, in this particular case. I say this, in this way, because the basic facts of the issue are rarely known online, and certainly are not known by John Robbins or by anyone in the Food Revolution series. It's a big topic, however, as indicated in the 8 pages or so it took for him to express the commonly believed perspective, and not one I have time to respond to in detail. I have no doubt that there are many Americans living on noncooking, fast food etc. diets who could greatly benefit from eating less meat and more vegetables, but there are many more people elsewhere who could greatly benefit from eating more meat and dairy. Beyond that there are a few billion or so who could benefit from a greater capture of the value of sustainable livestock production, which (though it's hardly evident in this article,) powerfully reconciles a wide range of values, not merely "adding value," but multiplying wealth and jobs, all across the poorest regions of the globe. The same holds for developed countries. At present we have incredible negatives in US livestock production which are of a radically greater magnitude than anything happening in crop farming (or with farm subsidies). The top 4 hog producers have captured 66% of the market, while the top 4 crop farms are, perhaps, one half of 1 percent market share. The main economic issue that I see is not the one you raise, where it's a trade off between making money and doing the right thing. Instead it's a case of how the economy is managed to either do the right thing or do the wrong thing. It's a question of the kinds of economic opportunities and incentives that are available, as in (part 2 of) my (part 1) blog, "Farm Bill Economics: Think Ecology." My basic argument is that what Robbins and you are arguing has a large economic impact in doing the wrong thing, (although the current farm-bill/livestock/economic system is also hugely doing the wrong thing, and you both get that major set of crises right).

        • Absolutely- if you love animals why do you eat them? And to quote GBS S
          haw, "Animals are my friends, I don't eat my friends,

  30. Grass fed beef is part and party to the ranching welfare system that has been thriving in the west for ever. Cattle have decimated the publicly owned grazing areas of the wild horses and burros, and because of the ranchers we currently have 40,000 wild horses and burros in holding areas, and you and I are footing the bill and the horses are being held in atrocious conditions.

    Cattlemen pay $1.35 a year for cow and calf on your's and mine public land. Plus they get other financial subsidies. Even this week, the BLM is stampeding hundreds of wild horses into capture because of the "drought" and NOT ONE head of cattle is being removed, on OUR land!

    The other issue with free grazing cattle is, the ranchers have either completely removed any natural predator on our public lands or there is currently underway movements to do so. The abusiveness of the hunting is staggering. Packs of dogs being used to tear coyotes, wolves, big cats apart, all in the name of "sport".

    We need to start paying attention to our food supply and how grossly negligent we have been in watching out for our food supply.

    On another note, Smithville Meats, huge supplier of pork in the US is being bought by a large meat company in China! That is not good.

  31. Raederle Phoenix

    Based on your answer I highly doubt you have a formal education as a nutritionist. Anyone with even a basic biology degree knows that comparing the dietary needs of Elephants and Gorillas (both herbivores) to humans (which are omnivores) is, pardon the old saying, but like comparing apples to oranges.

  32. "Much of the western United States is sunny and windy, and could be used for large-scale solar energy and wind-power facilities. With the cattle off the land, photovoltaic modules and windmills could generate enormous amounts of energy without polluting or causing environmental damage."

    Image pollution in my opinion. I live in Arizona and do not appreciate the idea of behemoth wind turbines scattered across our beautiful landscape. The occasional cow, I can live with.

    • Yeah, and it's all about you and your "image pollution" and what YOU can "live with"? No, it's about the whole planet, and how we need to get over ourselves and start living like we're not the only species on the planet that matters.
      Think about this:
      “The Europeans see offshore wind turbines as sentinels,” Mandelstam told me, “protecting them from energy domination by foreign powers. When you put that against a few winter days of seeing turbines on the beach as you walk your dog, I think that’s a very easy trade-off.”

      • @J.T. Just fyi, wind turbines are a real problem way more than "image pollution" as they KILL BIRDS!! Much as they are touted as a viable source of clean energy, which I completely support, I am NOT okay with killing birds so I can have electricity. Wind turbines also create a significant amount of noise pollution. Solar energy is a great supplemental source of energy, but solar cells are expensive, have limited capacity, and only work in areas on earth that get plenty of sunshine and are not subject to damage by severe weather. I have heard that solar "paint" that can be painted on a roof is up-and coming (see http://cleantechnica.com/2013/05/15/caution-wet-s…. That would be a wonderful option when it becomes affordable. If you have to be Bill Gates to afford clean energy, it really doesn't do the planet any good.

        You obviously have a very good heart and are seriously concerned about people's well being and honoring the earth. However, you seem to run on emotions rather than facts. We do need to find alternative energy sources that are clean and affordable. Do yourself a favor and do some research. Headway is being made. Check out geothermal energy which is clean and abundant. When we can figure out how to harness it to make it commerically available, we will have solved a good deal of our clean energy issues.

  33. I understand the whole thing about eating less meat but some peoples bodies work differently. I have to eat meat not eating meat doesnt work for my blood type. I dont feel good so I think people need to look at this. I do eat small portions of meat and one steak can make 2 or sometimes 3 meals for me.

    • OK. But I used to feel that way and now I don't. It is a transition I went through, much to my surprise the last time I bought beef – and it WAS grass-fed beef – I had no appetite for it. It just felt too heavy. I do not know much about the eat-by-your-blood-type system, I just know that I felt unable to eat beef at this time. Yet I have friends who are happily chowing down on grass-fed beef and boiling bones to make stews, and I was eating that way at that time and it felt good then… I think we all go through different stages, and not necessarily in any order. I was at one time completely vegetarian but when I was pregnant I felt I needed meat…

    • Sorry, people's bodies aren't that different. I'm certain the problem is with the rest of your diet. Just not eating meat doesn't mean you're eating properly, any more than if you were to get all of your dietary needs from Frito Lay.:)

      • @J.T.: You are incorrect. Everyone's body is completely unique, the same as a fingerprint. Therefore, everyone's physical needs are completely unique including what they eat, what type of physical exercise they can or can't do, how much food and exercise they need to maintain optimal health, what types of foods they can and can’t eat due to their genetic makeup, the amount of vitamins they need and in what proportions based on their individual makeup, the medication or natural remedies they use, etc.. One of the major problems on this planet that I see is the push to make everyone the same. My DNA is unique to me. It is my genetic fingerprint. There can be close matches, but not exact (even with identical twins). So your supposition that "people's bodies aren't that different" is completely off the mark. If you have type A+ blood and someone gave you B-, you'd die! Wouldn't want to do that. You might seriously want to re-think your belief and understand how unique we all are, including our bodies and our bodies' needs. Some people can't eat any animal products at all; it will hurt them profoundly and may kill them so they should be vegans. On the other hand, some people absolutely have to have meat or they will die. I know someone who simply cannot survive on a plant-based diet as he becomes completely emaciated based on his metabolism and level of physical activity, and he cannot possibly eat enough plant-based food and grains to keep weight on him as it would take about 50lbs a day which is impossible! Do yourself a favor and don't make such sweeping statements as "people's bodies aren't that different," especially when that is truly not the case. A good (and humorous) example are a couple of lines from Monty Python’s “Life of Brian.” Brian is standing on a porch outside his room in the town inn and below him are a crowd of people in the town square. Everyone is shouting, “Brian, Brian…” Brian says, “We are all individuals.” One person in the crowd shouts out, “I’m not.” Brian was right!

      • I agree with connie. I too have had to eat meat to feel better. I was a vegetarian for 2 years and a vegan for 6 months and my body deteriorated so badly that my body was eating my muscles just to keep going. Your average true vegetarian needs about 20g of protein a day. Tests done on my showed I needed 60-80 a day to stop this deterioration and this was very difficult to get from the more feminizing proteins in my vegan/vegetarian diet. I am sorry but there are really different types of bodies. Mine does not do well on starches and I cannot eat nuts or seeds due to a severe food allergy to them. I was never sicker than when I was vegan, semi-healthy when I was vegetarian, but much healthier as someone who incorporates some meat into my diet from organically raised chickens/eggs, and also some grass fed beef/lamb. I say some because my diet is mainly vegetables and fruits, but more so vegetables. I don't need dogma. I need what works for me and being a vegan/vegetarian strictly does not work for me. It does not mean that I don't care about animals. I think they are tortured in these big feed lots and I have signed tons of petitions to stop these dangerous 'farms'. These animals are not healthy and deserve fresh air, green pastures, and warm sunshine. At the same time I think the plants are tortured with herbicides and poisons. To me a plant is just as alive as an animal. Who wants a sick plant either.

