Organic Consumers Association

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American Meat: A Look at Sustainable Farming in the US

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's CAFO's vs. Free Range page and our Food Safety Research Center page.

If you put good old-fashioned organically-raised, pasture-fed and finished meat in a nutrition analyzer, you'd find it's one of the most nutritious foods you can eat.

However, many are still in the dark about the vast differences between Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) and organically-raised, grass-fed meats, in terms of nutrient content and contamination with veterinary drugs, antibiotics, genetically modified organisms, and disease-causing pathogens.

Differences in the animals' diets and living conditions create vastly different end products. For example, most CAFO cows are fed grains (oftentimes genetically engineered grains, which make matters even worse), when their natural diet consists of plain grass.

If you're under the age of 40 or so, and have never spent time on a real farm, chances are you have a rather dim concept of just how different today's food production is from traditional, time-tested farming practices.

These differences have monumental ramifications for our environment, for the health and wellbeing of the animals being raised, and for your own health.

There are basically two very different models of food production today. The first, and most prevalent, is the large-scale agricultural model that takes a very mechanistic view toward life, whereas the other - the local, sustainable farm model - has a biological and holistic view.     
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