Two different images emerge from the above examples.  The animal’s quality and length of life differ greatly, and end result—the beef we eat—varies greatly.  Michael Pollan, in his New York Times article, Power Steer, describes this process from beginning to end in great detail, but says, “We have come to think of “cornfed” as some kind of old-fashioned virtue; we shouldn’t. Granted, a cornfed cow develops well-marbled flesh, giving it a taste and texture American consumers have learned to like. Yet this meat is demonstrably less healthy to eat, since it contains more saturated fat. “

Another advocate for pasture raised beef, Joe Robinson, says this, “… factory farming compromises their (animals) health and well-being.” “…there is a dramatic difference between the two systems of production. Choosing meat, eggs, and dairy products from grass-based farms is a highly effective way to enhance animal welfare.”

She adds, “Ranchers who raise their cattle on grass from birth to market do not send their animals to large slaughter houses…”  And it has been Robinson’s experience that grass-fed ranchers go to great lengths to keep animals calm while transporting to slaughter and make it a practice to use humane slaughtering facilities.  On her website, she offers a list of facts that demonstrate why feedlot diets contribute to animal discomfort and disease.

At Oswald Cattle Company, we believe the care that goes into raising an animal begins at birth and follows through the stages and growth of the animal’s life. The result is not only a healthier life for the animal, but also healthier meat for the consumer.  

Other articles:

Grass-Fed vs. Conventionally Fed Beef J. Severe and D.R. ZoBell

Healthy Animals

Healthier Life, Healthier Meat

Imagine an animal that has been born and raised on green pastures, and after weaning at around 10 months, is allowed to continue growing to maturity for another 18 to 20 months before it is taken to the plant to be processed.  Up until that time, this growing animal has eaten a variety of grasses and legumes and been moved to different pastures frequently without growth hormones to facilitate growth. 

Now contrast that with a typical feed lot beef that is weaned at 8 months, raised on different pastures, then fattened, butchered, and on the grocery shelf in under 18 months.   The final four months of this calf’s life is spent in a feed lot where anti-biotics are administered to prevent health issues, and synthetic growth hormones are implanted.  In addition to this, their diet is largely a corn-based ration so they gain weight rapidly.  

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