        Often I hear that our digestive systems are more like the herbivores than carnivores and this is offered as proof that we are meant to be vegetarians. But many people fail to see that we are predators. Our eyes face forward like a tiger, lion, hawk and not are not angled more to the sides like a herbivore's (cow, rabbit, sheep) are. According to this, we are not only mammals but we are part herbivore part carnivore. Some people are closer to the herbivore side while others are more to the carnivore side. The proof for anyone is in the blood tests and their fitness regardless of any dogma.

  34. The lives of grassfed livestock are more humane and natural than the lives of animals confined in factory farms and feedlots, but their deaths are often just as terrifying and cruel. If they are taken to a conventional slaughterhouse, as indeed most of them are, they are just as likely as a feedlot animal to be skinned while alive and fully conscious, and just as apt to be butchered and have their feet cut off while they are still breathing — distressing realities that tragically occur every hour in meat-packing plants nationwide.

  35. Wendy Myers – The VeggieReportDoc article was written 18 years ago. There has been a lot of research done since then so I would suggest you read some it.

  36. I am all for eating less meat and do but I have dogs and I don not think a vegetarian diet is healthy for dogs. I do agree with being as humane as possible though.

  37. the days of my eating meat are getting shorter and shorter, the truth is, that if I had to kill an animal to eat one, I would never be able to make myself….I just don't want to become the coo-koo vegan-type militant-weirdos I see posting gross pictures and shaming people for eating meat…I honestly require a ton of protein in order for my blood sugar to be stable….no meat days are coming, just to know that I am not contributing to an animal's suffering. Why do people have to be so cruel ? How can they live with themselves, the people who work in these places? Are they all sociopaths?

  38. Thank you for the article, and research, it is just better to go vegetarian altogether, honestly, harming innocent animals is never a good thing ! Especially when there is an abundance of fruits vegetables and grains,milk, ect..thank you !

  39. Several years back I started moving toward a Paleo diet, away from grains. Not a protein type person, so this is an uneasy balance that seems to work for me. I have several updates to this discussion: feeding cattle grains causes inflammation, as evidenced by marbelized fat running through most standard cuts. A similar belly-fat response occurs in humans from eating inflammatory foods, mostly from grains and milk, perhaps only 1/3 of all Americans are responsive, and no one responds in exactly the same manner. Bison cuts are amazing, their meat is so dense, you eat much less of it. Similarly, the grass-fed beef from Australia only has thin bands of fat at the edges. I can understand north of the Mason-Dixon line, it is unlikely that any cattle can be outdoors all year round. But what is sorely missing to better balance this discussion is N2 and the formation of N2O, the disruption of the nitrogen cycle and its effect on climate change. The US applies tens of millions of tons of synthetic nitrogen-based fertilizers each year on the monoculture crops being grown in the midwest, and N2O is about 300 times more potent than CO2. Some of this goes up in the atmosphere and comes down with rain. Then there is direct nitrogen run-off into small and major waterways around the nation, promoting over-growth of algaes and weeds, choking off oxygen for fish and other aquatic life.
    Here, read one of the recent articles for yourself, it is not a pretty picture: http://www.whrc.org/resources/publications/pdf/Su

  40. Let's see… ex-vegetarians… Ex vegans… People who lack the courage of their convictions, can't be bothered to eat smart, healthy veg diets just so some other being can keep from being slaughtered at 3 instead of living out a lifespan that would normally go into the 20's. A bunch of quitters looking for justifications. "It's a KIND farming and a HUMANE death!"
    No matter how much time, energy and money you spend on setting up a theft, that stereo and computer will still not belong to you. Likewise, no matter how "humanely" you raise a cow, her life and body are not yours. They belong to that being.
    And yes, we DO thrive on plants. I and many others, including Olympic athletes, are proof of that. Do your homework!

  41. BOYCOTT THE COWS & BRING BACK THE BUFFALO!!!!!!! END THE INVASIVE SPECIES INDUSTRY & RESTORE OUR ECOSYSTEMS!!! WILLPOWER!!!!!!!!!

  42. Personally, as an ex-vegan, I think it's ok to admit that some do well on a completely vegan diet, and some do better on a Paleo diet. We all have different body types – the fact is that our bodies do require different things and even at certain stages of life. I've been in the nutrition field for over 30 years, and I have come to understand that even though I am Paleo now in my late 50s, that might change because my body changes. If you are vegan and vegetarian and that works well for you – I applaud you. If others choose to be otherwise, then let's respect that too! I'm not you and you are not me, so let's support good research and health eating of the whole, not what you absolutely think is the best, because in reality, I don't think that exists!

    This was great research information – thank you!

  43. An optimal diet which include red meat would be ideally once in a blue moon like festivity and celebratory and so that would work out well with the concept of grass-fed cows because it would take longer process for them to be ready. Sadly, I've seen the amount of red meat that is being consumed on a daily basis and honestly it is scary! I'm not adverse to eating red meat because I know the benefit of eating red meat but I am an advocate for diet that is balance, moderation and sparingly.

  44. there are currently no laws about the grassfed industry that prohibit ranchers from FINISHING their cattle in the feedlot right alongside the regular McDonalds cows. So essentially you could be paying big $$$ for grassfed – but if it does not say grass finished – you are eating meat from the feedlot…. I agree with minimizing animal consumption…more emphasis on vegetables and supplementing with B-12’s. too many drugs in the cows in general anyways regardless of grass or corn fed. Seems like we are destined to have a poor food supply……

  45. I vote to give Malcolm King a break and a thumbs up! We all come to our vegetarianism/veganism at different points in our lives and through various means. Forty-three years without animal flesh is a very long time! Think of all the people he's impacted over four-plus decades of being a living example!

  46. I agree with Raederle Phoenix, I have been a vegan for nearly 17 years mostly raw. I started this diet for health reasons and I have never felt better in my life, all my health problems disappeared.

  47. Imagine this: If something happened to the world that only a handful of people survived, and earth became barren; no fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains…but you had all the warehouses at your disposal with all types of meat stored for you to survive for a long time. Do you honestly think you'd be able to stomach this type of diet? Don't you think your digestive system would shut down? On the other hand, if there were no meat, no animals to feed on, no fish…but all you had was your veggies, rice, grains…you will survive and it won't kill you! We are not like neanderthals; we have evolved. Maybe, just maybe they would've liked to have all the grains and fruits that we have now available to us. Maybe, they had no choice. But we don't know how long they lived with their diet.

  48. Sadly we terms these days need a complete definition given to them. Gress-fed now legally can apply to any animal feed grass for simply a few months. Perhaps a calf had grass the first few months and then was moved to the fed lot and given corn. The proper term to look for now is grass finished.

  49. We do not KNOW that OTHER animals lack reflective consciousness. The only reason they don't have rights in the human sense is because human animals do NOT give it to them – in the human "sense."
    My rescued several times over male mini-schnauzer Otto James definitely was a "person" in his own right and without a doubt in my mind he was aware of his life and his desire to struggle to survive and live and to protect me to keep me alive – he had more "morals" and "feelings" and so-called human attributes than almost all human animals I have ever known.

  50. The majority of human animals are extremely sefl-centered and selfish and thus cannot grasp the concept that these other animal species have JUST as much right to their lives as humans have. Without a doubt, human animals can thrive on a vegetarian diet (real meaning is a diet of ALL plant foods without all the prefixes of lacto-, ovo-, etc used as seflish excuses to continue to kill other animal species for pleasure) – and thrive much better than on the "standard" diet that most humans consume. Thus, because human animals can thrive on a plant diet, then it becomes immoral to take another person's life for their pleasure.
    Being "nice and understanding" to those who are not nice and understanding really has NOT helped most human animals grasp the value of all animal species' lives. I believe humans need to be told bluntly what they are doing to themselves and other animals and the earth.

  51. Will comment more when I have time, but after 16 years of eating a vegetarian diet and striving for a vegan lifestyle, I have very little hope that even a small percentage of human animals will ever really care about other animal species right to live, including those "other human animals" of whom they do not agree or approve.

  52. I may be missing something. If the feed used now produces good cows ready for the slaughter, what is wrong? Trying to switch from corn to grass can be harmful.

  53. I'm not sure after reading this article is Mr Robbins saying it's alright to eat grass feed beef or have I missed something? and to Ms Myers you must have missed that chapter on human needs as far as nutrients B12 is a bacteria that is in our soil and use to be on our veg until the became depleted in B12 and as far as zinc we don't need that much zinc in our diet we get enough to much and that has been linked to Alzheimer's aka dr Barnard..

  54. I'm thriving just fine on a complete plant based diet. I'm 72 & nothing is wrong with me. Just had a checkup complete with blood work. I read an article about a man that is 5,000 years old found frozen next to a glacier in Italy's mountains. He was so well preserved that they could get DNA, cause of death, age & he had contents in his stomach. He had heart disease & had eaten cooked Ibec & grains. Someone stabbed him in his shoulder & he had bled to death. Ibec is red meat. Why would I want to eat red meat & get heart disease?

  55. Interesting how humans justify their bad habits with argumentative confrontation. It's very simple. We were not meant to eat animal flesh. If you simply enjoy burgers and steaks then simply state so. But don't throw out random rhetoric on the health benefits because there are none. 7 of the top 10 causes of human death are from food based degenerative diseases. Protein needs are minimal at 5 to 10% and it is found in everything. Broccoli at 50% has more protein than beef at 34% and comes with far less calories, good fiber, no cholesterol and no saturated fat and a cadre of phytonutrients, minerals and vitamins. What about Iron? Well, non-heme iron in veggies is only absorbed enough to meet requirements. Can't say so for heme iron in meat which can't lead to toxicity because it doesn't know when to shut off. What next? Dairy is good for us too. Don't go there.

  56. Matt H Kennedy. – Explain to us why Paleo is good and why you eliminate grains and beans without sending a link. In your own words please

  57. pardon me if somebody said this, bit the problem of land use is huge. I'm reading about landless peasant in Brazil. So one they live in a shanty town the government sent them to. So one of them tells the reporter "they have everything and we have nothing" "who do you man" "the" he says pointing across the street where cattle graze on thick rich grass-300,000 acres. they also get health care, plenty of fresh water, none of which the peasants get.So i quit eating meet again.

  58. there are currently no laws about the grassfed industry that prohibit ranchers from FINISHING their cattle in the feedlot right alongside the regular McDonalds cows. So essentially you could be paying big $$$ for grassfed – but if it does not say grass finished – you are eating meat from the feedlot…. I agree with minimizing animal consumption…more emphasis on vegetables and supplementing with B-12's. too many drugs in the cows in general anyways regardless of grass or corn fed. Seems like we are destined to have a poor food supply……

  59. Over ten years ago, the New York Times magazine published an article discussing the difference betweenn grass fed and corn fed beef. The article said that grass fed beef has vitamin K and corn fed beef does not. I don't recall the explanation, but I remember the postulated conclusion that corn fed beef is responsiblr for heart attacks, not beef. Somehow the vitamin K keeps the cholesterol from clogging the arteries.

  60. Raederle Phoenix

    Based on your answer I highly doubt you have a formal education as a nutritionist. Anyone with even a basic biology degree knows that comparing the dietary needs of Elephants and Gorillas (both herbivores) to humans (which are omnivores) is, pardon the old saying, but like comparing apples to oranges.

  61. There just are too many people for the earth to support and stay viable for further support of humans. We have crossed the line for how we treat animals in order for us to surive. We have crossed the line inn how we treat the earth in order to survive. Ii fear that if we do not accept the reality that we are overpopulating the earth, the line will be crossed to reduce the human population.

    • I agree, it bothers me that no politician in the western world or the east, excepting China has the guts to do anything about the population problem. We can't go on without massive wars or disease decimating us. It would be better for us to control our fertility and to stop strutting around the diminishing world insisting on our right to choose how many children we have. The earth is our home and the more people there are in it the tighter everything will get. Look at us now having to worry about pollution and having to recycle everything because we've been so reckless. (Or have been pushed into consumerism by the profiteers. We all NEED some money to survive but not as much as we WANT. What situation are we going to leave our children in? It's heartbreaking.

  62. there are currently no laws about the grassfed industry that prohibit ranchers from FINISHING their cattle in the feedlot right alongside the regular McDonalds cows. So essentially you could be paying big $$$ for grassfed – but if it does not say grass finished – you are eating meat from the feedlot…. I agree with minimizing animal consumption…more emphasis on vegetables and supplementing with B-12’s. too many drugs in the cows in general anyways regardless of grass or corn fed. Seems like we are destined to have a poor food supply……

  63. Im with John Mohan,
    Raederle Phoenix. Im in wildlife management, and I can tell you that comparison makes almost no sense. We may be able to thrive on plants, but even if you avoid all possible meat products the you should wear shoes, cotton, or use electronics. There's more than one animals blood in those. Entire ecosystems and villages bled for the minerals that make up batteries alone. Then there is the house you live in, etc. Things di whether you kill it or not. Me personly, I prefer to harvest what I can, whether or not it bleeds. I eat half the weeds you find in your average yard alone.

  64. It is probably worth pointing out that if we stopped eating cows and many other domestics they would fail to exist altogether…

  65. As much as grass fed beef is definitely a healthier option, I would never eat it. I live a whole food plant based lifestyle for over 22 years and will never eat animal foods.
    Yes, giving up meat will completely change the ozone layer and global warming in a very short time compared to driving a Prius and recycling. Research has been done and there is scientific proof that this is true.
    If everyone would start giving up meat one day a week and then over time eat less and less the people and Planet Earth will be healthier.

    G-d Bless all people!

    Click on my name to check out my blog with articles, product reviews, interviews and my 42 day coconut water cleanse. I promote companies and products that are pure, have integrity and care about the planet. If I don't use it, I don't recommend it!

  66. I've been a healthy vegan for nearly a year. It's changed my life – my outlook on many things is such much clearer and sharper – my mind is clearer but, also, I am not in so much denial – or, I have support to lead my life the way I would choose if there wasn't so much confusion out there. Issues that I can now take on with clarity are my compassion for all animals, food sustainability, global warming, food justice, environmental degradation and more. In regard to physical health, hanks to a range of leading lights who pointed me to great, peer reviewed research that, clearly, is without conflict of interest that is associated with so much that passes for research. But, I think, common sense can prevail. All I had to do was review what I already knew. Elephants eat plants. Okinawans have a mostly vegan diet – they are some of the longest, living, disease-free people on the planet – there are others. Where are certain diseases rampant. Where are we dying off from the most dreadful diseases. Anywhere where there is a Western diet that includes animal protein! And, if people move from very low animal protein diets and adopt a Western diet – they develop diseases that are associated with eating animal protein. It really doesn't take Einstein to figure this out – although he did! After two weeks on a vegan diet (masses of micronutrients) and inspired by the fittest people on the planet (vegans) I went out with confidence and jogged 12 Kilometres. So great a thing for my 60th year. And, it was a breeze! I encourage people to read or listen to (You Tube is such a great source of info) John Robbins, T Colin Campbell, Neal Barnard, Caldwell Esselstyn, Rip Esselstyn, John McDougall and others…Doug Lisle – once you start, you find plenty of enlightened minds and real science. If it's very difficult to go straight to a healthy vegan diet – Kathy Freston's books help people to 'lean into' vegan nutrition. It was, in fact, hard…I made a decision and wouldn't be swayed – I had experience with giving up things that were bad for me in the past, so I drew on that. But, people don't have to do that or feel in anyway bad or guilty. You will have people – friends, relatives, etc – who may become really terse with you, too! I did! Even my wonderful vegetarian friend who thought I was 'going too far'. She didn't even ask what I'd learnt. It can throw you. Be your own person! one thing I did was to keep reading and going to You Tube to listen to the people listed above. Oh and I'd also read Rich Roll's book 'Rejecting the Middle, finding Ultra", then onto Scott Jureck's book….these are two of the fittest men in the world and wonderful stories, great reads…and there is Ruth Heidrich…marathon runner – young but not in years…Oh and I haven't had a cold or flu or virus since I went vegan. I suspect my immune system has had an incredible boost – that's what the science says will happen and it did, I think. I read lots on diets/nutrition – none of it made complete sense. Until I started with Rich Roll, then was inspired to read T Colin Campell's The China Study – blew my mind. (Actually, I started with Born to Run – and went on a journey…in another life, I'd like to have been an investigative reporter – so I had a great time) either way – whatever you decide, don't feel BAD. This conversation that's taking the Western world about nutrition is not about feeling bad or being in competition with each other…I think we all want the best for each other, but, also, we can be a bit competitive about who has the best information….let's have dialogue…not upset…yes?

  67. Funnily the above post is all about how your body "does" on a certain type of diet. I think the facts have been in for a very very very long time (and well documented) that a plant based diet is most certainly the way to go to maintain squeaky clean arteries, avoid heart disease and mitigate cancer risk across the board. What your preference is is entirely another matter though. However, lets do cal it a preference because you can not scientifically back up what you are saying. There is no need to agrandize backward dietary motion as well as moral wrongness by saying a paleo diet is some kind of option for good heath and longevity. I'm still picking my jaw up off the floor over that. All you have to do is look around to see how terribly wrong that is, both physically and ethically. Shame on you!

  68. there are currently no laws about the grassfed industry that prohibit ranchers from FINISHING their cattle in the feedlot right alongside the regular McDonalds cows. So essentially you could be paying big $$$ for grassfed – but if it does not say grass finished – you are eating meat from the feedlot…. I agree with minimizing animal consumption…more emphasis on vegetables and supplementing with B-12’s. too many drugs in the cows in general anyways regardless of grass or corn fed. Seems like we are destined to have a poor food supply……

  69. All people do best eating a vegan diet. This diet is high in these factors -anti-inflammatory, detoxifiers, nutrients and is good for elimination. It’s only those who don’t eat the right vegan foods, don’t do well. A diet very high in good fats, fresh greens, vegan proteins, vegetables and a small amount of fruit/sugar, will be having the most optimal diet in the world. Check UN research and population studies on a plant-based diet. Plenty of info there.

  70. there are currently no laws about the grassfed industry that prohibit ranchers from FINISHING their cattle in the feedlot right alongside the regular McDonalds cows. So essentially you could be paying big $$$ for grassfed – but if it does not say grass finished – you are eating meat from the feedlot…. I agree with minimizing animal consumption…more emphasis on vegetables and supplementing with B-12’s. too many drugs in the cows in general anyways regardless of grass or corn fed. Seems like we are destined to have a poor food supply……

  71. I “liked” Linden’s post, not for what she said but for the fact that just because I choose to not eat meat, I do not preach to others who do eat meat. Everyone makes decisions for their own reasons. Besides, unless a meat lover actually looks for information, they just do not want to hear about it! It helps keep them from feeling guilty. See no evil………hear

  72. there are currently no laws about the grassfed industry that prohibit ranchers from FINISHING their cattle in the feedlot right alongside the regular McDonalds cows. So essentially you could be paying big $$$ for grassfed – but if it does not say grass finished – you are eating meat from the feedlot…. I agree with minimizing animal consumption…more emphasis on vegetables and supplementing with B-12’s. too many drugs in the cows in general anyways regardless of grass or corn fed. Seems like we are destined to have a poor food supply……

  73. Let me offer a fresh perspective…Food nutritional quality today is much poorer than it was last century. People and animals are having increasing difficulty getting the nutrients they need. We need to start with enriching the soil and giving plants the nutrients they need so that they can produce better quality food. When we eat this quality food we will be nourished, satisfied, and healthy. My research shows it is possible to increase food nutrient density 2 to 3 times (or more) by growing it the right way. I think people who feel they cannot thrive on vegetarian fare would be able to thrive on "Beyond Organic" Nutrient Rich foods.

  74. It would further our understanding to have SPECIFICS on composiiton of EXACTLY a self-described "ex-vegan" ate.
    The "vegan" term rivals "low-fat" in being vague.

  75. I've reported widely on beef, grass-fed and non, in France. The optimal solution in terms of taste–repeat taste–appears to be grass feeding throughout the life cycle then a combination of grass and grain-based feed (not just corn–linseed, hazelnut, whatever is clean and healthful). The finishing process happens in the pastures or in perfectly pleasant barns. No giant feedlots that I've ever seen. The result: a happy cow most of the time, humane treatment, and better taste than 100 percent grass-fed beef. The problem in France (and elsewhere): the hanging or aging process. Dry aging takes time and causes loss due to oxidation and drying (therefore weight loss and revenue loss). Thanks for this very good article.

  76. and thanks to the wonderful Elatia Harris for sharing this on her page… Jonell Galloway will want to know about it and, perhaps, run my story on the Charolais beef of southern Burgundy…

  77. Every time we drive through Burgundy — which is often — I get great gratification from watching the cows in the fields, and they do indeed seem content. The Charolais have a nice "lifestyle".

  78. there are currently no laws about the grassfed industry that prohibit ranchers from FINISHING their cattle in the feedlot right alongside the regular McDonalds cows. So essentially you could be paying big $$$ for grassfed – but if it does not say grass finished – you are eating meat from the feedlot…. I agree with minimizing animal consumption…more emphasis on vegetables and supplementing with B-12’s. too many drugs in the cows in general anyways regardless of grass or corn fed. Seems like we are destined to have a poor food supply……

  79. there are currently no laws about the grassfed industry that prohibit ranchers from FINISHING their cattle in the feedlot right alongside the regular McDonalds cows. So essentially you could be paying big $$$ for grassfed – but if it does not say grass finished – you are eating meat from the feedlot…. I agree with minimizing animal consumption…more emphasis on vegetables and supplementing with B-12’s. too many drugs in the cows in general anyways regardless of grass or corn fed. Seems like we are destined to have a poor food supply……

  80. Irresponsible to circulate an article that recommends eating meat – any meat is high in toxins, the environment is filled with toxins carcinogen and pollutants. There is no such thing as pure organic meat and because animals are high up in the food chain, it means that the toxins are even more concentrated. And environmentally, any grazing of animals, be it organic or grass fed will create emissions that will increase Climate Change. Also, grazing land is wasted land. It is land subject to soil degradation and only feeds a few instead of many. Finally, as far as humanity goes, raising a sentient being to be slaughtered, will never be humane.

  81. All people do best eating a vegan diet. This diet is high in these factors -anti-inflammatory, detoxifiers, nutrients and is good for elimination. It's only those who don't eat the right vegan foods, don't do well. A diet very high in good fats, fresh greens, vegan proteins, vegetables and a small amount of fruit/sugar, will be having the most optimal diet in the world. Check UN research and population studies on a plant-based diet. Plenty of info there.

  82. I "liked" Linden's post, not for what she said but for the fact that just because I choose to not eat meat, I do not preach to others who do eat meat. Everyone makes decisions for their own reasons. Besides, unless a meat lover actually looks for information, they just do not want to hear about it! It helps keep them from feeling guilty. See no evil………hear

  83. there are currently no laws about the grassfed industry that prohibit ranchers from FINISHING their cattle in the feedlot right alongside the regular McDonalds cows. So essentially you could be paying big $$$ for grassfed – but if it does not say grass finished – you are eating meat from the feedlot…. I agree with minimizing animal consumption…more emphasis on vegetables and supplementing with B-12’s. too many drugs in the cows in general anyways regardless of grass or corn fed. Seems like we are destined to have a poor food supply……

  84. Great article! Another reason to eat only pastured beef: I found that lysine deficiency is an underlying condition for nearly every health problem that is linked to a virus-autoimmune diseases, heart disease, Alzheimers, autism, certain cancers. This probably comes from eating beef because the cattle are given cottonseed meal, which binds with lysine.

  85. I have not eaten one bit of meat for over 30 plus years. I am 63 and very healthy. We can ALL thrive on a vegetarian/vegan diet. I can't stand the thought of an animal being cruelly slaughtered so that I could sit down and chew on its carcass for twenty minutes. If anyone thinks that animals are slaughtered humanely, think again. Most often they are not killed before they are being butchered and having their throats slit. There is no blood on my hands and there is no guilt in my conscience. If you had to kill the animal yourself instead of buying it's remains in the grocery store, would you still eat it? Could you look into their eyes and take their life for your own enjoyment? Would you have your pets slaughtered when there is an alternative?

  86. Donna Chadwick-Brown, when that "choice" includes harming other living, thinking, feeling beings, one is no longer making their own choices, but deciding for those other beings as well. Until people stop conveniently deciding to put another living being through hell and then have them slaughtered, I will keep on having a problem with it, and being vocal about the fact that it is unhealthy, morally reprehensible, and ecologically unsustainable.

  87. Here is what a friend said about the article– how would you respond? My biggest complaint is these people are still looking at old grazing management methods and not new ones. Why isn't he helping change a horribly mismanage industry by promoting better methods? He complains about grazing in the Amazon and out west and does not encourage LOCAL production or differentiate between open-range grazing and intensively managed rotational grazing- there is a huge difference! Particularly on how grazing effects the climate. Management intensive grazing sequesters carbon (more than trees!), eats methane, reduces erosion and can encourage species diversification (hundreds of species of grass, herbs, forbes, etc evolved WITH BUFFALO) as anyone who has read Alan Savory, Andrew Voison or Joel Salatin knows. The focus should be on where your beef (or any meat and vegetables!) comes from. The more local the better.

  88. Google the " Bramble, the longest living dog, vegan" He lived 27 years (189 inhuman age), and lived on an exclusively vegetarian diet of rice, lentils and organic vegetables. I also know that the national dog of Korea, Jindo, lives almost entirely off grain and veggie diet. These are the dogs they took to hunt tigers.

  89. It still doesn't give anyone of us the right to kill any animals UNNECESSARILY. 8 million Vegans in USA alone are a proof that eating animals is totally unnecessary. People should just admit that they don't care for the small inconvenience. Deaths of 50 land animals a year, are on your hands.

  90. Lynette, the majority of vegans are not like what you described. But the few bad apples get all the attention, sad. The core of the vegan lifestyle is Love, for all beings, including the non vegans. Don't let the few bad ones discourage you. Tip, join your local vegan meetups or groups, it'll make the transition a lot easier.

  91. If you can't kill a cow, then don't eat it. Or be a hypocrite. Killing an animal is not in our DNA. Just watch a toddler with animals. He/she will NEVER think about killing an animal for food, a true baby carnivore will. Our meat eating is a learned behavior. The meat and dairy industries have brainwashed people into thinking that we need meat. Follow the money trail and see who's lying.

  92. So you think these animals want to exist just so they can have the privilege of getting slaughtered unnecessarily? And you are an intern at the zoo? I feel sorry for the animals.

  93. Bravo, John…I'd just like to add: Taste is a learned response, those of us who have committed to being vegan have just put a bit more effort into our selves! There is far too much evidence of vegan athletes out performing carnivorous competitors to lend any credence to 'my body needs meat'! Hey, Bill Clinton, Mike Tyson, Bill Gates, Einstein just to name a few are SHINING examples…how much more cancer, heart disease do each of the 'taste rules' crowd need to endure–I guess its A CHOICE! (just sad that the poor suffering creatures can't be heard, except when we post like this?!)

  94. there are currently no laws about the grassfed industry that prohibit ranchers from FINISHING their cattle in the feedlot right alongside the regular McDonalds cows. So essentially you could be paying big $$$ for grassfed – but if it does not say grass finished – you are eating meat from the feedlot…. I agree with minimizing animal consumption…more emphasis on vegetables and supplementing with B-12’s. too many drugs in the cows in general anyways regardless of grass or corn fed. Seems like we are destined to have a poor food supply……

  95. I was deeply saddened when visiting the USA (Texas to be exact) to see the thousands of cattle in feedlots, something I had not come across anywhere else. The poor animals, imagine being kept in a prison with thousands of other animals, not able to turn around and gallop they had the sky above them but that was all that was natural in their hellish lives they must feel that they are being tortured by evil demons if they can think like that. Imagine if humans were treated that way by some alien group! Humans truly are vile BUT we're headed towards extinction very soon and in my opinion that is a good thing for the earth. It will take a long time for it to recover from our predations but in the end the world will get back in balance.

  96. The paleo diet is at least well-named. Why not embrace cruelty and ignorance? Why pretend that humans are capable of learning, or that they care about anyone but themselves? Why not kill off the species which managed to survive after the paleos, the first humans to arrive in the Americas, killed off the mammoths, wild horses and other megafauna? From a wildlife standpoint, turning over the last remaining grasslands to beef production is worse than concentrating feedlots in areas already destroyed.

  97. I regret resorting to a terse reply, Matt, but your statement “my diet has far less impact on sentient life than the average vegan/veg diet… mainly because I consume no crops” is factual and ethical nonsense.

  98. come on people. what is WRONG with this whole picture? It's time to evolve and stop looking for excuses to why we can't follow a vegan diet. If you're not healthy on a vegan diet, than you haven't found the right combination of foods yet. There is no such thing as 'my body doesn't do well' on an exclusively plant-based diet. Meat is poison, carcinogenic, it is DEAD!! and we a live beings. How can you thrive on something that is DEAD??? and from an energetic perspective..it is dark. and karmically?? yeah, you're better off eating grassfed on a cozy farm rather than a factory farmed downer cow, but how about NOT EATING THE COW.???
    it's time to evolve.
    end the debate. shut down slaughterhouses. End consumption of animals.
    Animals exist for their own right. they have their own vitality and want to live as much as we do.
    Can you imagine killing your son or neighbour or friend but then saying 'well i gave them a humane death?
    senseless.

  99. .

    ;Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian. vegan diet/"This remark was made by Einstein, who was a lot smarter that those who blather nonense. It will be necessary as the population grows to 9 billion. Do the math, 7 lbs of grain =I lb of meat.

  100. there are currently no laws about the grassfed industry that prohibit ranchers from FINISHING their cattle in the feedlot right alongside the regular McDonalds cows. So essentially you could be paying big $$$ for grassfed – but if it does not say grass finished – you are eating meat from the feedlot…. I agree with minimizing animal consumption…more emphasis on vegetables and supplementing with B-12’s. too many drugs in the cows in general anyways regardless of grass or corn fed. Seems like we are destined to have a poor food supply……

  101. there are currently no laws about the grassfed industry that prohibit ranchers from FINISHING their cattle in the feedlot right alongside the regular McDonalds cows. So essentially you could be paying big $$$ for grassfed – but if it does not say grass finished – you are eating meat from the feedlot…. I agree with minimizing animal consumption…more emphasis on vegetables and supplementing with B-12’s. too many drugs in the cows in general anyways regardless of grass or corn fed. Seems like we are destined to have a poor food supply……

  102. there are currently no laws about the grassfed industry that prohibit ranchers from FINISHING their cattle in the feedlot right alongside the regular McDonalds cows. So essentially you could be paying big $$$ for grassfed – but if it does not say grass finished – you are eating meat from the feedlot…. I agree with minimizing animal consumption…more emphasis on vegetables and supplementing with B-12’s. too many drugs in the cows in general anyways regardless of grass or corn fed. Seems like we are destined to have a poor food supply……

  103. I do not see where wind and solar farms are mutually exclusive of grazing cattle, Buffalo , elephants, and T-Rex perhaps.

  104. Linden Mae Morris , atherosclerosis has more to do with inflammation than Fats, The truth about Cholesterol is an educational book, BTW the founder of the Vegan movement suffered from Acute Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyradiculoneuropathy) and Alzheimer's in his last years.

  105. I would never presume to correct John, and I know that there are just too many inner-connected details on the subject of growing commodity animals to state every one conclusively in an article-length piece._With regards to:_“Natural food stores often sell organic beef and dairy products that are [[hormone- and antibiotic- free]]” _This is not accurate, because all meat and milk contains someone else’ hormones, especially milk, which is literally a hormone serum (saturated of course with about 60 hormones, so far identified, specifically designed by nature to grow a baby bovine into an infant

  106. Thanks for that link Anders, it was a very good lecture by Dr Oppenlander. Being a meateater and an organic vegie gardener at the same time, it has given me a lot to digest, excuse the pun.

  107. I just bought a bumper sticker that reads"there is no such thing as HUMANE MEAT". Regardless of how they are raised animals (sensitive feeling beings like us) are still viewed as mere commodities and possessions and then killed by bleeding to death. Where is the humanity in that? I highly recommend the "world peace diet" by Will Tuttle to get the big picture on animal consumption.
    l

  108. Eating grain-fed beef is extremely health hazardous. I also agree that we do eat way much more meat than we need. However, grass-fed beef is a great nutrient source. From the book, "Stop Worrying About Cholestrol", doctors have found that stop eating animal fats or reduction in animal fats, saturated fats consumption has been one of the true causes of health problems. The other point is I think that grain-fed plays a role in foodborne illnesses as shared here: http://www.waymae.com/Preventing-E-Coli_ep_56.htm….

  109. Regarding vitamin K2, please read Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox. Dr Mercola has an free video interview online (googling vitamin K2 will get you there) with the author. Thank you.

  110. Silly. Just as with other creatures, there would be sanctuaries for animals we no longer breed for food purposes. Additionally, I would rather my species die than be raised for the sole purpose to be raped, have our babies stolen, used for our milk, then slaughtered within five years. Or to be raised solely to be fattened, killed and eaten.

  111. I highly recommend a vegan lifestyle. Drinking milk and eating cheese is horrible for dairy cows, their babies, and for your body. There are plant based milks and cheeses!

  112. Along with amzing sophistication! Simply pleasing! Your posting design will be beautiful and how a person resolved this issue together with grace is actually outstanding.Since i have feel captivated, I take for granted you're an professional about this issue. I'm becoming a member of your own inward bound improvements in the future.

  113. While most seem to be happy about the presentation, I will take a contrarian position. The uncut hair (in this case the beard) and the dastar are Khalsa icons. While on a sociological level, there may be reasons to think 'we made it,' or we are 'stylish,' going back to Reema's point, do we want these gifts of our Dashmesh Pita to be commodified by a consumerist media? Are the 'bug-glasses' and name-branding also ways of 'domesticating' the Khalsa? If today we are 'stylish' and 'in-fashion,' do the gifts of our Guru become 'out-of-fashion' next year at Paris' determination?

  114. […] Grass-Fed cows usually live their entire lives on open grassland allowing them plenty of room to move around on an open stretch of land. In comparison, once grain-fed cows are old enough, they are squeezed into feedlots where the animal’s weight can reach over 1200 pounds. Many of these feedlots are crammed with hundreds of cows and make for bleak living conditions. They are often riddled with sick animals, which is why so many grain-fed cows are injected with antibiotics to reduce disease. It is safe to say that many cows would prefer an open plain to graze on than being stuffed into a feedlot with limited movement. If you care about the welfare of animals, than you should make the switch to grass-fed beef. (Source) […]

  115. Mr. Robbins, perhaps it would be good if you were to look more closely at wind farming because there are a number of reasons why it is NOT a good idea. For starters – The report from Fisher and Fitzsimmons, published by Rightside News, disclosed that mining one ton of rare earth minerals produces about one ton of radioactive waste.
    Last year the United States added 13,131 megawatts of wind-generating capacity, and at least 4.9 million pounds of rare earths were used in the turbines installed in 2012. That means at least 4.9 million pounds of radioactive waste were created to make those turbines.
    China is becoming a disaster by providing our rare earth minerals.
    Unfortunately we humans have a habit of making a mess out of things when we forget one small thing. Moderation in all things. I doubt there is one panacea for anything but I have learned that nature abhors a monoculture. Crop rotation and multiusage would seem to be the way to go. We have a lot to learn but if you put your hand on my steak, I guarantee you'll get forked! Those of you who chose to "thrive" on plants only, go right ahead.
    (It's going to be really bad for Vegans when someone proves plants are sentient.) In the meantime, honor your animals for what they provide you.

  116. As a small farmer who raises grass fed beef I have some sympathy for the article. However it gets pretty simplistic as well. In the cold, humid East we can effectively rotate the animals in ways that build the soil over time. My farm is quite sandy, but under intensive management the sod is improving every year. In the more brittle environment of the arid west it is harder to manage for soil improvement, but it's not impossible; same for the tropics. There is a lot of diversity of farms, some do a heck of a job, some not so much. If it worries you that your food isn't raised to your ethical standards, get out a look at the farm or at least ask some questions. My soils are pretty marginal for crop production, that's that case for a lot of soils around the world; it's well suited to grazing. While I would need employees and a high level of input to raise veggies or small scale grains, my cattle take maybe 100 hours of my attention per year and last year was a big input year at about $1000 worth of seeds and fertilizer. While I'm sure the cattle will have a bad day when they get killed, they lived well while I had them. I sleep just fine, and I eat like a king. My customers are happy with the product, think I'll stick with the program.

  117. For more information, check out the Savory Institute about the ecological benefits of pastured animals, the book The Vegetarian Myth by Lierre Keith about the ecological impact of grain production, Joel Salatin from Polyface Farm about sustainable agriculture, and the work of Denise Minger http://www.rawfoodsos.com where she debunks bad science. Oh, and google 'human evolution and meat consumption.' We evolved bigger brains and became human – from eating meat. There is indeed a food chain in nature, where some animals eat other animals. We're one of those.

  118. I have not eaten one bit of meat for over 30 plus years. I am 63 and very healthy. We can ALL thrive on a vegetarian/vegan diet. I can’t stand the thought of an animal being cruelly slaughtered so that I could sit down and chew on its carcass for twenty minutes. If anyone thinks that animals are slaughtered humanely, think again. Most often they are not killed before they are being butchered and having their throats slit. There is no blood on my hands and there is no guilt in my conscience. If you had to kill the animal yourself instead of buying it’s remains in the grocery store, would you still eat it? Could you look into their eyes and take their life for your own enjoyment? Would you have your pets slaughtered when there is an alternative?

  119. I have not eaten one bit of meat for over 30 plus years. I am 63 and very healthy. We can ALL thrive on a vegetarian/vegan diet. I can’t stand the thought of an animal being cruelly slaughtered so that I could sit down and chew on its carcass for twenty minutes. If anyone thinks that animals are slaughtered humanely, think again. Most often they are not killed before they are being butchered and having their throats slit. There is no blood on my hands and there is no guilt in my conscience. If you had to kill the animal yourself instead of buying it’s remains in the grocery store, would you still eat it? Could you look into their eyes and take their life for your own enjoyment? Would you have your pets slaughtered when there is an alternative?

  120. Very well written. Thank you! I personally have stoped eating beef and consuming dairy, because of the reasons you have expressed so well here. I am glad you have put it all together and will share you work with everyone I can.

  121. The only things I would sugest to consistantly mention, is how in tbe USA the non organic beef cattle are fed GMO Corn & GMO Soy ex. And that Animal Welfare Aproved Labels do mean that the Animals treatment is confirmed to be better than many. It would be best if people stopped eating beef entirely for their own health and that of the planet. But for those whom feel they must small amounts of grass fed organic certified animal welfare aproved is 3 steps in the correct direction.

  122. I want to thank everyone who's been commenting on this post, so much for your input and for your engagement in this important topic. A number of folks have written us about Allan Savory's work and message, and I want to respond.

    Allan Savory's TED talk and other expressions of his ideas have been popular. However there are many in the scientific community that find his ideas problematic or even inaccurate.

    Here is one article which describes some of those concerns: http://www.thewildlifenews.com/2013/03/18/alan-savory-gives-a-popular-and-very-misleading-ted-talk/ . And here is another that is more of a direct rebuttal, from former World Bank lead environmental advisor Robert Goodland. http://planetsave.com/2013/03/26/meat-lies-videotape-a-deeply-flawed-ted-talk/ If you read these pieces,you may see why we have not chosen to promote Allan Savory's work.

    The mass production factory farming system is toxic to people, animals, and our planet. It is refreshing and inspiring to see how many people are exploring and living diverse ways of creating positive change. I just don't, unfortunately, happen to think that Allan Savory's ideas are the beacon of hope that many might like to believe.

  123. Ocean, Where does Allan Savory get his funding? He's responsible for elephant massacres in hopes that less animals = more forese (bad science) and now his 2nd Act = more bad science

  124. Robbins' argument completely ignores the possibility that properly managed livestock grazing reduces greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, putting that carbon into the soil and into plants where it belongs. Without grazing animals, you lose the grass. We need grass to be on the ground and growing. The biggest source of carbon in the air is actually bare ground, the ground that used to be covered in grass when the continent was covered by herds of grazers. Saying that cows make more methane no matter how they are raised is inaccurate. CAFO cows absolutely. But properly managed grazing cows reduce greenhouse gases. See Holistic Management, the work of Allan Savory. Plus, completely eliminating animal products negatively impacts health. Many fat soluble nutrients are available almost exclusively from animals. I'm going to be honest – this may have influenced Mr. Robbins' own family of long term vegans. I used to be vegetarian and now very gratefully consume red meat.

  125. This has become a topic of much interest and discussion in our office. I read and reread the post, and then did some additional research. Thanks so much for the valuable info!

  126. Here is what a friend said about the article– how would you respond? My biggest complaint is these people are still looking at old grazing management methods and not new ones. Why isn’t he helping change a horribly mismanage industry by promoting better methods? He complains about grazing in the Amazon and out west and does not encourage LOCAL production or differentiate between open-range grazing and intensively managed rotational grazing- there is a huge difference! Particularly on how grazing effects the climate. Management intensive grazing sequesters carbon (more than trees!), eats methane, reduces erosion and can encourage species diversification (hundreds of species of grass, herbs, forbes, etc evolved WITH BUFFALO) as anyone who has read Alan Savory, Andrew Voison or Joel Salatin knows. The focus should be on where your beef (or any meat and vegetables!) comes from. The more local the better.

  127. I disagree with the blanket comment that cattle are destructive to the environment. The fact is that humans have conventionally managed livestock in ways that have led to overgrazing of plants and pollution of streams. The other fact is that historically herds of grazing animals in nature caused the grasslands to flourish before we humans messed up the system. Since we no longer have the great wild herds, arid grasslands will actually degrade if the livestock are completely removed and the old grass is not harvested. I have seen all over the world and practiced myself, a holistic approach to grazing that rejuvenates grasslands and improves the health of the environment by mimicking nature. The carbon sequestration from rejuvenated grasslands is far greater than what greenhouse gases livestock produce. See http://www.savoryinstitute.org for more information.

  128. There is nothing we can do to make our population growth sustainable. It doesn't matter if you eat meat or not. And when the fossil fertilizers run out people will starve. It's amazing none of the articles I've read even bother mentioning this.

  129. Here is what a friend said about the article– how would you respond? My biggest complaint is these people are still looking at old grazing management methods and not new ones. Why isn’t he helping change a horribly mismanage industry by promoting better methods? He complains about grazing in the Amazon and out west and does not encourage LOCAL production or differentiate between open-range grazing and intensively managed rotational grazing- there is a huge difference! Particularly on how grazing effects the climate. Management intensive grazing sequesters carbon (more than trees!), eats methane, reduces erosion and can encourage species diversification (hundreds of species of grass, herbs, forbes, etc evolved WITH BUFFALO) as anyone who has read Alan Savory, Andrew Voison or Joel Salatin knows. The focus should be on where your beef (or any meat and vegetables!) comes from. The more local the better.

  130. Here is what a friend said about the article– how would you respond? My biggest complaint is these people are still looking at old grazing management methods and not new ones. Why isn’t he helping change a horribly mismanage industry by promoting better methods? He complains about grazing in the Amazon and out west and does not encourage LOCAL production or differentiate between open-range grazing and intensively managed rotational grazing- there is a huge difference! Particularly on how grazing effects the climate. Management intensive grazing sequesters carbon (more than trees!), eats methane, reduces erosion and can encourage species diversification (hundreds of species of grass, herbs, forbes, etc evolved WITH BUFFALO) as anyone who has read Alan Savory, Andrew Voison or Joel Salatin knows. The focus should be on where your beef (or any meat and vegetables!) comes from. The more local the better.

  131. Matt H Kennedy
    I'm thriving!!! I'm 72 years od and healthier than any animal eater I know. I don't take any medications and have perfect health, ask my vegan doctor. No animal has had to die for me to live for 30 years so far. No animal should have to die or feel fear any more than the human animal should. You may be arrogant enough to think your life is more important than any other animal, but it's clearly not.

  132. Alexandra Santilli …that's wonderful. I'm thriving too! I've been a vegan for almost 10 years…I'm 58 years old and am now running 1/2 marathons, cycling thousands of miles every year, and doing boot camp 5 x a week. I feel great and I am on NO medications, which is rare among my meat-eating friends.

  133. wondering why in the whole list of animals that "wildlife services" kills there was no mention of the wolves- an iconic animal that has been somewhat successfully introduced back to former habitat s and at the same time hated and maligned and treated with such disrespect (killing contests, etc.)

  134. If we want to feed 9 or say 50 billion people we need billions more farmers working smarter and harder on a lot smaller farms, tending multi layered animal and plant ecosystems. That means eating some meat and mostly plants is responsible. The people who say the earth won’t sustain say 10 billion are assuming the current monocrop, chemical fertilizer, GMO air-conditioned, diesel fueled paradigm, which is not sustainable. Also to say that we should eat only plants is naive, as nature always uses animal manure and grazing as part of a healthy ecosystem. Traditional Chinese agriculture produced yields per acre with indefinite sutainability that would feed any forseeable population but the farmers had to work physically hard and do smart things like composting human and other animal waste.

  135. Linden Mae Morris
    There have also been studies done to conclude that vegans live no longer than non-vegans. Have you read Paleo Diet? I have and like many others who have, feel it's a very healthy lifestyle. And shame on you for calling someone immoral because they choose to change their eating lifestyle by not living your morally right vegan lifestyle. I'm cooking grass-fed beef on the grill tonight, and with carcinogenic wood chips!

  136. I just bought a bumper sticker that reads”there is no such thing as HUMANE MEAT”. Regardless of how they are raised animals (sensitive feeling beings like us) are still viewed as mere commodities and possessions and then killed by bleeding to death. Where is the humanity in that? I highly recommend the “world peace diet” by Will Tuttle to get the big picture on animal consumption.
    l

  137. The horrible deaths of animals killed in slaughterhouses is new information for me. If we all knew, why would we want to eat them?

  138. I just bought a bumper sticker that reads”there is no such thing as HUMANE MEAT”. Regardless of how they are raised animals (sensitive feeling beings like us) are still viewed as mere commodities and possessions and then killed by bleeding to death. Where is the humanity in that? I highly recommend the “world peace diet” by Will Tuttle to get the big picture on animal consumption.
    l

  139. I just bought a bumper sticker that reads”there is no such thing as HUMANE MEAT”. Regardless of how they are raised animals (sensitive feeling beings like us) are still viewed as mere commodities and possessions and then killed by bleeding to death. Where is the humanity in that? I highly recommend the “world peace diet” by Will Tuttle to get the big picture on animal consumption.
    l

  140. Matt H Kennedy because our fisheries are doing so much better?

    I agree with your statement, but from a conservation & preservation standpoint, you're doing worse than you think.

    That is still assuming that you buy either wild caught & farmed fish where appropriate.

  141. Amy V Leinen Sanctuaries would only last for the last generations of the species, but I get your point and I agree with you.

  142. So true! They didn't even mention that free range grassfed beef opens up areas for small & large mammals, reptiles, grassland birds. Think increased biodiversity, less erosion & cleaner water run off!!!

  143. This is a wonderful summary of nearly all the key points of meat-eating that matter to me. Thank you. …And, thanks to Food Matters for reposting as well! I will be reblogging this at MinorityOutcry.com. :-) All the best.

  144. eating less meat is certainly an answer. but, eating no meat is an answer for only a tiny percentage of the population, as human beings are naturally omnivorous. to deny this is to deny nature itself. the problem – besides factory farming (of ALL food, not just meat) and over-consumption, is overpopulation. the fact is that the planet cannot sustainably support 7b humans in a healthful manner.

    doug s.

  145. Eating Animals Kills You Too!

    Before animals are killed they are actually aware of what's going to happen to them, they secret adrenaline and other toxic chemicals that you consume when you eat them.

    Eating meat results in early heart disease, stroke, cancer, osteoporosis, kidney disease, diabetes, etc.

    What about killing plants?
    Plants do not secret dangerous chemicals when they die nor do they suffer when they are killed. Their nervous systems are not developed enough.

    Might Does Not Make Right
    Animal exploitation utilizes the sad "might makes right" doctrine that allows one group to dominate another group, oppress and abuse them.

    Animals are subjects of horrible abuse not just for food and clothing, but for entertainment, research and sport as well, none of which is necessary.

    There are other reasons to avoid meat (global warming, water pollution, grain shortages).

    Some call for more humane slaughter of animals, but what can be humane about killing animals against their will? It's no longer the ice age folks! We have a choice, so there is no morally justifiable reason to eat animals.

    Humane Meat? No Such Thing http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/can-animals-sav

  146. I think you should tell your readers where livestock fit into a balanced farming system rather than making blanket statements like “The sobering reality is that cattle grazing in the U.S. is already taking a tremendous toll on the environment.”
    Here in Australia, we graze our livestock (mostly sheep) on legume based pastures which are an integrated part of our total farming system. The pastures run for 3 years in which time the soil is enriched by dung & urine and a buildup of organic carbon and nitrogen from the decaying root materials of the pasture. While all this is happening hard to kill weeds are brought under control. This dramatically reduces our reliance on herbicides and fertilizers. Then at the end of the third year, after we terminate our pastures in the spring by making silage or fallow, we begin a four year grain crop programme, the profitability of which is enhanced by lower inputs and higher yields due to better soil fertility and drainage.
    The only access to grain our sheep have is the stubbles, principally the stuff that is lost at the cutter bar front and the lightweight grain, husks and straw that goes out the back of the harvester. There is also the question of droughted, flooded and frosted crops which are of no use to us weak gutted humans, but sheep & cattle find delicious. In a world where climate is becoming increasingly capricious, that is a pretty important question.
    If we were to run a continuous cropping programme the damage to the environment would be much higher. The risk of herbicide resistance to weeds, lower fertility, poorer soil drainage and hard panning would increase as would our reliance on artificial fertilizers and chemicals.
    For every 1 tonne of meat we produce about 55 tonnes of grain, so I think you are right, people need to get used to more vegetables and less meat, because I’m not about to change my farming system so some fat slob can pig out on meat. But there are a delicious range of casseroles, curries and stews which use a little meat and a lot of vegetables, beans and noodles and people should get used to them. But don’t think for one minute that because you can do without meat, that farmers can do without livestock, because they are the basis of a sustainable production system. Livestock are but one leg of the three legged stool of pasture, stock and grain.
    Take one away and the whole lot will fall over.

  147. Being from the land Bill (in Australia), I empathise with many things you say.
    .
    Change is hard, especially when it means changing one’s way of life, but if you grew crops you could opt out of this unsustainable ( globally, in the long term) system. You believe way less meat in the diet is good. Can you imagine, no meat? It is unimaginably good with a whole chapter of health benefits. And being able to sit down to a meal with the knowledge that you are at last not contributing to the needless suffering and death of animals, is a very nice bonus. A good reference is heartattackproof.com – and this only on the health benefits.

  148. I’m In Ontario Canada, I read a bit about this, but how much or how much is or does pertain to Canada? I know when I go to the states I don’t drink their milk, due to additives of hormones found in it. So saying that perhaps I should be peering closer in my own backyard. As for McDonalds etc., how or what if any are the differences, between Canada and the USA

  149. You didn’t mention the many benefits of Intensive Rotational Grazing. It has economic benefits, increased animal output per acre, increased animal health, soil improvement, lower feed and labor costs. There are initial investment costs and extra work setting it up but it works well over over the long haul. In addition the system of Intensive Rotational Grazing pulls the carbon that creates global warming out of air and sequesters it in the soil where it is needed.

  150. Is John Robbins even a vegan anymore? Why is he promoting meat in any form? Disturbing and disappointing. everybody has a price it seems.

  151. The glaringly obvious answer is to cut out the "middlemen" ie. the animals, completely, and use all that land to grow crops to feed humans directly. Livestock production is the biggest polluter and contributor to global warming on this planet. Save the animals, save the planet. No brainer.

  152. I have been buying and only eating organic and now grass fed beef since 1999. The stuff they sell in supermarkets makes me ill. The beef I have now reminds me of the beef I ate as a child. Now I need to find free range chickens to buy! The family farm is almost as extinct as many animals are and must rise again to raise grass fed/organic beef and chickens. Factory farms are the Monsanto of farming procedures.

  153. Excellent, comprehensive article. I live in a rural area near CAFOs, and it seems it is only a matter of time before local farmers want to go that way –the $ is just too persuasive. So when a non-ranching urbanite like me tries to speak up all of a sudden it becomes The Liberal Elite v American Values. These people do not want cows to suffer, do not want vast lakes of effluent next door to their grandchildren…but the message cannot come from anyone like me. Where do we go from here? Voting w Ou pocketbooks in inadequate (China will provide more than enough market to make up for the greenies who opt for less or no meat here). How can we spread the word BEYOND the choir?
    C harker

  154. Well, now. You put in a good word for wind farms ("wind power facilities", as you call them.) Please educate yourself on this topic. There's plenty of problems with wind farms. And by the way, I am 99% vegetarian and support your pro-animal viewpoint.

  155. If you are experiencing grass fed beef taste as described, "old, sour, livery," etc, you are not getting good well finished grassfed. There is a lot of poor grass fed beef. Too many people do not have the knowledge or resources to do it well. Wrong cattle, wrong finish or maturity, wrong grasses, poor pasture management, post slaughter, all contribute to poor grass fed. If you cannot buy grass fed that is superior to grain fed, do not buy it. This article ignores the value of converting cropland to grass lands which retain moisture, store carbon, and reverse desertification.

  156. I agree with you that we should be eating far less beef, but the climate change and alternative energy propaganda is more then I can stomach.

  157. If you want truly high welfare Grass Fed beef, consider Animal Welfare Approved (www.Animalwelfareapproved.org). We audit the farmer’s slaughter plant to ensure the animals are not "skinned while alive and fully conscious." We also have some fact sheets that will help anyone who wants to dig deeper to truly understand that real pasture production is environmentally positive. http://animalwelfareapproved.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/The-Grassfed-Primer-online.pdf and the truth about GHGs http://animalwelfareapproved.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/A-Breath-of-Fresh-Air-v1.pdf.

  158. Wow, not a beef eater, except on very rare ocassions, but if I was I might seriously consider saying good bye to beef, I learned a lot from this article.

  159. There won't be harmony on earth and indeed in people's life unless and until we start to treat all living things on the planet with compassion, and the non living with respect and consideration as emanations of a single God.

  160. Quite surprising that this point isn't the front and center one. In addition to cutting out the "middlemen," the huge amount of water to grow food for animals, plus the actual amounts of water that livestock need, contributes to water "waste." And then there's the climate change impacts that livestock creates, and pollution (antibiotic resistance, etc). It doesn't matter if it's organic or grassfed: Just stop consuming all animal products for your own health and that of the planet's.

  161. there will be not enough clean water in the world, there will be shortage of it to take care of even human needs, certainly growing grass is a liability in the long run it is a disaster. Growing beef is an ecological quagmire in large and larger scales, so the arguments and details won't reduce the fact that is it unsustainable and only existing for profit and greed, and causing unnatural suffering to both animals and humans alike.

  162. The only way to catch the GAS that cows put off… Would be to put them inside a barn, to be able to catch it..
    These damn Tree Huggers, are Communists… Just ask the founder of Green Peace… Since the Communist took over Green Peace, he QUIT..
    I use to raise pasture beef.. must have been stepping on some toes, of the Democrat/Communists 1%er's.. Because everytime I turned around, my cattle were getting out…

    The Bestest beef you ever tasted…

  163. Grasslands are more healthy for the planet than large tracts of cultivated land. The cows do the work of "harvesting" the grass, so this saves on fossil fuels and the soil is not ripped apart by large machines.

  164. Also, think of animals like goats, which can graze on a wide diversity of natural plants in forested areas. Raising goats is far more environmentally friendly than ripping apart the natural ecosystem to plant vegetables that wouldn't naturally grow there.

  165. Don't worry… Just get in line from Bill Gates Vaccines….! Remember the 1%er's want you to believe in Global Warming… So, you will do as they say…! Remember also, that 72% of the 1%er's are Democrat/Communists..

  166. All the cattle slaughtered around here die instantly by a shot to the head, not from bleeding. I don't know what they do in your area. All lives must come to an end. it seems to me that people like you are not objecting to "death", as that is an inevitable part of life. What you are actually objecting to is allowing these cows to have a life in the first place. If we stop eating them, then they will stop having the privilege of existence. That is an unavoidable fact. So the question is… is their existence worth while? Or should we stop eating them and stop the cycle of existence of domestic livestock? Ultimately, that question is answered by looking at the larger impact this cycle has on the planet and on human civilization. If you can envision a better world without livestock, then all the power to you. There are some who argue that livestock have a place on this planet wherever natural grasslands can support them and that these lands would be much more negatively impacted by trying to cultivate them. If you want to feed the world with exclusively cultivated vegetables, you have to destroy areas that are more well suited for growing grass, and plant vegetables that we can actually digest. Unless you are envisioning a utopia where we are all farmers, then this cultivation involves invasive machinery that rips up the soil and guzzles fossil fuels.

  167. The only thing that my beef get off my farm is a minerial block.. Which they need, to help in digestion.. Healthy Soils = Healthy plants = Healthy food = Healthy peoples…

  168. Although you addressed the difference in eating feedlot versus grassfed/organic beef, you failed to address that regardless which kind of meat you eat, you are seriously compromising your health. Even in tiny portions meat can have serious health effects. When you say to someone who really likes to eat meat that one is better than the other, they will usually run with it and hear how very much more healthy it is, because that is what they want to hear.

  169. Amy V Leinen Human babies don't have it much better. They are raised to be little slave machines used by corporations. Their guts are fed the cheapest mass-produced foods and their minds are fed the cheapest mass-produced entertainment so that the corporations can maximize their profits from their slave workers until their life spirit is sucked out of them.

  170. Good article. Grain fed would also include GMO corn fed or soy or alfalfa I am sure. All ridiculous and all about money money money. Animal welfare needs to be addressed for all food animals. This will come to an abrupt and ugly awakening in the not too distant future. It is not 'all about us'. It is disgusting about the enormity of innocent wildlife being murdered annually as well. Ignorance is bliss I guess but we all need to wake up and take a stand. I would love to see this and articles like this plastered all over meat sections of the supermarkets – people, wake up for ourselves and the animals who are so deplorably treat.

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